I teach my dogs pretty much everything they need to know via tricks. Afterall, agility, obedience, tracking, disc dog... - it's all just another dog trick.
Tricks train them to think, to use their body and mind. Tricks teach them that there is no difference between working and playing and gives them the right attitude. Teaching tricks teaches them that they’re the smartest dogs in the world, that there are no mistakes and no failure, that trying things is good. Tricks give them confidence in their thinking abilities and moves, improve their strength, balance and coordination. Tricks build a bond between me and them and create a deeper understanding for them how I think and for me how they think. Tricks make them feel important, smart, confident, needed and bonded with me.
Tricks are very important for young dogs as they learn to use their body and mind that way. They're also great for cross training of competing dogs, it keeps all the muscle active and strong and prevents injuries. And it's especially great for old dogs, as tricks keep them mentally and physically active and that's what keeps them young and healthy.
AND they don't take much time, space or equipment, so you don't have any excuse not to teach some tricks to your dog!
Here is the right place to post your videos to give us some ideas, to ask questions on "how to" or ask for a suggestion if you get stuck somewhere on a way.
Here comes one of my favourite videos:
To learn more about tricks, please see my training DVDs on tricks.
I’ve been doing some handstand practice with Elsa & Zephyr recently. They both seem to be doing good lifts into the position but I’m wondering how to get a freestanding handstand from this point. Any suggestions?
You need an empty object next that won’t allow any climbing -- like a table or something. Jackpot for the most powerful pushes up. Alternatively, use thinner&thinner objects (like thinner&thinner tree and eventually a pole) or such objects that don’t really offer much support (like a soft fence). You can also have them do it against your legs as you can either stand so that they can climb some or so that they can’t + can feel really well if they’re leaning on you or not and can reward the right moments.
OK, great…we’ll try these things! I never thought of a tree— we certainly have enough different size trees to practice on! Will let you know how it goes.
Hi, I’m new to shaping (or lets say I’m bad at shaping!). I just got your DVD Training for a better bond and I’m trying the basic (supposedly quick and easy) Suitcase trick. With no luck! I spent 15 minutes and all I get is front feet in, nothing more. The problem is I don’t even get anything that moves closer to a back leg in to click! I am trying to click and treat a lot, but I just get standing with front two legs and then nothing more offered, except for maybe pawing at me or the edge of the suitcase. If I continue to click, we just stay there and if I stop to see if he will offer something else, he just gets out of the suitcase! Help!
First, make sure the suitcase is big enough ie. longer as the dog. If you can find another, bigger object, that might be even better. Do you get any movement with hind feet that you could click at all? Also, reward by tossing treats in the suitcase, to keep his focus off you and on the suitcase.
if you get a new puppy, do you show him / her that a click means food before the first session or do you just start right away with an easy trick? 🙂
I start right away with clicking for action, but click&reward any action for a couple of sessions and then go for a specific trick. They learn click=treat after a couple of clicks, so that’s no big deal, but it can take a couple of sessions for them to understand their actions can cause click/treat to happen.
Thanks! My sister is getting her new puppy in two weeks. A sheltie girl called Luna -- Holly’s little sister. 🙂
She will be our first puppy trained by your methods right from the start! 🙂
Great! Fun times ahead! 🙂