Local trickster dog turning heads, winning hearts

By Jason A. Smith
Times Correspondent

April Ogletree of McDonough says her one-year-old Chinese Crested Powderpuff dog, Logan, is one of the smartest pooches she’s ever seen. His skills include everything from obeying basic commands to skateboarding.

Yes, that’s right. Skateboarding.

Skateboarding dog, Logan of McDonough is also a certified therapy dog at a local nursing home. Special photo

“Logan is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime dog,” says Ogletree, 34. “It’s one of those tricks that I’ve seen other dogs do. I wanted a skateboarding dog, and I practiced with him and he did it.”

Ogletree works as an animal trainer for movies and television, and also trains pets in obeying both simple and complex commands. She got Logan when he was about four months old from a breeder who bragged on the dog’s intelligence.

That intelligence, says Ogletree, goes far beyond performing on command. In fact, her first knowledge of the dog’s abilities came when he was a puppy, and stemmed from his reaction to a medical condition from which she suffers.

“He just kind of picked up on the fact that I have arrhythmia,” she says. “He would sense that it was coming, and put his head on my chest to let me know what was going on.”

Ogletree says it didn’t take long for Logan to show he was the trainable type, as he has learned about 30 tricks so far. Those tricks include obeying simple commands like “sit” and “stay,” as well as more challenging tasks like skateboarding, jumping through hoops, dancing and playing “which hand is the treat in.”

“I taught him everything that he knows,” says Ogletree. “He learned most of them in, like, a month. He learned to skateboard probably about six months ago, and it took him about two days to learn how to do it. It was just a process of shaping [his behaviors] so he knew what to do.”

Ogletree does the bulk of Logan’s at her home, but says the pair also practice various tricks at Heritage Park in McDonough and Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta. The purpose in doing so, she explains, is to teach him to perform in front of groups and crowds without being nervous.

She says Logan typically gets quite a response from onlookers, as they marvel at what he can do.

“They love it,” she says. “They start clapping, giving him standing ovations and commenting on how smart he is.”

In addition to being a trickster and a skateboarder, Logan recently became a certified therapy dog. Ogletree says his duties in that capacity include visiting residents at Westbury Health and Rehabilitation Center in McDonough.

Logan is gearing up to do more movie and TV work in the near future. In the meantime, he will be among the featured canines appearing in the Denim Dogs Fashion Blast 2015 in Atlanta on Nov. 7.

Ogletree says she looks forward to seeing how far Logan’s intellect will take him.

“The possibilities are endless for him,” says Ogletree. “It just makes me want to teach him and do more therapy work and community events with him.”