Making a game of dog training
Teach any dog new tricks!
In just a few minutes a day, your dog can be rolling, bowing, fetching, playing "dead" - just about whatever you can imagine and she is physically capable of doing!
The secret is to "break down" the trick into its tiniest increments and reward for each and every little bit.
And yes, you do have to reward each and every time your dog does something you like! That way, when Fido doesn't get a treat, he'll learn to try something else that gets him "paid!"
Let's face it - even if you have a job you love, in a place you love, working with people you love - you wouldn't do it without the paycheck, would you?
It took only two weeks, just a few minutes every day, to teach Teddy (French Bulldog) this trick.
It's always fun to get fast results, so try to start with something your dog already does - at least a little bit. Teddy, my French Bulldog in the video, loves to roll around on his back in the sun. So I started with that - rewarding him whenever I saw him doing it. He also has a habit of "diving" into the floor on one shoulder when he's frustrated, flirting, or wants attention. I think it's a doggy equivalent of stomping his feet! But I turned it into a positive, again rewarding whenever I saw him do it. I also started using a hand signal (turning my fist over to the side) and a word - "Roll." After just a couple of two-minute sessions, he started offering these behaviors when he saw me reaching for the cookie jar.
It took about a week to put the behaviors together. When he seemed to understand pretty well, we began trying for the other side. He heavily favored going to his left, so I rewarded any motion to his right.
The silliest part is that I still have trouble, sometimes, telling my right from my left. So I've stopped using the words "left" and "right" and just use the hand signals now!
What trick will you start with?
You can teach your dog any of the tried-and-true tricks - or come up with your own! A friend of ours combined "roll over" with "play dead." Her dog's cue to perform the trick was pretending to "Shoot" the dog with a finger. Adorable - and creative!
- Roll over
- Play "dead"
- Gimme Paw
- High Five (or four, for most dogs!)
- "Huh?" (The dog tilts its head to the side.)
Break it down!
Whatever trick you choose, decide what behavior you want before you start.
Break the trick down into its tiniest bits and decide what portion you want to work on before you start a training session.
For example: if you decide to teach "shake hands" picture in your mind what the finished behavior looks like. Where does it start? With movement from a single paw. If you dog favors one paw over the other, work on that side first. Look for the slightest movement of the paw and reward it. After the dog gets a few treats for paw movement, up the ante a bit - the paw has to come off the ground before the reward is given. Be sure not to get stuck at one level for too long. If the dog isn't catching on, put it away and try again later. He may "get it" after having some time to think about it!
And think how you can expand on the tricks you've taught. After your dog is reliably giving both paws, put them together rapidly to simulate "prancing" in place!
Juno "shakes" - Both paws - one at a time!
Get started with Clicker Training
The Clicker Training Kit has everything you need to get off to a fast and fun start with dog training:
Book - Clicker Training for Dogs by Karen Prior
Click-A-Trick Cards with step-by-step instructions
have a training session when you're upset, angry, frustrated, or disgruntled. You'll get nothing accomplished and both you and your dog will be unhappy.
- American Kennel Club
AKC.org offers information on dog breeds, competition events, club search for training and services, dog ownership and registration to help you discover more things to enjoy with your dog.
- Association of Pet Dog Trainers - Dog Training Resources
The Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) - Dog Training Resources is a professional organization of dog trainers who are committed to becoming better trainers through education.
- Say Yes Dog Training
Effective puppy training and dog obedience training should be fun for both the dog and the human! Imagine if you could create the dog of your dreams simply by “playing” with your dog every day!
- Chicago Agility
Chicago Agility Dog Training - Providing Agility, Obedience and Private Dog Training.
- North Shore Dog Training Club
Based in metropolitan Chicago, the NSDTC is the oldest AKC-member Obedience Training club in the United States.
© 2012 Hope