Posts Tagged ‘command’

Pierson Speaks

May 4, 2013

What is the easiest dog trick to teach to an Australian Shepherd mix? ‘Speak!’ Why? Because Aussies are already yappers. It was just a matter of finding things that triggered Pierson’s barking and saying the command to speak just before the trigger. Since it was too difficult to get someone to walk by my house or make a noise outside in order to get Pierson to bark, I found another trigger. Pierson also barks when he is happy. Meal time is one example. Another is when I blow in his face during playtime.

I discovered this while I was playing with Maya. In order to keep Pierson from interfering, because he can be a jealous bully when I play with Maya, I would blow in his face to keep him away. Pierson took the face blowing as part of the game. He got so excited about this game that he started barking.

So after playing with Maya, I decided to see if I could purposely provoke him to bark bu blowing in his face. After just a couple of tries, it worked. I’d say ‘speak’, then blow in his face. If he barked, he got lots of praise. I must have done this five times before I decided to just say the command without blowing in his face. To my delight, it worked!

I did three sessions of this, each less than 5 minutes long. By the third session, I was only saying the command. No face blowing. I did another short training session the next day to refresh his memory. Now, a week or so later, he confidently knows the command and is more than happy to bark. The real dog trick will be to get him to stop. 😉

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Fun Dog Game – Teach Your Dog “Find It”

August 18, 2012

My dog Maya loves the fun dog game “Find It” and my other dog Pierson is learning to like it too. See, dogs as smart as Labradors and Border Collies need more than just physical exercise, they need mental exercise too. The “Find It” game gives them that. “Find It” gives your dog the challenge of trying to sniff out and find his treats. Here is how you can teach your dogs to play.

Step One – Be Obvious
First, make your dog sit and stay where he has full view of the room where you are going to hide the treat or his favorite dog toy. Let your dog watch you put the treat or dog toy somewhere. Easy places to hide the treat or toy are just under the corner of the couch, behind a table leg, or beside a potted plant. Don’t put the treats someplace you don’t want your dog to go, such as on the furniture or on the table. Then give your release command plus the words “find it”. My dogs’ release command is “okay”. So I say, “Okay, find it!” Spend a couple minutes a day, two-three times a day, for 3-5 days in a row. Start with hiding just one treat or toy at a time then work your way up to 3-5 treats in different hiding places. At first, stick to the same hiding places.

Now You Can Really Hide the Treats
Now that your dog knows what “find it” means and where the hiding places are, start having him sit and stay somewhere around the corner and out of site. Show him the treats or dog toy. Then go hide the treats in one of the places where you dog has seen you put stuff before. If your dog is having a hard time, give hints by pointing and saying “find it”. Once your dog has gotten good at finding the treats or toys in the 3-5 different hiding places you’ve selected, then start hiding the treats in other areas nearby. Keep in the same general area. Eventually, you will want to work the whole room, or maybe two rooms, and increase the number of hiding places.

Even though my dogs have great noses, they tend to use their eyes more than their sense of smell. The “Find It” game helps them learn to use their nose more. Perhaps as the challenge increases you can play “Hide-n-Seek” with your dog and say, “find Susie”. Your dog and your kids both will love this fun dog game!

Homemade pumpkin treat hiding in plain sight.

Another homemade treat in hiding.

Maya is close, but not close enough.

After much pointing, Pierson is the first one to find it.

But Maya finds the other treat.

After a 2nd round, they both find the treat.

Pierson finds a treat hiding on the crate.

Charlee Bear Dog Treat, 16-Ounce, Liver

Charlee Bear dog treats are great small treats with few calories.