Dogs burnout too!
The tricks this week are significantly harder than previous weeks. For instance, you can do several Muffin-Tin-type tricks in the time it takes to do rear-end awareness and pretty much every trick on this page. Therefore, I've introduced less total tricks and encourage you to offset these difficult tricks with easier ones from previous weeks so your dog doesn't get burnt out.
Nose Touch game with Heeling
Warmups don't have to be redundant! Games can be used too! Games will also help prevent burnout!
This is a nose-touch heeling game that's used largely to help puppies and dogs learn to heel. It's fun to revisit for our dogs, as a way to get their thinking caps on without being boring!
Use several different ways to get your dog to touch the spots (stick target, hand, or frisbee)!
Warmups are important, but don't spend too much time on them. We need that energy for the lesson!
- Stretches [watch video]
- Focus Trees
- Silent cues for Sit, Down, & Stand.
- Following the targets: finger/hand/stick touch.
- Frisbee touch, including on the door.
- Backing up (we will hit rear-end awareness later).
Teaching the Hold
* Foundation exercise
IMPORTANT: This video is an oversimplification of a process that takes a long time and will likely need troubleshooting along the way. Teaching the hold is HARD for most dogs!
It may be beneficial to have your dog on leash for this exercise. Some dogs get confused in the beginning and my try to walk away. The leash will stop them but you will need to increase rewards to get them going again.
Take your time and don't feel pressured for your dog to have it by the end of the session; most dogs won't! This class is designed to be taken multiple times, to achieve all of the titles through honors. We layer it in now because a lot of time is needed, including between sessions.
Many guardian & spitz breeds (among others) may have a harder time than most when it comes to learning the hold. These dogs are as independent as it gets. The hold implicates retrieving, which is far from the nature of these breeds. That doesn't mean it's not possible, it just means that it may take a significant amount of effort. When you're ready, take the challenge! Perhaps a pandemic is the perfect time 😉
Jump through my arms & over my knee
Dogs should have mastered the hoop jump & have earned their Novice title before progressing to this exercise.
We use the hoop as foundation for several other tricks! Both the "jump over my knee" and "jump through my arms" exercises utilize the hoop as foundation! The hoop adds clarity for our dogs, which accelerates learning!
4 paws up & trick on an object
SAFETY FIRST! Think extremely carefully about the object you use. If it's your dog's first time, choose something more stable. Injury is a real possibility if they are pushed way too hard. It's easy to assume that a dog will have an easy time based on the acrobats they do around the house. However, doing it with an object that they didn't choose, in a way they've never done before, on a likely unstable surface, adds many layers of complications for them that we might dismiss. Dogs don't generalize. Jumping on your couch is not the same as jumping on a large peanut or even a footstool.
Your reward placement (lure) is everything with this trick! Lure really high, so your dog touches it by accident the first couple times.
Now shown: Trick on an object (Bonsai puppy is way too floppy for that!). Tricks can be obedience commands (sit, down) or other tricks such as Sit Pretty.
Shut the front door!
Oh boy, another hard one! The secret to this is teaching your dog to love pushing the nose target. The more fun your dog has pushing the frisbee, the harder they will push it every time! Sometimes it can be helpful if touching the frisbee leads to a short game (such as tug) instead of just treats.
How many different objects can your dog move around your house? It doesn't have to be the door! Happy clicking!
We've been taking it slow and steady by backing our dogs up onto very low, stable, & wide objects. This week we're going to take that a little further. Relative to your dog's size in comparison to mine, go up a couple more inches (average size dogs may be at roughly 4").
Not only are we going higher with our target this week, but also try strange objects! Perhaps pillows! For safety; the more unstable the object is, the lower it should be.