Insta-famous canine Blodgett the Great swaps tricks for likes

Elena Waldman

Blodgett, an Instagram famous dog with just over 4,100 followers, poses for the camera on Feb. 18. Blodgett, accompanied by his owner/trainer/motivator Ian Krammer, was at Colorado State University to practice some tricks and train for the upcoming mountain climbs they’re about to do in the summer. (Gregory James | The Collegian)

There’s a new dog in town– no, not the hoop-shooting Air Bud you might remember from childhood, but this one comes with a whole new set of tricks. His trade is “barkour,” or parkour for dogs as his owner originally coined, and he goes by the name Blodgett the Great. 

Blodgett, a Blue Heeler well known in the Fort Collins and Denver areas as a “barkour” dog, has racked up over 4,000 Instagram followers in the last year, performing impressive stunts in any terrain he can get his paws on, from the Rocky Mountains to the pillars outside the Morgan Library. 

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On Tuesday, Blodgett, accompanied by his owner and operator of Instagram account @blodgettthegreat Ian Krammer, came to Colorado State University to take over the CSU Instagram account for the day. 

While Instagram fame is a relatively new feat for Blodgett, the two have been training together for nearly eight years, partnering for intense mountain climbs and finding new ways to navigate obstacles. Since Krammer adopted Blodgett in eastern Colorado after hitchhiking around all 50 states in the U.S., the two have been inseparable. 

“I named him Blodgett because he’s named after the highest peak above the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs,” Krammer said. “The day I went to go pick him up was the day that the Waldo Canyon fire had burned down all of mount Blodgett, … so it was all very appropriate and really intense. And we’ve just been hanging out ever since.” 

These animals are bred to be our best friends, so communicate with them.” – Ian Krammer, owner of Blodgett

For Krammer, a Blue Heeler was the appropriate choice for a dog with enough stamina to endure long, strenuous hikes through difficult terrain. When he coincidentally discovered Blodgett’s knack for picking up tricks, he ran with it. 

“He was naturally interested in jumping over things, so we started going to parks, and he’d run the different routes,” Krammer said. “He was always jumping up on stuff, so I started encouraging it until those things got bigger and bigger and the gaps got wider and wider and the things we were running into ended up being larger and larger obstacles to the point where now he’s just full parkour.” 

Quite impressively, the two are perfectly in sync with one another — a simple snap or subtle signal from Krammer will have Blodgett’s ears perked and eyes lit up as he is eager to leap over obstacles or give a paw-shake. Using lots of positive reinforcement and spending as much time and energy as he possibly could to train Blodgett as a puppy, Krammer built a symbiotic relationship with Blodgett that allows the two to communicate and understand one another.

“We spent so much time when he was a puppy just working on different tricks, but the goal was that when he got older, I could just snap my fingers and he would know what I was talking about,” Krammer said. 

Blodgett’s feats through great obstacles gave him a cult following within the last year, with people all over CSU recognizing him as a local barkour icon. After Blodgett’s CSU Instagram takeover, many students flocked to his account to join his dedicated fan base. 

“I wanted to follow him because I really like dogs and thought his account was fun with him running and jump(ing) on all that stuff,” said Lance Candelaria, a freshman zoology major. “My dog has walked on the wall and jumped fences, but I’m sure my parents wish she was as well trained as him.” 

Krammer never expected to gain such a large fan base, but he said he enjoys the friendly, passionate dog community that emerged from Blodgett’s outreach. 

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“I had enough friends that were pushing me (to make an account),” Krammer said. “It’s been really fun just because there’s been a ton of people that have shown up, and there’s this really sweet community that’s been born specifically out of the dogstagram, so we interact with so many people from around the world. … It’s also been a really interesting way to interact with old communities. I used to go to CSU, so now to come back and have my dog recognized is kind of amazing.” 

Blodgett, an Instagram famous dog with just over 4,100 followers, bounds over the row of bike racks in front of the engineering building on Feb. 18. Blodgett, accompanied by his owner/trainer/motivator Ian Krammer, was at Colorado State University to practice some tricks in a workout they call “bark-our” (Gregory James | The Collegian)

Aside from the support from the online dog-loving community, Krammer’s friends have similarly enjoyed watching Blodgett grow up and gain well-earned recognition for his exceptional abilities. 

“Ian (Krammer), Blodgett and I were roommates for two years, and I think it’s great that he’s getting internet fame for his unique talents,” said Dan Hartman, close friend of Krammer and self-proclaimed adoptive uncle of Blodgett. “He has no idea either, which is great. He’s just having fun.” 

Even with the popular Instagram tricks featuring Blodgett weaving and leaping through Denver and Fort Collins landscapes, Krammer said Blodgett’s most impressive feats are the many mountains he’s climbed. The two have hiked 50 14ers in the state and are now preparing to complete all the 13ers next. 

“I think the coolest thing is his endurance,” Krammer said. “I love all the show tricks, but honestly we can still tag these 20 mile days and multiple summits. The biggest day he did was eight 13ers over the course of a 17-mile day. And he just crushed it; he had no problem with it at all. He came down, and he was still ready to rage, and that was just last summer.” 

When it comes to his dog, Krammer operates on the principle that owners get out what they put in. Because of this, the two know each other like the back of their hand — or rather, paw. 

“For them, it’s a lifelong study of you,” Krammer said. “They know you before you even know what’s going on. He knows I’m sad before I know I’m sad. He knows I’m stoked before I necessarily realize. He knows I’m mad about something before I know I’m mad.” 

Krammer, having spent the last eight years cultivating a relationship with his canine best friend, emphasizes the importance of dog owners listening to their pets and giving them the tools to thrive. 

”These animals are bred to be our best friends, so communicate with them,” Krammer said. 

Elena Waldman can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @WaldmanElena.