8 Amazing (And Totally Useless) Skills People Taught Animals

#4. Teaching a Dog Parkour

Sometimes even the most athletic of humans can feel inadequate when exposed to a more impressive specimen of sheer athleticism. Usually they're being put to shame by a fellow human, but we know of at least one dog who thinks that's more of a general guideline than a rule -- because he's been trained to excel at perhaps the most simultaneously badass and pointless sport one can do without some sort of ball: parkour.

"Checkmate, squirrels."

His name is Tret, and he's a 5-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier from Ukraine, which is where the people too badass for Russia go. Really, the video says it all:

It's like watching a Rocky training montage while tripping balls. Over the course of the video, you see Tret run along walls ...

... spring himself over gates ...

... climb on top of a pole, simply because the pole is there ...

... and fly through the air like a wingless hound of the apocalypse.

What makes this all the more incredible is that there's no one leading Tret during his parkour session. His eyes and smirk tell you that he always tries to find the hardest path from point A to point B, because anything less is for pussies and Chihuahuas.

And if you think Tret's impressive, wait till we jump to the opposite end of the spectrum from athletic to brainy and show you that it's possible to ...

#3. Teaching a Dog Math

Try to think of the best trick you've taught your dog. Maybe it was to play dead, roll over or bark at the mailman to keep that bastard away from your wife. Well, it's a good thing there's no such thing as the No Dog Left Behind Act, because we're about to introduce you to Beau, the black Lab who, while other dogs are busy sniffing asses or humping legs, is busy being a freaking mathematician. Beau can add, subtract, multiply or divide just about any math question you toss his way, answering with the correct number of barks. And he can do it whether the problem is given to him verbally or written on paper, because just in case you weren't impressed enough that he can do math, he can also read.

To be fair, lots of people can do amazing things when there's sausage involved.

Beau once auditioned for David Letterman's "Stupid Pet Tricks" segment but was turned down, presumably because Beau is the polar opposite of stupid. But right about now you're probably thinking, cynical Cracked reader that you are, that the dog's not really doing math -- the owner probably just has him trained to bark on a secret cue. Nope. Even when the owner is nowhere to be seen, Beau is still perfectly capable of doing his math. So long as you're packing treats to reward him for his answers, if you ask him what five plus three is, Beau will bark eight times. Then if you erase half the plus sign to turn it into a minus sign, he'll bark twice.

Beau's only weak point is that his owners never taught him the concept of zero -- ask him a question where the answer is nothing, and he just starts barking uncontrollably, which is Dog for "Fuck you, nobody said this would be on the test!"

"Good job, buddy. Now let's go do my taxes."

#2. Teaching Lizards to Model

As one might reasonably imply from his name, Henry Lizardlover loves him some cats. We're kidding, of course -- what Henry really loves is his pet lizards. He loves them so much, in fact, that not only has he changed his surname in their honor, but he's also dedicated his life to making them do this:

ABC News
"Draw me like one of your French girls."

That's right, he's photographed them doing everything from everyday human-type stuff ...

ABC News

... to straight-up soft-core lizard porn:

ABC News
This, combined with the name change ... we're going to go out on a limb and say that Henry may be completely fucking crazy.

Henry's been raising lizards for over 30 years, and he's had over 60 of the pointy critters throughout his life. And at some point during that time, he figured out that he was some sort of lizard whisperer, able to train them to pose in humanlike positions -- indefinitely. Seriously, you might be thinking that it's nothing more than some quick camera work to capture them before they wander off in search of a cricket or something, but it's not: If you watch this interview with Anderson Cooper, you'll see that the lizards freeze up and allow Henry to pose them like living G.I. Joes (or, sometimes, Barbies), and then stay there until he tells them otherwise.

You just have to wonder what could possibly be going through the little minds of the lizards -- creatures we normally think of as cold and unfeeling -- to make them cooperate with ol' Hank's every anthropomorphic whim.

We're going to go with deathly fear.

#1. Teaching a Monkey to Tend Bar (and Do Karate)

While all the animals we've shown you so far can do undeniably amazing things, they're all pretty much one-trick ponies. And we have to wonder, why is that? When you have such an obviously talented animal, why stop at teaching it just one pointlessly impressive thing? Well, apparently a certain bar owner in Japan felt the same way, because not only has he taught his pet macaque how to act as a waiter, but he's also enrolled him in karate classes.

Tavern owner Kaoru Otsuka realized one day that the eldest of his two pet macaques, Yat-chan, tended to stare at the waiters as they gave drinks out to the customers. Kaoru finally let Yat-chan out one day, and the monkey quickly became the establishment's newest waiter. He knows what drink to give which customer, where to get the drink and how to politely hand it to them. The customers respond by giving him soybeans as tips.

If you prefer feces-free food, do not try to tip your human waiter with soybeans.

The customers love Yat-chan and his younger partner, but they're only allowed to work two hours a day because of animal rights regulations. So what does Yat-chan do in all of his free time? Why, he trains with his sensei, of course.

Splash News via Telegraph
"Here, put on this sparring gear that I borrowed from a 6-month-old child."

OK, that's just ridiculous. That can't be real, right?

Apparently it is (we really want it to be true). Yat-chan will kick through boards ...

Splash News via Telegraph

... do pushups ...

Splash News via Telegraph

... jump over sticks ...

Splash News via Telegraph

... and drink beer.

Splash News via Telegraph
"Look, I taught him to regret all of the bad choices he's made in his life!"

And did we mention that he plays drums and does traditional Japanese dance on the side? Holy shit, we just realized that not only does this monkey have more of a life than your average pet, but he has more of a life than we do. Way to make us end the article on a depressing note, Yat-chan.

When XJ's not busy trying to get his Chihuahua to walk on walls, he talks about writing on his blog. He'll also tattoo your name on his face if you follow him on Twitter, if he's in the mood.

For more things we probably shouldn't do with animals, check out 7 Insane Military Attempts To Weaponize Animals and 7 Ridiculous Cases Where Animals Were Put On Trial.

If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out 5 People Who Will Be Disappointed the World Didn't End Yesterday.

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