On Friday, I went over how I’ve managed to keep my New Year Resolution to teach Maya and Pierson more dog tricks. So far we are on the right track. But a resolution shouldn’t end after just one month. I want to keep going. So I’ve made a list of tricks and have resolved to teach at least one a month:
*Heel-Sit – Maya and Pierson know heel and they know sit, but they don’t know how to do both at the same time with a specific command. Yes, they will sit at my side if I stop walking at a walk, but I want them to be able to do it when I call them from across the yard or something.
*Sit in a Specific Spot – I think once they learn to heel and sit at my side on command, it will be easier for me to teach them to sit in a specific spot I point to. This will help me with photo-taking.
*Stand – Stand means to stand up on four feet after being in a sit or down position. Sephi knew how to do this one, but I don’t think I taught Maya. Or if I did teach it to Maya, I haven’t made her do it in so long that she’s probably forgotten.
*Back up – To back up means to walk backwards. I think it will be easy and fun to teach. It can be especially useful if Maya and Pierson are trying to crowd me for their treats or toys.
*Cover Your Eyes – I don’t think this one will be easy, but I think it would be fun to try anyway. They both know how to shake, and I saw in a book how I can get them to cover their eyes.
*Wave – I started this one with Pierson some time back but didn’t stick to it. Once I have a better idea on how to teach it, and when I commit to teaching more consistently, I think both he and Maya will get it.
*Roll in a Blanket – I bet Pierson will learn this one easily since he’s done it on accident a few times. He will already grab his blanket on command so it is a matter of getting him to roll over with it in his mouth. Teaching this to Maya will probably be more difficult since she has no interest in the blanket.
*Jump Up – I won’t teach this to Maya because I am worried she may develop arthritis. She’s a Lab and I understand Labs are quote prone to this. Pierson, on the other hand, is quite bouncy. It will be a breeze to teach him to do this on command.
*Put Toys Away – This one will be the most challenging. I can already get them to pick up a toy, but to teach them to put it in their toy box will be a bit more challenging. Putting toys away is completely backwards from what they want to do with the toys!
I got many of these ideas from the “101 Dog Tricks” book by Kyra Sundance and her dog Chalcy. She has some great ideas on how to get dogs to put toys away and cover their eyes. The book does not give detailed step-by-step, like what showed on Friday for teaching “all the way” and “hold”. But since I am a certified dog trainer, I can fill in the blanks easily enough.
This list may change or be taught in a different order. But having a list will help me stay on track with our dog training resolution. If Maya and Pierson learn each trick so quickly, why am I taking a whole month between each? There are a few reasons for this:
1. Reinforcement – Repeating the same trick for several days helps them retain what they’ve learned.
2. Gives Confidence – By having Maya and Pierson do dog tricks they already know, they have the confidence and the desire to learn more.
3. Keeps Training Fun – Learning is more fun when you do things right. If you’re being told you’re doing things wrong more often than you’re being told you’re doing things right, then learning becomes a chore. When dog training becomes a chore, it is more challenging and, therefore, more frustrating. We enjoy training and we want to keep it that way.
Do you like teaching your dog new tricks? What are some dog tricks you want to try?