Here are some web links to
others' sites for teaching your dog tricks (please make sure that any
method suggested uses positive reinforcement to teach a trick and
that the method suggested will not be stressful to your dog -
since these web sites are links, and not part of my site, I cannot
recommend all of the methods used, so please use your common sense
when choosing a trick training method).
Dog Trick Page!
to Love Your Dog web site
My Golden Retrievers love playing games. I
recommend that you play games with your dog. Games help your
dog use his prey drive energy in a positive fashion. Games
benefit the relationship between you and your dog. Games help
alleviate you and your dog's stress. SO GO PLAY GAMES!
Games to teach and play:
someone hold your dog, hide in a fair place (do not climb up on
things or close doors). Call your dog's name and
COME. Have your dog find you. This also teaches
your dog to love to come to you when he hears
"come". Also play this outside in a safe
area. Hide behind trees and in the bushes!
Retrieve: Throw a
retrieve object, let your dog chase it. It's a great energy
burner for your dog. Either run away to encourage him to
return, stand where he wants to return to anyhow, play with two
retrieve items and trade off, or have a rope on him and gently help
him return. When he does return, do not reach for the retrieved
item. Instead pet him and praise him. He may then drop
the item or you can have a second item and toss that for another retrieve.
Find his toys:
Hide a toy and have him hunt it up with the word "find" or
find it". To make him want it more, use a toy you can
stuff with peanut butter or spray cheese.
Toys that allow your dog to
hunt for food: These toys
allow your dog to play a game by himself. You can buy toys such
as the Buster Cube, Kong, or hollow marrow bones. There are
other brands of puzzle toys that you place food into - some are
softer than the Buster Cube (not as loud when the dog bangs them
around, but maybe not as indestructible either).
Scattered kibble hunting game:
Have your dog wait on the stoop or deck as you scatter kibble or
small bisquits in the grass in a hoola hoop-sized area. If your
dog is not good at waiting, have someone hold him. Then return
to your dog and release him to search for his food in the grass.
You can feed your dog part of his actual dinner in this manner.
Tug is a good energy burning game. It is recommended that you
play tug only with a designated tug toy, only when you get the toy
out to play, and only when young children are not around since they
are not mature enough to play this game. Play with a start word
and a release word. It is okay to sometimes let the dog win,
but in the end you will stop the game and put the toy away. If
your dog accidentally (or otherwise) touches your skin with a tooth,
say "ouch", stop the game, take the toy, and ignore him for
a silent count of 10 before playing again. Hurting you makes
the game stop for a bit.
Go away from you to an
object, crate, or bed: Teach
your dog to target (meaning to touch his nose to) an object, such as
an upsidedown recycle bucket. Put a piece of food on the bucket
and teach him to get it from close up. Gradually move farther
back until you can send him away from you to the bucket. Again
move closer to the bucker and have him turn to face you and sit for a
treat when he gets to the bucket (after he gets the treat off the
bucket, say "sit" and give him another treat for facing you
and sitting). You can also teach him to run into his crate or
to a dog bed in the same manner as a game. Having your dog race
to his crate or dog bed for the reward of a small treat or toy is a
great way to exercise him on a rainy or snowy day.
Dog Trick Training References:
Andrea Arden's Little Book of Dog Tricks
Click-A-Trick Cards by Karen Pryor
Dog Tricks -- Step-by-Step by Mary Ann Rombold
Zeigenfuse & Jan Walker (Howell)
Dog Tricks by Arthur J. Haggerty & Carol Lea Benjamin
Dog Tricks For Dummies by Sarah Hodgson
Fun and Games with Your Dog by Gerd Ludwig
How To Teach Your Old Dog New Tricks by Ted Baer
Roy Hunters Fun and Games Series - Fun and Games
with Dog and More Fun and Games with Dogs
The Trick is in the Training by Stephanie Taunton
& Cheryl Smith
Take A Bow Wow! Fun and Functional Dog Tricks -
Broitman and Lippman (video)
Bow Wow Take 2 - Broitman (video)
You Can Teach Your Dog Tricks, And Have Fun Too!
by Nancy Winton
To order these books or videos, visit 4mdogbooks.com
I enjoy teaching my Golden Retrievers
tricks. I suggest that you teach your dog tricks that
match his or her personality. Check out the above books
and web sites to learn the details about trick training. Below
is a general overview of how to teach tricks.
One way to teach a trick is to "catch"
a behavior that your dog already does.
For example, if your dog sometimes play bows start to reward him when
he play bows on his own accord. One way to do this is with the
use of a clicker. Teach your dog that the click means you will
give him a small soft treat and then later on when he play bows click
and then treat. Instead of the clicker you could use a word you
don't normally use such as "bingo" or
"yesss". Teach your dog that "bingo" or
"yesss" leads to a small soft treat and later on when he
play bows say "bingo" or "yesss" and then
treat. Note: please choose one word only.
You can also "catch"
a behavior that you help to make happen for example by
blowing in your dog's face to get him to paw his face (make sure that
you don't upset your dog by doing this) or by tickling his nose to
make him sneeze. It works this way, you blow in your dog's face
and his rubs his paw over his face. As he does this, you click
and treat. Once he is pawing his face without you having
to blow in his face to earn the click start saying a word such as
"peek-a-boo" as he brings his paw over his face, then click
followed by a treat. Pretty soon he will be doing the trick for
the word "peek-a-boo". You can also
"catch" a behavior that you help to make happen by luring
with a treat or toy (see "luring" below).
Shaping a trick behavior
is another way to teach a trick. For example, you may teach a
dog to spin to the left or right by first rewarding your dog when he
turns his head or body a little, then rewarding him when he turns it
a bit more, and so on until you have an entire spin. Teaching a
dog to spin to the left or the right can also be taught by luring
Luring means to use a small
soft treat or a toy to guide your dog through a motion or into
position. You can teach you dog to either dance on his
hind legs or sit up (also called sit pretty or beg) by luring with a
treat or toy.
An additional way to teach a trick is to mold
the trick in a hands-on fashion. Many people
teach shake a paw in this manner. They lift up the dog's paw as
they say "paw" or "shake" and eventually the dog
lifts his own paw. This is not the best way to teach many
tricks because it is hard for the dog to figure out how to do the
motion on his own when you stop physically helping him.
Please do not teach tricks using force or
punishment. Tricks are met to be relationship builders for you
and your dog. They should not stress your dog.
Tricks must be FUN!