Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Goal: Get the dog to stand between your legs and remain there. The next step to this is moving forward and backward while the dog maintains position.

Stand with your legs shoulder width apart and with a treat lure your dog's head behind your leg and through. Try using two hands, use one to lure the dog behind you and the other to get him through your legs. When his head is between your legs, hold your hands at your stomach, making sure to reinforce periodically.

To add movement keep your hands at your stomach and take one step forward or backward. Praise and treat the dog for staying between your legs. If he comes out before being released mark with an 'oops!' or 'uh-oh' and lure him back.

You can add changes in position to make if harder still.

Spin and Twirl

Goal: Get your dog to make a full circle to the right and the left

Like many tricks the dog starts in front of you. With a treat lure the dog's head toward his tail. Be ready to break it down if he bails off the lure. Keep luring until the dog makes a complete circle either to the left or the right. Now try it to the other side.

Each dog has a hard side and an easy side. Put a different name to a turn to the left and a turn to the right to be clear to the dog. You can starting putting a name on it when the dog is consistently doing the turns each way.


Goal: Get you do to jump up onto an object and stay until released

This one is easy as long as you start with objects that are big enough for the dog and low enough to easily get on. When you have found an object that meets this criteria encourage your dog to jump up onto it. Reward the dog, step back a step or two, then return and reward. If your dog jumps down with out being released, simply get him back onto it. This is the only correction the dog will receive. When the dog realizes that you will keep putting him back up there and will only be rewarded for staying there, he will try to jump off less and less.

You can slowly increase the height of the object that you ask your dog to jump on and decrease the size of the landing zone. This is a huge trust behavior and requires a lot of confidence in the dog. Get creative with the objects you ask your dog to jump up on! They make great photo opportunities.

Balance the Bone

Goal: To balance a bone at the end of your dog's nose.

You'll need an evenly balanced treat for this trick. Start with your first two fingers under the dog's collar right under his chin, your thumb and last two fingers on either side of his muzzle. Lightly hold his muzzle still. If your dog fights this position, pause here and feed him until he's comfortable with you holding him like this.

Once your dog in comfortable in this position you may begin to place the bone on his nose. Only ask him to hold it for a short time before releasing your grip on his muzzle so he can get the treat. As your dog begins to understand that holding still is what you want you may slowly release your grip on his muzzle and still have him stay with the bone on his snout.

When you tell him to get the bone use his release word or 'get it'. You may tell your dog to 'stay' while holding the bone. Keep building time and if you want to be a super rockstar you can add the number of bones your dog holds on his nose.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bang! and Rollover

Goal: To have your dog drop his side when "shot"

If your dog is sensitive about hard surfaces begin this one on something soft. With the dog in a down, take a treat from the dog's nose and slowly turn hi head back toward his shoulder. Continue to draw this line back toward his shoulder blade. At this point you should see the dog begin to lean back and start to go onto his side. Keep going until his head is on the ground. This is the 'Bang!' position. Continue to feed to maintain the position, then release.

*Note: Most dogs will favor one side over the other. Go with the dog's natural side.

Goal: To have your dog completely roll over and end up back in the position he started

From the 'Bang!' position continue to lure toward the shoulder. The head and body should follow until the dog is on his other side.

If at anytime the dog pops up, simply begin again. Break it down into small steps if need be.

Stick 'em Up

AKA: Sit Pretty, Beg

Goal: Get your dog to sit up on his hind legs

Make sure your dog is on a non-slip surface to start. Cue dog to sit and with a treat lure straight up and slightly back. Mark and reward when the front feet come off the ground. You may help your dog balance by holding onto his collar or having you dog sit with his back against a wall. Slowly build up duration and height that the front feet come up off the floor.

When you can reliably lure the behavior, add the verbal cue to it. Then fade the food lure.

For fun try asking for a wave while your dog is sitting up or pairing this with a Spread 'em!