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Vermont dog, trainer to be featured on national TV show

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 3:27 PM EDT
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PITTSFORD, Vt. (WCAX) - A Vermont pup and his trainer are being featured on a national TV show! The episode is a competition between dogs the producers consider heroes.

Lauren Cabanaw and her 3-year-old Australian Koolie named Riot spent around six months auditioning to be on “America’s Top Dog.”

“He was very compliant, he did great,” Cabanaw said. “It was a lot of fun, it was really intense. Cameramen everywhere. Bright lights everywhere! We filmed in a desert, so there were rabbits and rattlesnakes and tarantulas and deer.”

As a lost dog tracker, Riot is competing on the hero episode.

Cabanaw adopted Riot and began training him for search and rescue before he was 3 months old.

“I realized pretty soon on that there were more missing dogs in the area than missing people,” Cabanaw said.

Riot tracked his first missing dog between 8 and 10 miles when he was only 8 months old, finding her before a big storm hit.

“That was definitely the moment I said, ‘This is what we’re going to do, we’re going to train hard for this,’” Cabanaw said.

Cabanaw and Riot search on a volunteer case by case basis in all terrains.

When Cabanaw was 9 or 10 years old, she began dog walking and caring for neighborhood pups.

“I always worked hard to train my own dogs as a kid and always tried learning the newest techniques and learning behaviors and things like that and it has just evolved over the years,” she said.

Now she’s a co-owner of Maven Dog Training where they have day school as well as private lessons and group lessons coming soon.

In the future, Cabanaw would like to train more client dogs for search and rescue.

“We’re not the best trick trainers. We’re not very good at that. I don’t know why, but we can help with everything else,” Cabanaw said.

Maven Dog Training is hosting a viewing party to watch Cabanaw and Riot Tuesday night.

“I love that Vermont has now had not one, but two trainers compete on ‘America’s Top Dog’ because I know there are a lot of people that want to be on the show. There are hundreds of thousands of applications for each season, so I feel very grateful and very lucky to have been chosen,” Cabanaw said.

If you’d like to watch the pair, the show premieres on A&E at 8 p.m. this Tuesday.

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