With nearly a week of lockdown under our belts the novelty is beginning to wear off and people are starting to get bored. More importantly, our pets can’t understand why the family is always at home all of a sudden and why they are only getting one walk a day.
So, to entertain yourselves and provide some canine enrichment, we thought we’d challenge you to do some trick training with your dogs! Over the coming weeks we will explain a number of basic tricks, as well as more advanced options, that you and your furry friends can practice. We hope you have fun bonding with your dog, and see which family member nails the tricks first!
Ask your dog to sit, then hold a favoured treat in a closed hand in front of him. Wait for your dog to try and open your hand with a paw. As soon as your dog raises his leg, say “paw” and give him the treat reward.
If your dog really doesn’t try to get the treat, tap your dog’s paw gently from behind with the other hand. As soon as he lifts his leg, say “paw” and give him the treat.
1.2 Other Paw
Once your dog has mastered the idea of giving paw, make him use his brain to give you the other paw. If he always gives his right paw, hold the treat to his right and make him give paw. Then, without giving him the reward, move the treat over to the left in an exaggerated move. As soon as he lifts his left paw, say “other paw” and give him the treat.
Ask your dog to sit. Hold a smelly treat to her nose and slowly move it in a straight line down to the ground making sure you have her attention. Give her the treat as soon as she starts to follow it, even if she doesn’t get all the way to the ground first time. Repeat the process making her follow the treat until she is lying down before getting the reward. As soon as she is on the ground, say “down” and give her the reward.
Once your dog has mastered down, you can try a rollover on a soft surface. Get your dog into a down position, the place a smelly treat in front of her nose. As soon as she is interested, move the treat slowly back towards her shoulder. Reward with the treat as she twists her head to follow the smell and repeat this part of the trick several times to reinforce the behaviour. When she’s ready, carry the treat beyond her shoulder, over her back – you are aiming for her to follow the smell, lose balance and rollover. At that point, say “rollover” and give her the reward.
Have a treat ready in both hands – one will be for leaving, one will be for rewarding. Hold one treat out in a closed hand and say “leave”. As soon as your dog looks away, give him the treat from the other hand. It is important not to let your dog eat the treat that you are asking him to leave so that you can use the command to leave something unpleasant that gets his attention on a walk.
3.2 Leave on the floor
Once your dog has mastered the “leave” command from a closed hand where he can’t get it, try putting the treat you want him to leave on the floor. At the start you will need to keep your hand near so that you can easily block your dog from getting it. Once again, give him the “leave” command. As soon as your dog looks away from the treat, reward from the other hand.