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’m absolutely terrible with cues so I’m gonna ask for advice on this one. What do you use as cue to the trick where the dog lifts up left/right hind leg? and what do you call both left/right legs up? Thanks in advance 🙂
Huh, my cues won’t help you, I use slovenian words for “side legs” (stranske) and “back leg” (zadnja) and I show with my hand which side I want.
Sometimes I wonder about using cues from another language because they are more appropriate than the english equivalent because I can have trouble thinking of cues sometimes.
Haha, I often use English cues when I don’t like equivalent in my language. I even think foreign-language cues might be a tiny bit better, because they’re not used in every day conversation and there is no fear my boyfriend would use the cue when he would want the dog to do something else. Like I have “Sedi” for Sit and “Cicaj” for Sit Pretty (which both mean “sit” in Slovene), and sometimes my boyfriend uses “Cicaj” when he wants the dog to sit. I wish I put an English cue on that one 😉
All the tricks are amazing -- trick training is so much fun -- I’m hooked! How do you train your dog to jump on your back? Also, I have no idea how one being to teach them to balance on our feet! Any hints, please!
The general “jump on that thing” cue helps. Back is easy, you just need to kneel down first, reward for front paws on first and go from there. For jumping on feet, I first teach jumping on small, shaky objects -- first low, then higher&higher. See rel="nofollow">this video, you can see dogs in learning stage of those two tricks -- and yes, it’s easier with a helper.
Please! How to teach it to limp? walking on three legs? we practice it one month. My border collie doesn’t understand it.
In short: first shape one paw in the air and then click for movement of any of the other three legs. For more detailed instructions, see Tricks for better thinking skills: complex thinking part. Have fun!
thank you very much!
I have watched your Tricks for better thinking skill am still stuck at just one paw in the air -- not getting any movement of the other 3 legs. Am I expecting too much for the first session?
This trick training is fun but so so addictive! In a day, we went from skateboarding, to hug the pole, bowl in bowl trick, rollover and now limping -- am I trying to do too many tricks? My puppy seems quite happy to participate…………
Yeah, no problem doing more tricks at the same time, those are all different enough and if your puppy loves it, then it must be right 🙂 Limping can take quite long yes. It went really fast with Le, she started to move the first session, but it took pretty long with the BCs, needed to start with a weight shift and slowly shape from there.
Here your trick about pick up and object and hold it.
Two different dogs and two different ways to do it.
One is our Loox just 6 months today and the other one is Pip’s sister.
Looks like Bi and Bu! 🙂 Very cute video, thanks for posting!
Hi Silvia, this is our homework 😉
Acua first idea was to hold it with one hand. I think she is not well balance so it took her a little more time to get the hold with both hands.
Wow, great! Really good for the first session, she offers muzzle-paw combination right away!
Hi Silvia. I have your dvd with tricks and I have a big problem with \”hiding\”. Azja doesn\’t touch her paws to face. When she raises her paws she always gets head high. I can not catch low head and raised paws. I like this trick very much and I would like to teach this Azja 🙂 Here is our video: rel="nofollow ugc">
Hi Silvia. I have your dvd with tricks and I have a big problem with \”hiding\”. Azja doesn\’t touch her paws to face. When she raises her paws she always gets head high. I can not catch low head and raised paws. I like this trick very much and I would like to teach this Azja 🙂 Here is our video:
Maybe try in sit position first? It’s sometimes easier. Also, it helps if you can capture it sometimes and at the same time try to shape it, they usually make the connection between the two somewhere on a way and it makes things much easier.
My german pointer x springer spaniel loves to learn new tricks, but at 29kg he’s a little too big for vaulting off me, so I am running out of trick ideas fast and forever looking for new activities. Currently we train in agility, disc dog, trick dogging, obedience, canine freestyle, search and rescue and treibball, but need new trick ideas or new activities.
We’re up for anything!
Well, if you check my YouTube channel, I’m sure you can find a trick or two you didn’t master just yet 🙂 It’s really GREAT to do so many things with the dog, I think it’s important to not just do one thing in order to keep them physically and mentally fit! And it’s definitely FUN for the dog too!
I just want to thank you for lots of ideas a got from your websites and your videos. I have 2,5 years old border collie Destiny, she was hit by car and she was operated after and they put away her hip on her back right leg. Unfortunately, because of that, she can´t jump on large. So we jump on small just for fun. But we really LOVE tricks. It´s fun and actually it help to her bad leg.
Sorry to hear about the accident… Tricks are definitely a GREAT extension of rehabilitation program and I’m sure they will help her have a normal life even without the hip I know several dogs who underwent similar operation and can play and run normally. Jumping large might indeed be somewhat too much, but hey, jumping on small is just as much fun!
First, let me tell you I’ve read pretty much everything you wrote, and I think it’s just awesome what you do for dogs and dog trainers! Dogs just need more people like you who are able to think differently and see the world through their eyes!
I’ve got a question about skateboarding. I taught skateboarding to my beagle, who, like your cute Pyrsheps La and Le, is quite fearless, very food-motivated and crazy about tricks, so she did just great.
But I’m having problems with my shy, perfection-maniac aussie girl. She’s uncomfortable on moving objects, so I thought teaching her skateboarding would be good for self confidence. But we seem to be stuck with 2 front paws on the skate, and nothing more. I try to click every weight shifting and jackpot every tiny movement of the skateboard, but whenever it moves too much she jumps from it, and is not willing to climb again, or with lots of slow movements showing her stress. And then I have to go back to the beginnning.
So I’m wondering maybe I should teach her some easier tricks before, and come back to skateboarding when she’s gained more confidence? She already knows quite a few of your basic tricks like “walk on my feet” or “crossing front paws”, but I find her difficult to train, since she is very cautious, eager to please me so much so that she seems to be obsessed by perfection (a bit like your Bu?) and afraid to try new things and propose behaviours. It’s ok if I lurre her into a trick but shaping is hard for her.
I’ll gladly take any tips that will help me build up her confidence or ideas of tricks that can make her more comfortable on moving objects. 🙂
Hope you’re having a great summer teaching agility and stuff! 😉
Marie and Ever (from France)
Did you try to start with a skateboarding on carpet? I always start on carpet as it moves softer and slower there, that would be very important for your Aussie. With this type of dogs, shaping is much better, they need to learn that there are no mistakes, there are just tries. Try to teach as many tricks that involve objects as possible to give her more confidence to interact with objects, objects also give them more ideas on what they can offer. Maybe you can join our puppy class, I think it would be good for her to start some basic shaping tricks and go from there to build more confidence.
Thanks for the reply 🙂
We started on grass to have the skateboard move slower, and as a matter of fact, we’re still there with the aussie whereas the beagle is already skating wildly all the way down the street LOL!
Front paws on a box and circling with hind legs is ok for her since the box is not moving. Sitting on a tiny children’s chair and even sitting pretty on it is quite fine. We were even working on a big fitness ball like you have until a friend’s dog destroyed it 😛
Anyway she’s clearly afraid of moving objects (she gets panicky whenever doors slam with wind drafts), so you can suppose she’s not very comfortable on a see-saw…
Definitely thinking of joining your class, only I would like to join agility foundations as well, so hard to choose!!!
Well in the meantime I should maybe try to get her to close doors and drawers with front paws, do you think that could help?
Thank you so much!!!
Sure, that’s a very good one too! And balancing on a small ball with front feet on would be an easier version of a trick that goes in the same direction.
Ok will do! Thanks soooo much for the advice and congrats for Bu and La’s qualifications for Lievin! These will be de first WC I attend, I look forward to applauding your runs!!! 😉
Thanks. See you there then! 🙂