Trick of the Month: Roll Out the Carpet

It’s time for the Trick of the Month from Robin at Fortunate Fido!

This is a trick that both dogs and people think is super-fun.

Roll out the Carpet!

Place a line of treats down the center of a yoga mat or throw rug or thick towel.  Roll it up and ask your dog to “roll it.”  Be sure there are enough treats at first that he sees them right away.  That way, he is pushing the rug with his nose.  When he has unrolled the whole thing and eaten all the treats, tell him “good boy” and give him another treat.  Repeat this procedure, gradually putting the treats further apart until there is just one treat at the end.  Be sure to continue to praise and treat at the end from your hand as well.

If he starts pawing instead of pushing with his nose, just prevent the mat from unrolling, and only let him be successful if he pushes with his nose.  Put the treats closer together on the next attempt.

When this trick is perfected, you can ask for a sit or a down on the unrolled mat to create a chained behavior.

Have fun with this one.  My dogs LOVE doing this trick.  I hope yours do, too.

Robin Murray is a Certified Trick Dog Instructor. She enjoys teaching tricks classes and competing with her three dogs in agility, rally, obedience and nosework. Check out Fortunate Fido at www.fortunatefido.com

Trick of the Month: Teach Your Dog Names

This month’s Trick of the Month from Robin at Fortunate Fido is a great winter activity to do with the whole family when you are stuck indoors.

Read on to teach your dog a new trick!

Here is a super fun trick to help you beat the winter blahs.  Teach your dog his family members’ names!

This is a fun activity that you can do on family game, TV, or movie night.

Position family members apart from each other, each with a pocket full of yummy treats.  A circle would be great if you have the space.  One person has the dog with them to start, and then says “go see Bobby!”  Bobby then (AFTER the original cue is given—this part is important), calls the dog to him and gives him a yummy treat.

What's your name again?
What’s your name again?

Then Bobby says “Go see Suzie!”  Suzy then calls the dog to her and gives him a yummy treat.  Repeat with each family member multiple times.  This will take a while to click, but dogs are good at anticipating what will come next, so after a while, he will connect that “Go see Bobby” means that Bobby has a treat for him.  If he goes to the wrong person, that person will simply ignore him and not dispense a treat.

This game takes time, but it is loads of fun after the dog catches on.  When he is really good at it, you can have family members farther away or in other rooms.

Have fun beating cabin fever and spending time with your dog!

Robin Murray is a Certified Trick Dog Instructor. She enjoys teaching tricks classes and competing with her three dogs in agility, rally, obedience and nosework. Check out Fortunate Fido at http://www.fortunatefido.com

Trick of the Month: Roll Over

 

It’s time for this month’s new trick! This month we learn from Robin how to teach your dog to roll over.

It’s trick time!

This month, we’re going to try an old stand-by:  Roll over

**If your dog has any mobility issues, or is elderly, be careful with this trick.  It might not be a comfortable motion for him.  If your dog refuses to roll, it may be because it hurts.  If this is the case, abandon this training and pick a different trick.  It’s not worth risking injury or causing discomfort.

Keep in mind the general guidelines for training any trick:

  1. It’s a trick—it needs to be fun.  Keep it that way. Use positive training techniques only.
  2.  Choose a sound to mark the correct behavior.  This can be a clicker, or a specific word, like “yes.”  This is how you communicate to your dog that he has done something correctly.
  3. Be patient.  Some dogs are great at one trick and have a tough time with another.  Eventually, you’ll figure it out—or pick a different trick.  Not everyone can be an expert at everything.

Now for the Trick-of-the-Month!

Start with your dog in a down.  If your dog doesn’t down on cue, you can either wait until he is lying down to start training the trick, or teach the down (separate instructions follow).

Hold a treat in front of his nose, and move it slightly to one side.  If he turns his head to follow the food, click and treat.DSCN0036

When he gets good at following the treat and turning his head, move your hand further towards his side before clicking.  Ideally, he will lean over to get to the food.  Click and treat.

DSCN0034

Repeat until he is flopping over on his side when you move your hand.  You can stop here, and make it a “play dead” trick if you want to.

DSCN0032

To get the roll over, just move your hand a bit further until he flips.  Click, treat and have a party!!  Once he is rolling over willingly, add the cue “roll over” before you lure.  Soon he will be rolling when you give the verbal cue.  What a clever pup!!DSCN0029

Training the down:

While your dog is standing, lure with a treat by moving it towards his chest and down (much like last month’s bow, but we will wait to click/treat until the whole body is down).  Be sure to give this a distinct, consistent verbal cue.

Here are some upcoming beginner classes at Fortunate Fido to help start your year out right!

Puppy classes start January 10 at 6pm and February 5 at 3:30 pm
Beginner classes February 23 at 6:30 pm

Robin Murray is a Certified Trick Dog Instructor. She enjoys teaching tricks classes and competing with her three dogs in agility, rally, obedience and nosework. Check out Fortunate Fido at http://www.fortunatefido.com

Trick of the Month: Take a Bow

Now that it’s getting colder and it’s dark at 5:30, it’s time to start thinking of some indoor activities you can do with your dog. One great activity to do with your dog while stuck indoors is working on training and learning tricks. Last month I introduced the new “Trick of the Month” series with an easy one, “Shake Paw.” Since now you have a lot more time to focus on training due to the cold weather, this month we’re taking it up a notch with a slightly harder trick – “Take a Bow.” Hunter and I have been working on it and we’re getting close. I’m trying a combination of “capturing” since he does this move on his own often and short training sessions daily.

Read on for step by step instructions from Robin at Fortunate Fido for teaching your dog to “Take a Bow.”

It’s trick time!

Let’s step it up this month with a really neat, but not-too-difficult trick—take a bow!

Keep in mind the basics for teaching tricks from last month

1) It’s a trick—it needs to be fun. Keep it that way. Use positive training techniques only.

2) Choose a sound to mark the correct behavior. This can be a clicker, or a specific word, like “yes.” This is how you communicate to your dog that he has done something correctly.

3) Be patient. Some dogs are great at one trick and have a tough time with another. Eventually, you’ll figure it out—or pick a different trick. Not everyone can be an expert at everything.

Now for the Trick-of-the-Month!

Take a bow is a great trick because after it is mastered, you can keep working on it by increasing the distance between you and your dog to make it even more impressive. It is also a pose that lots of dogs use on their own as a nice stretch after a nap. Because of this, you might be able to use the technique of capturing (marking when the dog naturally does the behavior).

To capture this behavior, have your clicker ready and SECRET treats in your pocket when you let your dog out of his crate or when you know he will be likely to offer that nice rear-up stretch. If he does it, click and treat (a surprise treat is very powerful). Try to be at the ready during these times, and after a few successful clicks/treats, add the cue “Take a bow.” This sounds easy and fun, but in reality, it is not all that easy to capture behaviors. If you are successful, pat yourself on the back. You’ve done well!

If this doesn’t work out for you, don’t fret. I have only successfully captured one trick behavior so far, which I will reveal when it is the Trick-of-the-Month. To actively teach this trick, we will use luring and shaping.

1) Start with your dog standing either beside you or in front of you.

2) Place a treat in front of his nose (the lure) and move your hand towards his chest and slightly down.

image

3) Click and treat as soon as you see his weight shift toward the back and his elbows bend AT ALL. This is the shaping part. We will reward tiny steps toward the final product rather than trying to get the final product right away. This reinforces the idea that the rear should stay up. If you keep moving your hand without these intermediate reward steps, your dog will likely fold into a down (which is nice, but not what we are after here).

4) Gradually ask for more elbow bend before the reward, ignoring any tries where the rear folds down, until you get something that looks like a bow.

image

5) Add a cue “Take a bow!” and then lure the full behavior. Over time, the dog will begin to respond to the verbal cue and you can fade out the lure. Don’t fade out rewards, though! Your dog just did a cool trick for you, it’s ok to give him a treat!

image

Robin Murray is a Certified Trick Dog Instructor. She enjoys teaching tricks classes and competing with her three dogs in agility, rally, obedience and nosework. Check out Fortunate Fido at http://www.fortunatefido.com

Trick of the Month: Shake Paw

Time for our new blog series – Trick of the Month! This month’s trick is courtesy of Robin Murray, a trainer at Fortunate Fido.

It’s trick time!

Every dog should know a few tricks. Sure, it’s fun to impress people at your dinner parties, but teaching new behaviors helps build your relationship and keep your dog’s mind sharp. You’ll probably be surprised at how smart he is, too!

A few ground rules for teaching tricks.

1) It is a trick—it needs to be fun. Keep it that way. Use positive training techniques only.

2) Choose a sound to mark the correct behavior. This can be a clicker, or a specific word, like “yes.” This is how you communicate to your dog that he has done something correctly.

3) Be patient. Some dogs are great at one trick and have a tough time with another. Eventually, you’ll figure it out—or pick a different trick. Not everyone can be an expert at everything.

Now for the Trick-of-the-Month!

We’re going to start out with a very basic trick. Every dog should know how to “shake paw.” Though this trick can be accomplished using lots of methods, here’s one that worked for me.

shake paw
Hunter shaking paws

1) Have your dog sit facing you. Hold a treat in front of him, down low in your closed hand.

2) Mark with your word or clicker and reward with the treat as soon as he lifts his paw off the ground to paw the treat. If he is not using his paw, try moving your hand off to one side and reward for him even shifting his weight to start.

3) Repeat until he is putting his paw on your hand at least 75% of the time.

**Caution: don’t grab and hold his paw. Some dogs don’t like that and it might discourage him from repeating the behavior. Just let it rest on your hand at first.

4) Put the treat in your other hand behind you. Add a cue, like the word “shake”, or “paw,” and substitute an empty hand in front of him. Mark and reward right away with the treat you had behind your back.

5) Repeat until your dog is responding right away to the verbal cue. Ta Da!!

Robin is a Certified Trick Dog Instructor.  She enjoys teaching tricks classes and  competing with her three dogs in agility, rally, obedience and nosework. Check out Fortunate Fido at http://www.fortunatefido.com

Have a training question you’d like answered? Robin will be answering questions next month, so send me yours at dogsinthecle@gmail.com.