How Two Rescue Dogs Became Australia’s Smartest Dogs

australia's smartest dogs
Dai Aoki with Holly and Ace

You know how smart dogs can be because you’ve no doubt seen demonstrations of their amazing abilities. Dogs have been trained to act on command for a number of things including choosing specific items out of a toy box or even alerting someone before a medical condition gets serious.

But Dai Aoki, proprietor of Positive Dog Care in Waterloo, Australia has gone a paw beyond by teaching his dogs how to do tricks that are normally reserved for places like the gym including hand stands.

Here’s the info on this trio of performers.

Ace Named Australia’s Smartest Dog

Meet Holly and Ace, Aoki’s two border collies. Holly is orange and white and Ace is black and white.  And both of them are stars when it comes to unusual tricks. Aoki adopted Holly first when she was a 9-month-old pup. Although he searched for a good counterpoint to his strong willed girl, Aoki didn’t strike gold until he found Ace, then a 6-month old. Both dogs are rescues. Last year, ‘The Living Room’ Program named Ace as Australia’s Smartest Dog!

Positive Reinforcement

Aoki says that he first taught the dogs basic obedience in addition to how to catch a Frisbee in mid-air. Since then their repertoire of tricks has delighted audiences worldwide when Aoki posts videos of the dogs on YouTube.

When asked about the most difficult trick, Aoki says it was the one where one dog rides atop the other. How did he get it done? Always with positive reinforcement, treats and lots of love with a consistent dash of fun.

Hand Stands

Source: Dog shows off unbelievable handstand walk by Positivedogcare on Rumble

Aoki has taught Ace to do a doggie version of a hand stand – balancing on two front paws, nose to the ground and rear end and back legs in the air — right next to Aoki who is doing the same pose.  Watch Ace in the video below as he does a hand stand and walks around.

Videos like this and other tricks went viral and they became overnight sensations.


Playing Ball

Dogs love to play ball. In fact, some dogs are so rabid for it that owners use a tennis ball thrower so they don’t wear out their arms.

Aoki taught Holly a different kind of ball game. She sits on a crate and, on cue, she comes up on her hind legs with her front paws in the air. Aoki tosses a soft plastic basket which she catches between her front paws and he then tosses balls into the basket which she also catches, of course.

Why He Became A Trainer

Aoki explained in a recent interview that he started training Holly and Ace because he hadn’t learned proper training with the past dogs in his life. This led Aoki to a training course that included techniques he has made his own – always with positive reinforcement.

He admits, however, that because his dogs are so well-trained he has a tendency to push them too fast and must always remind himself of his own training tips.

How To Train Your Dog

Aoki’s four rules to live by when training your dog include …

  • Plenty of rewards of the food and non-food variety to make sure they keep wanting to learn more
  • Don’t try to teach too many components of a trick too quickly
  • Patience is key – your patience, that is
  • Never set the bar too high; let your dog take his time learning new tricks

The best method of training is to always have fun. If the trick or training becomes a chore, abandon it for a time and resort to playing games.

Aoki is currently teaching his dogs how to dance and looks forward to the three of them dancing together on You Tube soon. Check out the videos of them there and have a great time with your dogs.

WagBrag’s co-founder, Russ Boles, has a deep history in animal rescue and welfare. For the past 12 years, Russ has served in various roles with Atlanta-based animal advocacy organizations focused on rescue, training and education. In addition, Russ led a local rescue volunteer team into New Orleans immediately after Hurricane Katrina, assisting in efforts to rescue and care for stranded animals. This experience changed his life, and animal rescue and advocacy will always be a part of everything he does.