Lance the Cosplaying Service Dog
Written by Axel Fenrir Taura
Old Ridge’s Defender of the Universe CGC DN TKP “Lance” is a 2 and a half year old purebred chocolate Labrador Retriever who has been wearing costumes since being brought home. His owner, Axel, has been in the cosplay scene since 2011 and makes all of his cosplays from scratch, so dragging his or his friend’s animals into the world of cosplay was a no brainer! Lance is Axel’s first puppy since moving out on his own and he’s been working hard on setting both himself and Lance up to be as successful as possible in all aspects.
Lance is in training for multiple dog sports as well as at the start of his training for service work. Over the course of his training and life, Lance will learn multiple tasks that will help Axel throughout the day and will be able to alert Axel to any incoming potential issues. He has already attended multiple anime and comic conventions with great success and has more than proven himself as a wonderful service and working dog prospect!
Lance truly loves working, but he also enjoys his down time. To get him comfortable with wearing cosplay, Axel almost immediately began putting him in harnesses and sweaters and rewarding him for doing anything in them. It’s amazing what a piece of cheese will motivate an animal to do and put up with! Lance will now actively offer to help put on collars, harnesses, and clothes as soon as the accessory is picked up off the shelf and is always very ready to leave the house!
Outside of his cosplay life, Lance is actively competing in Dock Diving and FastCAT [all-breed coursing ability tests], and will soon be competing in Barn Hunt, Conformation, Rally-O, scent trials, and surely many other sports! Axel’s overall training goal for himself and Lance as a team is to be comfortable enough to enter Musical Canine Freestyle competitions! Trick training, to Axel, is one of the most rewarding aspects of dog training and Lance has proved himself to be an amazing and intelligent dog! He is currently titled as a Canine Good Citizen, Dock Novice, and Trick Dog Performer, which is actually the 4th in the set of 5 possible trick dog titles under the AKC.
All of these tricks and opportunities make their time spent at conventions much more entertaining than just walking around and viewing vendors. Axel usually tries to spend any time that he isn’t taking photos at cons to play with and train Lance in the different environments each con grants access to. Most of the time, successfully asking for behaviors and tricks in a public setting will draw a crowd, and while that’s very exciting to Lance, it can be a bit nerve-wracking for his handler. Luckily, Lance can usually pick up on the change in body language and force Axel’s attention to remain on him, and they can continue working through what can be a very hard moment to deal with.
Picking up on different cues and body language so quickly into his training has helped his handler gain confidence in his own abilities and himself, as well continue to push them both to be the best possible team they can be together. And being able to share the hobby of cosplay is just one of the many perks of such a wonderful companion!