Trick training is a fantastic way to interact with your pet. It is stimulating, fun and rewarding for both the animal and you. In this issue we look at popular tricks including ‘shake hands', ‘take a bow’ and ‘roll-over’. Training should fun and enjoyable and keep the sessions short - about 10 minutes each day will suffice.
Like all tricks there are variations on how you teach them. For this session position yourself in front of pooch and start by picking up your dog's paw. Hold and then release. Give the dog a treat. Repeat frequently, and keep it short. After several days the dog or puppy will know that a treat is in store and it may simply offer up its paw without a word association. When the dog raises its paw, say the command ‘shake’ or ‘shake hands’ or choose a word of your own liking. Remember, however, you will have to use that same word each time thereafter!
The next stage is to position yourself in front of the animal and wait for it to lift its paw in order to get the treat. When it does, say the command and then hand over the reward. Repeat frequently.
Lastly, you will begin to state the command first. Only reward the dog after it ‘shakes hands’.
Take a bow
Dogs love to stretch and they often, quite naturally, bow and stretch before their human mate. To turn these actions into a trick simply apply the command word ‘bow’ or ‘take a bow’. Have a food treat on hand and only give the treat while the dog is in the bow position. Eventually you will be able to say ‘take a bow’ and your dog will do the stretch.
If your dog already knows the commands ‘sit', ‘stay', ‘come’ and ‘down’ you can teach the roll-over command. To start, have your dog sit quietly. Once it is doing so give it the ‘down’ command. Once down, encourage your dog, with a food reward, to roll-over. While you are doing this introduce a ‘roll-over’ command.
This trick will take a bit of practice. Try practising for 10 minutes at a time, offering your dog lots of praise when it performs the trick successfully.
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