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Old 06-08-2009, 01:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Fun tricks to teach your puppy?

So, Sigrid is 11 weeks old and already has Down, Sit (and Stay with both of those, pretty decently), Come, Touch, Roll Over, Look, and walks on lead like a pro. What else can I teach her to do? She's so smart, we get bored quickly. We practice these things every day, of course. We play games like hide & seek, find the treat. But if she's this smart there must be some cool things she could learn to do. Ideas?

Here's a question, too. I can't seem to teach her "shake" because she confuses my putting my hand at her level with the signal for Down (I taught her by luring her nose between her paws, so every time she's sitting and I put my hand down there, down she goes without offering a paw). Anyone have a thought on an alternative way to teach this?
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Old 06-08-2009, 01:58 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fun tricks to teach your puppy?

The difference between "high five" or touch and shake for us is that I use different hands. Left hand is a touch, right hand is a shake. Don't know if that helps or not.
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Old 06-08-2009, 02:38 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fun tricks to teach your puppy?

Will she "down" on a verbal cue only yet? Work on that by giving the cue, waiting a second or two, and then giving the hand signal. Start waiting a few seconds longer each time, using the hand signal as a reminder of what the verbal cue means, only if she needs it. The first time she downs without the reminder, BIG praise ("YES! WOW! GREAT JOB!!!") and several treats in succession. Repeat. It may take a little while for her to figure it out and be consistent, but by giving the command that she doesn't know (the word "down") first, it becomes a predictor of the command (hand signal) that she DOES know, and she will eventually learn to associate it with the act of dropping into a down. Word = hand signal = action.

When we were taking puppy classes with Halo they had us work on short sequences using just verbal cues and then just hand signals - sit/down/sit, stand/down/stand, so they learn every position from every other position. And that way if the hand signal you want to use for shake is similar enough to your down command that she's getting confused, you simply don't reward her for the down if you told her to shake instead. You can also start fading your hand signal so it's more subtle and there's a bigger difference between the two motions. When I first start teaching down I'm bringing my entire hand down to the floor, but over time I fade it so it's a single finger pointing to the ground while I remain standing.

I had some trouble with the "stay" signal because I had taught Halo to target my palm with her nose to the "touch" command. So when I held out my palm she wanted to move towards me to do that rather than remain in place. I had to make my stay signal different by putting the hand out and pulling it back immediately vs keeping the hand there until she did the nose bump, and I also used a negative marker ("ah ah") if she looked like she was about to break. Now that she knows the verbal command for both skills it's not a problem anymore.
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Old 06-08-2009, 04:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fun tricks to teach your puppy?

"Go to your mat" is a very good (and useful) trick.

Get a mat and put it down in front of Sigrid. When she goes to check it out, praise (or click) and toss a treat onto the mat to lure her in. As soon as she puts a paw on the mat, click+treat again. Then quickly toss a treat away from the mat to get her off it. After she tracked down that treat, more than likely her attention would return to the mat. This time, don't lure. Just wait for her to go to the mat on her own and as soon as she puts one paw on it, click+treat on the mat, then quicky get her off the mat again. Repeat three to five more times in quick succession to help her learn the pattern.

Next session, wait until you see Sigrid put two paws on the mat before you click+treat her. After a few more sessions of 2 paws on the mat, raise the bar again and now she has to put 3 paws on the mat to earn a treat. Around this time you can start introducing a cue (like "place" or "mat").

Eventually your goal is to get her to go to her mat when she hears the command "place"/"mat", get in a sit or a down (whichever one you prefer to teach) and stay here until you release her.
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Old 06-08-2009, 04:51 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fun tricks to teach your puppy?

I inadvertently taught Kaylee to bring the paper for me. Don't know if you even get a paper, but you could probably use the same method to teach the carrying of anything?

(Note: I'm no professional, but this is the method I used.) Since her third week here, I would go to the front of the house while saying "Kaylee, let's go get the paper!" I'd pick it up while she did her doggy business and carry it back with me. At the same time, because she loves to carry her leash or something in her mouth, I was allowing her to bring a stick back to the door whenever she happened to pick one up. I should have assigned a word to this behavior but I wasn't planning on this becoming a trick.

One day last week, I gave my usual verbal cue and started toward the front of the house. Kaylee led the way, and when she got to the newspaper, she picked it up, mouthed it a few times to get it right in her jaws, and headed back toward the house. She dropped it at the door and received a treat and great praise from her amazed owner. Now when she has picked it up and we are walking back, I tell her "Good carry!" in hopes this behavior can be transferred to other items.
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Old 06-08-2009, 06:19 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fun tricks to teach your puppy?

Quote:
Originally Posted By: Jason Lin"Go to your mat" is a very good (and useful) trick.
I agree, and VERY easy to teach! I taught it similar to how Jason describes, but with Halo I didn't even need to toss a treat on the mat at first. I just put the mat down and she was naturally curious and went to check it out. I clicked and gave her a treat for putting a paw on it, and released her off. We did that a couple of times, and then I waited until she had at least two feet on it to mark and reward and release. A couple more times, and then all four feet were required for the click/treat.

I had two bowls of treats on a shelf nearby - her normal kibble and cut up Natural Balance roll. Stepping on the mat earned her a piece of kibble as the treat. Once she was going right to the mat and putting all four feet on it, I gave her the "down" command, and rewarded her with the NB roll. I only had to do that a couple of times before she realized that standing or sitting netted her only kibble, but laying down got her a much yummier treat! And voila - we had an automatic down on a mat she'd never seen before, in a single training session of less than 10 minutes. After that I worked on sending her to the mat from further away, and also with the mat in different locations in the house to make sure she understood that she was to go the to mat, no matter where it was, rather than to that particular spot in that particular room.

I had been rewarding her for putting her head down on the floor for a few weeks, in the evening while we watched TV, (I had already taught Keefer with the "calm" command by capturing him in the act of doing it, and she picked it up by watching him), so it wasn't long before the automatic down on the mat included her being "calm" - I think this was the 3rd or 4th day of mat training:



We were not actually going to teach this skill until the following week's class, but when the trainer told everyone to bring a mat to class next week I pulled out Dena's old mat the next day and started working on it. By the next week when everyone else was tossing a treat to get their puppy to get on the mat, I was saying "go to your mat" and pointing to it from several feet away, and she would run to, it spin around to face me and slam herself into a down, LOL!
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Old 06-08-2009, 06:48 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fun tricks to teach your puppy?

That picture is priceless. It's a useful trick because it teaches the dog to work apart from you but still stay connected to you. I know mat work has definitely helped me solidify Obie's stay and recall.
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Old 06-08-2009, 11:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fun tricks to teach your puppy?

We just taught ours to jump thru hoops, paws up, high 5, spin around, focus, come front, find an object, touch. Later I want to teach low 5 and wave, speak, target, weave between my legs.
That's an interesting point about the similiar signal. I realized my stay signal looks just like high 5 and I wasn't sure what to do about it. I like the idea to use a different hand.
There's a terrific link in the archives. Loads of cool tricks here. I really enjoyed the videos.
http://www.silvia.trkman.net/training.htm
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Old 06-08-2009, 11:35 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fun tricks to teach your puppy?

and your dog is super beautiful.
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Old 06-09-2009, 12:09 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fun tricks to teach your puppy?

Sweet! Now we have some work to do. We're also working on "take it," "drop it," and "bring it" (today we accomplished "take it" and "drop it"). "Go to your place" sounds really useful.

Cool experience today - we went to my university together to drop off a form, and I thought I'd just bring her inside with me (it's probably a "service dogs only" facility but there aren't any signs - the most they could do was tell us to leave, and we were just dropping off the form anyway). Three people asked if she was a service dog. Well, she is quite polite.
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