How To Teach And Improve Your Dogs Beg

Some people see beg as a very basic trick, but more often than not, they forget how difficult it is for a dog to perform! Now before I go into anything with this trick I want to make you aware that some breeds will struggle more than others with this trick due to their build. It does not necessarily mean that they cannot do it, but it does mean you need to take things much slower. If a dog is not engaging their core correctly while begging then they are putting extra strain through their spine and back muscles, so we must be very careful. I have found the smaller dogs, such as our little Chihuahua, Tiff, find begging much easier than our friends lovely German Shepherd cross Border Collie Eva. Now begging takes a lot of balance and body awareness from your dog, this is another reason why you need to take it slow. A very short period of begging in the correct position is much more beneficial than a longer period in an awkward position. You want their position to be correct before you can move onto the next trick I’d like to show you all. All this body work is especially good for working and performance dogs, as building up the core muscles helps to protect the spine and can help to prevent injury. But muscle-building isn’t just for working dogs! It’s great for helping to keep your companions healthy too and can help prevent injuries from happening in their walks and day-to-day life!

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Luna: “Excuse the muddy nose, there was a ball that needed saving from under Aurora’s Paw.”

How To Teach Your Dog To Beg

You Will Need:

  • A solid “sit” command in place
  • Clicker/Marker word (if using a marker word, throughout the method, where it states to click, say your marker word instead)
  • Lure/Reward – For my girls I have found treats to be the easiest but you can use a toy if need be!

Method:

Step 1: Stand or kneel in front of your dog with the clicker in one hand and your lure in the other. If you’re aiming to use a separate item to lure and a separate to reward, make sure the reward is at the ready and easy to access!

Step 2: Ask your dog to sit in front of you but do not reward at this stage – if you’re still teaching sit, wait until you have completed this training.

Step 3: With the hand holding the lure, lure your dog up and back ever so slightly. Do not more it back too far as they will obviously fall backwards! But if you’re holding the lure too far forwards they will likely just break their sit and stand or jump to get the lure. Keep the motion as slow and controlled as possible.

Step 4: As soon as both of your pups paws leave the ground, click and reward.

Step 5: Start to ask for slightly more height before click and rewarding, and gradually increase the height until your dogs back is completely straight. Please note that it may take you several days of short training sessions to get to this point, as your dog will gradually be building the muscles and balance required to perform this trick.

Step 6: Add in the command. Say the command once (I have used beg or sit pretty for various dogs), then lure your dog into position, click and reward.

Step 7: Once your dog is responding to the verbal command, gradually begin to turn your lure into a visual command. Say your verbal command and try to more your lure hand slowly away from your dog, only for a brief moment, then click and reward. Keep gradually moving your lure away, and the end result should be a small lift of the hand as a visual cue at the same time and saying your command for them to then perform a beg/sit pretty, whatever you want to call it.

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Luna: “Wave them paws in the air like you jus– Stomach… Weak”

Now at this stage a lot of dogs are still very wobbly. I would still expect a dog to be wobbly after 2 weeks of training when trying to extend the length of time in a beg. As for improving your dogs beg, this comes with their position. Now for the perfect beg and to give your dog the best chance to balance they need to be performing a “square sit”. A square sit means a straight sit, so no legs out to the side or leaning to one side, they need to be central with the back paws and hocks on the ground and knees flexed (bent) to find their centre of balance. I will write a short tutorial on square sits and insert the link when I have done so. Any dogs that aren’t sitting square will struggle with begging so they will likely build up an understanding themselves as you go through the basic method. But you don’t want to worry TOO much about their sits remaining square if you’re just training for a bit of fun. However if you want a sturdy beg that you can progress and add in to other tricks you need to worry about their position a lot. Here are the key points for improving a beg:

  • Go back to training your sits and make sure they are square every time. From now on, only reward for square sits.
  • Only ask for a beg when a square sit is performed. If they are “wonky”, lure them to stand and ask them to sit again until you get a square sit.
  • Once your dog is responding well to the beg command you now need to reduce the length of time you ask them to beg and now only reward for a more controlled movement. As always don’t as for too much, too soon, for example:
    • If you have a pup who “flails” their paws up into the air when they beg that’s normally because their core hasn’t developed correctly to control coming up slowly. Luna is a prime example of this, but because of her hip dysplasia she finds square sits to become uncomfortable after a few minutes of performing them so we have to build up extremely slowly. As with everything the more often we do it, the stronger her muscles will become and this in turn will support the joints. This means we have to ask for tiny improvements at a time, so going from flailing, even if she doesn’t flail as much I would consider that an improvement so I would reward for it. Then as soon as she starts to flail (anyone else think flail has lost its meaning yet? Flail, flail… Flail…) more I would stop training beg and move on as this would indicate her muscles are becoming tired.
  • If you can see their begs are starting to lose some of the control that they have gained within a session, you need to stop. Continuing to ask them to beg at this point will cause them to compensate, meaning they won’t be using the muscles you want them to, causing the resulting trick to be off centre. A straight beg is the most impressive kind of beg after all, and a straight beg allows for more advanced tricks in the future.
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Luna: “Walk like an Egyptian?”

I hope these points help you in training your pup to beg, and that I have explained it in a way that you might understand – I doubt it, this is Hannah logic we’re talking about here, sorry, I’m awful at explaining!

All this beg training will come in super handy for the next trick we want to show you guys, which is the “cuddle”. A cuddle to my girls is where they beg, then wrap their paws around something and hold onto it!

I hope you enjoyed today’s trick tutorials, let me know if I’ve waffled too much and I’ll try to keep it to a minimum for the next tutorial – HA! Me, not waffle? Who am I kidding?

As always, if you get stuck with anything pop me a message, always happy to help if I can! You can contact me by leaving a comment here or messaging me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. I’ve managed to help a few lovely owners and cute pups with their trick training now for positive results which is super awesome! Don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss our future trick tutorials!

Hannah, Luna and Aurora x

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From beg I have taught Luna to pounce. This is Luna pouncing forward, she seems to love this trick. She always gets super excited when it comes into a training session! Let me know if you want to learn pounce.

 

How To Teach Your Dog To Hold

I’ve had a few requests of how to teach your dog to hold something in their mouth. Many of these people are trying to start out too complicated too soon, for example a friend was trying to teach their dog to bring them the remote but didn’t even have a hold it command for something the dog deemed comfortable. And Can you imagine holding cold hard plastic between your teeth? Not the most comfortable, and even worse if you’re already unsure! The same follows for training dummy’s, they aren’t the most comfortable so not all dogs will want to hold them from the off, opt for a softer object. So let’s go over the hold it command.

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Luna: “Soft and Squishy is great for me, I like to give it a real good squeeze!”

You Will Need:

  • Clicker or Marker Word
  • Reward – Treats/toy plus praise – if opting for a toy, keep the reward toy separate from what you want them to hold.
  • A toy your dog plays with on a regular basis and you have seen him holding in his mouth by choice. Nothing too over-stimulating though as this will cause too much distraction!

Method:

Step 1: Kneel/Stand in front of your dog with your clicker and what you want them to hold.

Step 2: Hold the object in front of your dog, close to, but not touching their muzzle. Click and reward when they touch the object with their nose or mouth. If it’s only a nose at firs still reward that, don’t ask for too much too soon, however bonus(!) if they’re already offering to put their mouth around it.

Step 3: When your dog is touching the object every time you want to move onto opening their mouth on the object. Some will do this naturally, so when they do, click and reward, but others need more encouragement – Aurora definitely did! How I encouraged her to touch the object with her teeth was by using a treat and holding it on the object with one thumb, whenever her teeth so much as brushed the object when getting the treat I would click and reward. It took some time but eventually she began to understand.

Step 4: Now when you present the object you want to wait until they grasp it before you click and reward. Even if they only grasp it for a millisecond you will want to reward. Make sure you are still supporting the object at this point, do not expect them to take the weight.

Step 5: Put in your command, repeat step 4 but start adding in the command as you present the object to your dog. Remember to only say the command once, try not to repeat the command! I use “hold it” for both Luna and Aurora.

Step 6: Begin to increase the time before you reward, very gradually increase the time of them holding the object in their mouth with you still supporting it before clicking and rewarding. Keep it at a few repetitions each time you increase the time, move up to half a second, repeat 3+ times , then a second, repeat 3+ times, then 2 seconds, repeat 3+ times, then 3, repeat 3+ times, so on and so forth. If at any point they start dropping sooner, move back to a duration they were comfortable, and repeat for longer in that duration before trying to move up again.

Step 7: Once they are comfortably holding the object with your support for at least 5 seconds you can now ask them to start to take some of the weight of the object. Ask them to “hold it” and begin to slowly take your hands away from the object slightly, dropping the duration back to half a second. Click and reward as usual, if after a few tries they keep dropping go back to the previous step and stay there for longer before trying to move on again.

Step 8: Completely remove your support from the object, click and reward after one second and repeat several times.

Step 9: Begin to increase duration. As always be sure to increase the duration very gradually, Even more so if they have been unsure of any of the recent steps!

 

If you want to move onto harder objects to hold, move back as many steps as necessary with the new object. Some dogs will apply it to other items with ease, while others will find it harder, so just break it down again for them, potentially going right back to step 1!

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Luna: “This is self-control kids, it’s taking every ounce of my being to not gobble this up! But don’t get cross, that’s what food is for right?” | Trip Bone: Guru Pet Food

So that’s how I taught Aurora to hold it. I was extremely lucky with Luna because she just held items naturally, I had to use some of these steps to ask her to hold things that she found less comfortable though, and food took a seriously long time to teach! But with patience you will get there! As always this is just the method I’ve used for my dogs, there are so many different ways that people teach tricks. No one knows your dog better than you, it’s just a case of seeing the end result and working out what steps it needs to be broken down into for it to work for them.

We’ve had some great feedback from our other trick tutorials, if your dog knows the tricks we are sharing or you’re using our methods to learn to teach them please share with us! Use the Hashtag #CCTrickTutorials on Instagram, and we might just feature you in our story. Also if you get stuck with any tricks drop me a message on InstagramFacebook or Twitter, I’d be happy to try to help. We are most active on Instagram though!

What trick would you like to see our method for next? Leave us a comment and don’t forget to subscribe for more trick tutorials!

Disc Dog Day and Interview with The Wonder Collie’s

Evening my lovelies! Now today I want to talk about something very exciting with you… Disc Dog! It’s something I’ve had my sights set on for a little while but honestly, I’ve had no clue how to go about it. Luna has always liked frisbee’s, so I thought she’d love it from the off. Aurora however, whenever I had thrown a frisbee in the past she would always wait until it hit the floor before trying to collect it. Of course I’m not the kind of person to say “Oh, it’s just not for her”, I knew that it was me being a dummy and not knowing what she needed to show her how to do it correctly! Remember 99% of the time, the problem is the handler, not the dog! I thoroughly believe in that saying, you can teach a dog almost anything, you just might have to completely switch things up (in most cases, I know there are the odd exceptions).

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Luna was in her element with the frisbee’s, haven’t seen her this happy since stopping agility!

Now I’ve been friends with the wonderful Sputnik the Sighthound for a while as many of you will know. When I saw Emily and Spud had made an awesome new friend who was teaching her how to get into disc dog, I of course had to meet this new friend. Said person is the super talented Sian and The Wonder Collie’s! They are incredible! Picture proof!

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Sian and Ellie being incredible!
I got to spend a whole day with Sian, Storm and Ellie as well as Emily, Spud and Lady. We had such a lovely time, first out for walks to make sure grumpy Luna would accept everyone – which she did! Although she seemed to like obsessively herding Lady; a collie herding a collie, fancy that. We had a few points in the day where Lady was trying to herd Luna while Luna tried to herd her, then on top of that Storm trying to herd to the two of them! It was a sight! After a long morning walk it was back to the house to chill out and eat lots of food – we all appear to be large quantity consumers, was nice not to be just me for a change. And then out for the afternoon for some disc fun, training and photo’s! Firstly I got to watch and photograph Sian with Storm and Ellie, they really are awesome and left me gobsmacked! I then got to watch Emily with the lovely Lady and Spectacular Spud show off what they know. Spud showing the world that the sport isn’t just for Collie’s. Sian gave me lots and lots of tips and told me off for being silly and doing things wrong. She’s not really a bully, she’s lovely but to the point and doesn’t beat around the bush which I like! I needed to hear these things, and made her aware that Luna’s bloody brilliant but I can’t throw a tennis ball into a swimming pool, let alone a frisbee. I have been given lots of things to learn, teach and practice which I am so grateful for! Thank you Sian! Hopefully she’ll deem me to be not entirely useless and will come back and save my girls from my lack of co-ordination again.
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Spud: “Move over Storm, there’s a new Disc Dog in town, and this town ain’t big enough for the two of us!”
As Sian is so awesome at disc dog and already competes and performs all over the country, I thought it would be nice to have a little interview with her. I scribbled out a few questions that you guys might like to know the answer to, so I hope you enjoy this.
Q: How did you first hear about disc dog?
A: “I actually first saw disc dog through some accounts on Instagram and instantly fell in love! I knew straight away it was something I’d love to take part in one day when the right dog came along!”

Q: Did you find a club to train with initially?
A: “When I first started out in disc dog there was a grand total of two other UK disc doggers, so no. Everything I did when I started out was all self-taught, or us following advice from disc doggers around the world I had contacted for help. However, now that the sport is growing in popularity and therefore opportunities, I would highly recommend finding classes or a workshop to help you get into the sport!”

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Storm: “GIMME, GIMME, GIMME GIMME!”

Q: How long were you training before you started performing?
A: “The length of time I had been training all of my dogs before they started performing differed a lot – obviously every dog is different so I really took it as a dog-by-dog basis! Storm and I had been trick training together for around five months before his first performance. It was much harder with him as neither of us had a clue what we were doing when we first started, we really had to learn everything together! Never the less, he didn’t let me down and started me on the path of performing! Ellie was much different to Storm (probably helped that I actually knew what I was doing with her, thanks to the experience with Storm) and successfully did her first performance after just two weeks! And at Dog Fest no less – talk about being thrown in at the deep end! Little Jet was the most complicated one, because trick wise he was easily ready to perform after just weeks of being with us. But behaviourally it was a different story, with his reactive nature. He’s a good case of needing to know your dogs limits and not pushing them to get what you want. After a long nine months he successfully did his first performance and I couldn’t be prouder!”

Q: Now that you have been performing regularly, how often do you train with each of your dogs?
A: “During the height of the show season, rather than planning sessions I tend to prefer to find opportunities and just incorporate tricks casually into their routines (such as on walks or while they’re having ‘play time’) to keep them fresh and stop it becoming too tedious for them. Storm will do almost no planned training in the house, Ellie will do a few frisbee sessions a week to make sure she stays in top form, but Jet does regular sessions as he isn’t performing yet and still has a lot to learn! Once the season starts to wind down we generally do 1/2 short sessions a day.”

Q: What’s your favourite thing about performing?
A: “My ‘job’ means I get to go to amazing shows and meet some great people, then go into a ring and play with my favourite dogs…what isn’t there to love?!”

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Storm: “IT’S MINE!”

Q:What’s the worst part about performing in a ring, if there is a bad part?
A: “I wouldn’t say it’s a bad thing as such since it’s all part of the job, but as anyone who works with animals knows, they have their *cough* moments. At the end of the day, you are only half of the team, and its all too easy for your dog to just stick two paws up at you and bugger off! And in those times there’s not really much you can do but stand there and watch, or take a bow if it’s a really spectacular fail!”

Q: If someone wanted to start training disc dog, how would you suggest to go about it?
A: “Make sure your dog is fit and healthy first off – it never hurts to be given the all clear by a vet! But disc wise, find a classes or a workshop you can attend, ask people for advice (the disc community is a very friendly one and people are always willing to help each other out!), or find someone who’s style you like and just try it using YouTube videos/social media platforms as your guide! Obviously safety always has to come first, and never push your dog (or yourself) beyond your limits. Oh, and most importantly, always have fun!”

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That’s one spectacular back vault!
A massive thank you to Sian again for answering these questions! I sure know how she feels when the dogs occasionally “stick two paws up at you and bugger off”. I’m sure they do have days like us where they just think “Get stuffed, I’m not in the mood for that.”. Also a huge thank you to Emily for taking all the photo’s of me and my girls! I’d love to share more of our Disc Dog experience with you as we learn along the way, let me know if you want to hear more about it and whether you want to know how I have taught what they know up to this point!

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How lush are these two? I would have stolen them both given the chance!
The girls PitPat readings went through the roof! I was sure to use their activity monitors to make sure that both Luna and Aurora did not over-do it during this super fun, activity filled day. Ever thought about an activity monitor for your dog? I find them super useful, and just to note this little section is not sponsored by them in any way, I genuinely think they’re fantabulous! Go get your own PitPat here so you too can ensure your pup is doing enough/not too much every day!

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Aurora: “Mummy is always pressing that little button to keep track of my exercise”

We’ll finish off with a few more photo’s from today. I hope you enjoyed this post! Don’t forget to leave a comment, like and subscribe if you enjoyed it!

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Luna: “Getting proud of my rebounds. Who am I kidding, I’m the best!”
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Luna: “Already got this weaving business down to a T.”
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Aurora: “I keep fizzbee, yes?”
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Aurora: “You’re not getting away this time you son of a — Nom!”
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Lady: “You gonna throw that thing?”
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Lady: “Yes, ready mum, go!”
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Lady: “Ellie, this is my time.” Ellie: “Fizzbee?”
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Spud: “I shall slay thee, with-holder of fizzbee!”
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Storm: “I’m the king of the castle and you’re a dirty rascal.”
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Storm: “Cuddles yes mum?”
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Ellie: “I call this one the Kooky Kangaroo.”

How To Teach Your Dog To Touch

Hi guys! So for today’s little trick training how to we will be joined by Sputnik, AKA Mr. Mash!

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Mr Mash is so handsome! He even has his own Blog. Here he is posing on the Guru Pet Food stand at Countryfile Live!

Today I’m going to explain my method of how to teach your dog to touch your hand. It’s worth stating that I think teaching a dog to touch a hand with their nose is beneficial in day to day life! It shows our pups that an approaching hand is friendly, and not a threat. Something that was very helpful in Luna’s rehabilitation. And how to move touching a hand to touching a target stick, which is a super useful piece of kit to teach other tricks in the future! So without further ado, let’s get started!


Touch

You will need:

  1. A clicker – make sure your dog is conditioned to the clicker, see how to condition your dog to a clicker here
  2. A reward – normally small treats or toys

Method:

Step 1: Kneel/stand in front of your dog and present your dog with a flat palm. Do not try to touch your dogs nose just leave your hand in a static position. Dogs are naturally inquisitive and normally will investigate your hand to see whether there’s anything good there!

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Presenting a hand to Spud

 

 

 

Step 2: As soon as your pups nose touches your hand as they investigate, click and reward. Make sure your timing is right, as soon as you feel that nose on your hand, click!

 

 

Step 3: Move the hand you have asked them to touch behind your back, wait a few seconds.

Step 4: Present your hand again, and repeat steps 1-3 several times.

Step 5: When your dog is touching your hand as soon as you present it you can start adding in the command. I like to use “Touch” but you can input any command you like, I know some friends like to use “Nose”.

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Spuddy touching Mummy’s hand!

 

Step 6: Begin to offer your hand in different positions and say the command “Touch” but only once. When they touch click and treat! If your pup isn’t  sure what you are asking go back to step 5 and repeat a few times before trying to step back up to Step 6 again.

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Luna reaching higher to touch my hand! Touch can also be useful for dogs that you struggle to lure with food! Knowing the touch command allows me to lure Luna into the beg position without food – although I never struggle to Lure her with treats, such a foodie!

 

Target Stick
Need to know Touch

You will need:

  1. A clicker – make sure your dog is conditioned to the clicker, see how to condition your dog to a clicker here
  2. A Retractable Target stick – You can get a target stick with a built in clicker which is so useful! Rather hard to hold a clicker, target stick and a treat all at once! You can get one here: Target Stick With Clicker
  3. A reward – normally small treats or toys

Method:

Step 1: Keeping the stick retracted, stand/kneel in front of your dog and show them the ball on the end of the stick and ask them to touch.

Step 2: Your dog will hopefully understand what you are asking and touch what is closes to them (the ball on the end of the stick). As soon as their nose touches click and treat. Some dogs may try to go past the ball and touch your hand as taught previously, this is where your timing of clicking is crucial. Even if they brush the ball, click and treat! but make sure that they haven’t reached your hand before you click.

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“Love my Birthday present from Spud by the way, blue is definitely my colour!”

Step 3: Move the target stick behind your back and wait a few seconds.

Step 4: Present the target stick again and repeat steps 1 through to 3 several times.

Step 5: Once your dog has touched the ball several times consistently you can start to make the stick longer. Only push it out by 1-2 inches at a time and repeat steps 1-3 several times at each length until you have the stick fully extended.

If your pup is having trouble touching the end of the stick you can use something to lure them onto the end of it, such as cream cheese, Pâté or peanut butter (make sure it’s a dog friendly one! The ones that contain Xylitol are not dog friendly, please check the ingredients). Also be sure not to give your pup too much of these food items that are not made specifically for dogs, it can upset tummies! Use sparingly, it is only a lure after all, and they’re getting a treat after too!

Once your pup has mastered touching a target stick you can eventually begin to use it as a guide for more advanced tricks.

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“Look ma! No hands!” I can now use the target stick as a guide to bring Luna up onto her hind legs and follow it around. This is super helpful as with larger dogs, if you try to use your hand they tend to lean on you, most can’t reach when you’re using a target stick!
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“For fluff sake woman, hold that thing still!” Using the Target stick as a guide to ask Luna to trot in a circle around me.

 

Thanks for reading guys! I hope you find these little how to posts helpful! Next time will be how to teach your dog to spin both left and right, as requested by @My.locococo on Instagram! Please let me know in the comments or via message on Instagram or Tweet us if there are any tricks you would like to learn how to teach. If we don’t already know the trick, we will learn it with you! What is your dogs favourite reward when training?

 

Easiest Tricks To Teach Your Dog

Hi guys! I best start by saying that these are the 6 tricks that I personally find easiest to teach most dogs. This may not be the case for everyone! If you’re new to trick training I find these tricks a great place to start. Some of you may say that these are not all tricks, but basic commands. Whatever you want to call them they are still behaviours that you teach your dog to perform!

The tricks I’ll be covering today are:

  • Sit
  • Down (/lie down)
  • Stand
  • Paw (/shake)
  • Hi-5
  • Wave

Before I start on each trick there are a few things that will apply to all of the tricks below.

The first is that when I first teach a dog a new trick do not use a verbal command until they understand what I want. For example, I would lure them into the position, and once they are in the position I then give the command.

Secondly do not over use the command, and I see this so often. If you keep saying the command and you’re not getting a response you’re basically teaching your dog that they do not have to complete the command the first time that you say it – plus nobody likes being asked more than once to do something, it’s just bloody irritating! I do know that occasionally there are times where, after they have been taught the command, you may end up having to ask once or twice if they are distracted, but try and keep this to a minimum. If they are distracted easily teach a ‘focus’ command and use this to re-gain their attention rather than mindlessly repeating the same word over and over again – otherwise I might just gently beat you over the head with a stick covered in marshmallows! I will go through a focus command in the future for those who are interested.

Lastly make sure you have all training aids ready before you start. Most importantly your bum bag/treat bag complete with treats, or your toy if you’re using that as the reward. And also have your clicker ready in hand, decide which hand is easiest for treating and which for clicking!


Sit

Step 1: Whilst standing/kneeling in front of your dog, use a treat to lure your dogs head up and back slightly – nothing drastic, don’t be silly and make them bend their neck back as that’s just not comfortable. Also never use physical force to put your dog in position, I’ve seen people pushing on their dogs bum to make them sit and it’s not good for their joints! Makes me want to go and jump on their shoulders until their arse hits the floor!

Step 2: When their head comes up their bum should lower

Step 3: As soon as his/her bum touches the floor click and reward (it is key to click and target that precise moment! Don’t forget to click first then give the reward, if you have correctly conditioned they will already know that reward is on the way when they hear the click!).

Step 4: Start adding the command, I do this by saying sit once (and only once!) and then luring into position again.

Step 5: Repeat process multiple times until your dog starts to sit without the lure.

Step 6: Wait slightly longer each time before giving the reward (count 1 second then reward a few times, then 2 seconds and reward a few times, then 3 seconds etc.) but do not move away from them as this is venturing into a stay/wait command.

Aurora sit Badbury
Because obviously you don’t know what a sitting dog looks like…

Down
(Must know sit first)

Step 1: Stand/kneel in front of your dog with a treat and ask them to sit.

Step 2: Once sitting put the treat in front of their nose, and using it as a lure move the treat slowly towards the ground. Try not to bring the treat forward too far as their bum may come up so they can step forwards!

Step 3: As soon as their elbows are on the ground click and reward!

Step 4: Once they are comfortably performing ‘down’ every time you lure them add the command. Say the command once then lure into position again.

Step 5: Repeat process multiple times until your dog starts to lie down without the lure.

Step 6: Wait slightly longer each time before giving the reward.

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Luna showing off her capability to lie down…

Stand
(Must know sit)

Step 1: Stand/kneel in front of your dog and ask them to sit.

Step 2: Use a treat to lure your dog forward.

Step 3: As soon as they straighten their back legs click and reward!

Step 4: Once they are standing still from a sit position start adding the command!

Step 5: Repeat process until your dog is standing without the lure.

Step 6: Wait slightly longer each time before giving the reward.

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Aurora showing us how to stand, because you didn’t know what that looked like either…

Paw
(Must know sit)

Step 1: Stand/kneel in front of your dog and ask them to sit.

Step 2: Hold a treat in a tightly clasped hand near your dog and slightly to one side to encourage them to shift their weight off the leg you want them to give.

Step 3: Encourage your dog to get the treat. After a few moments (and probably a few licks, potentially some nibbles!) they should use their paw to try and open your hand. Click and reward as soon as their paw touches your hand!

Step 4: Once they are using their paw without encouragement, introduce the command.

Step 5: Once they are responding to the command try removing the treat from your hand and offering a flat palm when asking ‘paw’ (or whatever command you want to use, you could use any word you like!)

Step 6: Repeat the process until your dog is giving paw consistently without the treat in your hand.

Step 7: Wait slightly longer each time before giving the reward.

The key to creating a solid paw command is not to grab your dogs paw when they give it to you! Otherwise you could make them feel uncomfortable about giving their paw int he future! Let’s be honest, how would you like it if I grabbed your hand rather than just asking you for it. I think “Sod off you blithering idiot!” or potentially stronger words to that effect may well be used.


Hi-5
(Must know sit and paw)

Step 1: Stand/kneel in front of your dog and ask them to sit.

Step 2: Use the hand signal for your dog to give paw but don’t use the command. Once your dog lifts their paw, quickly switch your hand from a flat palm up to a flat palm facing your dog – as if you we’re going to hi-5 a human, but don’t move your hand towards them like you would a human, only humans hands deserve a slap – then click and treat as soon as their paw meets your hand.

Step 3: Once you have met your dogs paw further up a few times start adding the command.

Step 4: Once your dog is responding to the command start offering your hand in the Hi-5 position straight away rather than in the paw position first.

Step 5: Repeat the process until your dog is Hi-5ing (it’s not a word, but oh well!) consistently with your hand in the Hi-5 position only.

You don’t need to worry about waiting longer with this one. Lingering around in a Hi-5 is just an awfully awkward situation, and if you’re doing that with people, I suggest maybe you re-think your strategy.

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Hi-10 mum! Because I’m far too advanced for just one. It’s definitely not just because I like to slap my paws everywhere… Nope, not that!

Wave
(Must know sit and paw)

Step 1: Stand/kneel in front of your dog and ask them to sit.

Step 2: Use the hand signal for your dog to give paw but no verbal command. Once your dog lifts their paw move your hand back to you and wave at your dog and click and reward. Make sure you only click while your dogs paw is in the air.

Step 3: Once you have clicked and rewarded the behaviour a few times start adding in the command.

Step 4: Once your dog is responding to the command, start waving at your dog without giving in the paw position first.

Step 5: Repeat the process until your dog is waving consistently.

Again don’t worry about hanging around with this one, waving for too long is just tiring. Seriously, sit and wave with your arm up for more than a minute, it’s not enjoyable. The queen must have some serious arm muscles!

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Begging and waving?! What is this sorcery?

 

I hope you found the methods above useful! Do you have a different way that you teach any of the tricks? I’d love to know, as there’s never only one way to teach something! Some dogs that I’ve helped train previously have made me think really outside the box before now. So if you’re stuck on anything just pop me a message, I’m always happy to try and help!

What tricks do you want to learn next? Let me know in the comments!

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We call this ‘Paws on’ although apparently Luna seemed to think that one was quite enough, apparently it was more ‘dramatic’… Do you want to learn this? Subscribe! 😉

Clickers and Trick Training Basics

I thought, before I went running off and showing you guys how I teach certain tricks, it would be best to first explain my teaching methods and some of what I use. Now I am by no means a qualified trainer, and you may well have your own methods, but for those of you who are interested I’ll crack on!

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Sitting Pretty doesn’t just happen overnight!

 


Starting out

Start out simple! If you have never done any trick training before do not throw yourself in at the deep end! This may seem obvious to a lot of you but I’ve seen it so many times before, and then people give up because they become frustrated with their pup! Not their fault If you haven’t done much trick traing start out with the basics and trick I personally consider easy to teach (this is not always the case, every dog is different!).

Tricks I consider easy to teach:

  • Sit
  • Down (Lie Down)
  • Stand
  • Paw
  • Hi-5
  • Wave

Follow the blog if you’re interested in learning any of the above tricks in the near future! I’ll be combining these 6 basic tricks into one post!


Treats

Small training treats are best suited to trick training, and the smaller the treat the better! We don’t want those pup’s getting chunky!

I use a variety of treats, but I need to know that they are okay with my dogs tummies before using them, as we do go through quite a lot even in a short training session!

Having a set of treats can be useful too. I have either 2 or 3 sets of treat with me for a training session. A basic treat, a slightly more sought after treat, then something amazing! If your pup is taking longer to pick up a certain trick then it may be worth increasing the value of the treat, as this often helps speed up the process!

Some training treats I use:
Mixed Sausage Bites – Can be broken/cut up into really tiny pieces
Guru’s Venison Sausages – I still have yet to take a knife to their heads but they break up okay
Lily’s Kitchen Little Liver Rewards – Can be snapped up smaller but are the hardest of all mentioned
Pet Munchies Sushi Training Treats – Can be easily broken in half

 

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Not a training treat, however holding something this yummy and resisting the urge to gobble it down is not without Training!

Clicker

I use a clicker for a lot of my trick training, I find it’s much easier to precisely target the specific behaviour that you are trying to teach.

What is a clicker?
A clicker is a small handheld device which makes a clicking sound when you press the button.

How does a clicker work?
You must first ‘condition’ your dog to the clicker. You do this by pressing the clicker then giving your dog a treat/reward immediately after. When I first condition a dog to a clicker it normally takes 1-3 days depending on the dog. I will normally condition 2-3 times a day for 1-2 minutes each time. This will teach your dog to associate the sound of the clicker with a reward!

How can I tell if my dog is correctly conditioned?
Wait until your dog is not paying attention to you, and click. If they react quickly to the sound and come to you expecting food, or whatever you have decided to use as a reward, you know it has worked!

What if I can’t get/forget a clicker?
Now I’m possibly one of the most forgetful people you will ever meet. There are many occasions where I’m stuck without a clicker, so my back up is a sound that I can make consistently, that is also not a sound they hear often. My personal sound is a whispered ‘yessssssssss’ so I hiss at the end like a snake! It isn’t as consistent as a clicker, however it is still better than just your normal voice!

The Best clicker?
there are loads of different clickers out there and they all do their job just fine! Personally I like to use one that I can clip to something because I’m forever dropping and losing things!

Here’s a link to the clicker I use: Petface Clicker

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Bum Bag

To me a bum bag with several pockets is essential! Mine has 3 zip compartments and a Velcro pouch. The Velcro pouch carries my poo bags (essential!), biggest back pocket is used for toys, the middle compartment for treats and the front carries my clicker and any other small equipment I may need for that training session. If you feel ridiculous in a bum bag, a treat bag that you can clip to your trousers will suffice. Personally I get annoyed with most treat bags for not sitting open well enough or being too easy access for the dogs to stick their noses in and self-serve!

I actually take my bum bag on all dog walks, because general walks can be used as training time too! For those fashionista’s out there, you can buy yourself a fancy bum bag in lots of places now too! Just be sure that it has a waterproof lining so it’s easy to wash gross treat bits out!

Here’s the link for my Petface bum bag: Petface Bum Bag

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Our command for this is ‘Shame’

 


Toys

If your pooch likes or prefers a toy as a reward then great! My advice on toys is to try to use something that doesn’t take you forever to reward them with (for example throwing a ball miles every time you want to reward your pup will make your session take forever!). If you use a ball then just asking them to catch it I have found to be much more productive. Tug toys are a great quick reward too!

Luna and Aurora’s favourite toy reward are Kong squeaky balls!

Here’s the link for the squeaky balls: Kong Squeakair Balls


Environment

Remember that your environment can affect your trick training! It is best to start trick training in a very familiar, indoor environment where there are little to no distractions.

With every new trick I teach the girls they always learn it either in the living room or in our bedroom. These are the places with the least distractions for them. When I am confident that they understand the trick, and only then, will I begin to try to move it outside. First I move to the garden, which is familiar, but with more distractions, including sounds and smells! Then once I’m confident they have it in the garden I will move to a quiet public space and get busier and busier!

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Our command for this trick is ‘Hide’!

 


Attitude

Your attitude will have so much impact on a training session, and I cannot stress this to you enough! You MUST be positive, because why would your dog want to listen to and cooperate with you if you were in a crappy mood? I personally am someone who feeds off the vibes of others around me, and I believe a lot of dogs to be the same way!

If you are for whatever reason frustrated, stressed, angry, upset, or any other negative emotion, and have a training session planned, cancel those plans. Go have some chill out time instead and save the training for another time, because you don’t want to be undoing all your hard work and breaking that special bond that trick training helps you and your dog build! It’s supposed to be fun dammit! You fun sponge! But seriously don’t panic, we all have those days.

Unfortunately I can’t give you a link to buy a better attitude, sorry!

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Sitting still is an essential ‘trick’ for every day life in my opinion!

I don’t have time to trick train

Yes. You. Do.

You do not need all the time in the world to do some trick training with your dog. Personally I spend 5-20 minutes every evening before we settle down and watch TV doing some trick training. But you don’t even need to do that much, 5 minutes 3 times a week is enough for your dog to start learning basic tricks. Set aside 5 minutes of your usual walking time to do a bit of trick training, as mental stimulation can be just as tiring as physical stimulation!

I find it easiest to set out a schedule for trick training, because I’m a horrible procrastinator! But if I plan things, I’m much more likely to get them done!


 

I hope you find some of these things helpful. Of course this is not gospel, this is just my madness, however there is occasionally some method in my madness, so maybe you’ll find something helpful?

Let me know in the comments if you enjoyed this post, if you found it helpful, what you found helpful and if there’s anything you think I have missed and/or would like to know more about in relation to trick training. Also let me know if there are any tricks you would like to know how I train or want to see me train the girls in the future! Basically I want a whole customer survey from you, by the end of the week. Chop, chop!

If you happened to be one of the poor souls that made it this far through my ramblings, and you possibly enjoyed the post, feel free to click that follow button and subscribe to my future posts!