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101 Dog Tricks

101 Dog Tricks

101 Dog Tricks

Step-by-Step Activities

to Engage, Challenge, and

Bond with Your Dog

Kyra Sundance and Chalcy

Photography by Nick Saglimbeni

He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life,

his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his

heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.

—Anonymous

CONTENTS

Foreword

Authors’ Note

Introduction

1 GROUNDWORK

sit

down

stay

come

2 TRADITIONAL FAVORITES

shake hands—left and right

fetch/take it

drop it/give

balance and catch

sit pretty/beg

speak

roll over

play dead

3 TIME FOR CHORES

fetch my slippers

get your leash

walk the dog

newspaper delivery

say your prayers

kennel up

carry my purse

tidy up your toys

roll yourself in a blanket

4 FUNNY DOG

honk a bike horn

peekaboo!

doggy push-ups

act ashamed

limp

pickpocket pooch

play the piano

world’s dumbest dog

5 MODERN CONVENIENCES

get the phone when it rings

turn off the light

open/close a door

ring a bell to come inside

pull on a rope

bring me a beer from the fridge

mail carrier

find the car keys/remote

push a shopping cart

bring me a tissue

6 LET’S PLAY A GAME!

soccer

football

basketball

hockey goalie

hide-and-seek

go hide

which hand holds the treat?

easter egg hunt

ring toss

shell game

dog on point

3-2-1 let’s go!

7 JUMPING AND CATCHING

jump over a bar

jump over my knee

jump over my back

jump into my arms

summersault/handstand vault

baton jumping

jump rope

beginning disc dog

disc vault off my leg

8 JUMPING THROUGH HOOPS

hoop jump

jump through my arms

double hoop sequence

hoop jump over my back

disobedient dog—under the hoop

rolling hoop dive

through a hoop lying on the ground

paper-covered hoop

9 OBSTACLE COURSE

tunnel

crawl

touch a target

under/over

teeter-totter

weave poles

climb a ladder

roll a barrel

10 THAT DOG CAN DANCE!

heel forward and backward

back up

spin circles

take a bow

place (circle to my left side)

side (swing to my left side)

leg weave

figure 8’s

moonwalk

jump for joy

chorus line kicks

11 THE THINKING MAN’S DOG

my dog can count

discern objects names

directed retrieve

directed jumping

pick a card from a deck

food refusal

find the object with my scent

contraband search

track a person’s scent trail

12 LOVE ME, LOVE MY DOG

kisses

paws on my arm

head down

cover your eyes

wave good-bye

Appendix A: Tricks by Skill Level

Appendix B: Tricks by Sport

About the Authors

About the Photographer

Acknowledgments

What’s Next?

FOREWORD

By Bill Langworthy

I first met Kyra and Chalcy while I was producing an animal talent show for

television. One of the bookers announced she had found a dog who could read!

In all my years of working with pet tricks, first as David Letterman’s Stupid Pet

Tricks Coordinator then as a producer on Animal Planet’s Pet Star, I’d heard of

some clever animals, but I had a feeling this one was special. Sure enough, Kyra

and Chalcy promptly won the show, then came back and won in the

championships!

Two things about Kyra and Chalcy stand out in my memory: first, their big

smiles; and second, they did everything together. The camera can make people

focus on themselves, forgetting they’re only half of a team, but from the first

rehearsal to the final championship round, Kyra and Chalcy did everything

together. When Kyra phoned me and said, “Chalcy and I are writing a book,” I

wasn’t surprised—my only question was, “Who typed?”

101 Dog Tricks is all about doing things as a team. Kyra and Chalcy use only

positive training and motivational techniques to reinforce trick training as a fun

way to play rather than a chore. The tricks are all designed to develop a

particular aspect of your dog’s abilities, from the mental to the physical, while

also developing trust and friendship between you and your companion.

Kyra and Chalcy know every trick in the book; that is, they have practiced and

performed all 101 routines, so 101 Dog Tricks is filled with firsthand advice.

Kyra and Chalcy are equally adept in both mental and physical tricks, so you’ll

find instruction on everything from teaching your dog to count to teaching your

dog to play basketball. The instructions are clearly illustrated and easy to follow,

but no detail has been spared. This is the one and only book every trick trainer

needs, whether you plan to entertain yourself, your friends, or huge crowds and

national television audiences like Kyra and Chalcy.

Kyra Sundance and Chalcy are uniquely qualified to write the definitive trick

training book. It’s every trick trainer’s privilege that Kyra and Chalcy took time

from their performing schedule to share their secrets. So enjoy this book, then

get outside and play. As Kyra and Chalcy always say: “Do More With Your

Dog!®”

Bill Langworthy spent many years as a pet trick coordinator for Late Show with

David Letterman and a writer and coproducer of Animal Planet’s “Pet Star”

talent competition. He’s auditioned thousands of animal acts across the country.

AUTHORS’ NOTE

“See?” I said, “Chalcy keeps missing the weave pole entrance.”

“You should have taught her initially using the two-pole method” advised the

nationally ranked agility coach. “Dogs who start with the two-pole method never

miss an entrance.”

“Well, we didn’t.” I admitted, “We trained a different method. So this is

where we’re at now. How do we fix it?” I asked. She shook her head.

“Oh, it’s too late now,” said the coach as she walked off.

This coach was of the opinion that since I’d screwed up my dog by using the

wrong training method, I should cut my losses and make a fresh start with a new

agility dog. In other words, don’t waste your time fixing something when you

can buy a newer, shinier one for cheaper!

Needless to say, I didn’t give up on Chalcy. I can’t begin to list all the training

mistakes I’ve made with her over the years. I’ve taught her wrong things, using

wrong methods, while giving wrong feedback. Sure, I’d messed up in our

training, but we fixed it! We went back and retaught skills and relearned rules.

It’s a little harder this way, granted, but certainly possible. I don’t expect my dog

to be a machine, and I’m not one either. We try, we learn, we fail, we succeed.

We work together and afford each other endless second chances. We still miss

the occasional weave pole entrance, but we never miss the opportunity to give it

one more go!

Whether your dog is young or old, athletic or lazy, quick-witted or dumb as a

rock, he’s your dog and his success need only be measured in your eyes.

I hope this book inspires you to not only teach tricks, but to “Do More With

Your Dog!®”

—Kyra Sundance and Chalcy

INTRODUCTION

Rover knows when you are preparing for a trip. Fido hears the word “bath” or

“vet” and takes cover under the bed. Spot senses when you’ve had a bad day and

lays his head in your lap, and Buster nudges your arm as you sit on the couch

trying to find the motivation to go for a walk. These examples of human/dog

communication illustrate the familial relationship dogs play in our lives. And

this relationship, as with any positive relationship in our lives, requires nurturing

to keep it alive and flourishing.

Trick training is a way to build upon this relationship, establishing

communication methods, trust, and mutual respect. It offers a way to bond with

your dog as you strive toward common goals and delight in your successes. It

deepens paths of communication, built through repetition and effort.

If you’ve ever tried to communicate a message to a person who speaks a foreign

language, you’ve probably tried a combination of pantomime, pictographs,

sound mimicry, and other tactics quite hilarious to onlookers. But when that

message finally gets communicated… “Ahhh! The goat cheese pizza!”… there is

a feeling of mutual success and bonding. That same joy and bond can be

achieved by you and your dog as you work together on dog tricks!

Trick training does more than teach cute party tricks to entertain your friends.

Trick training offers an opportunity to better understand how your dog thinks

and have him better understand your cues. The trust and cooperative spirit

developed through this process will last a lifetime.

HOW TO USE THIS BOOK

Start anywhere! Each trick displays a difficulty rating and prerequisite skills.

You can work on several new tricks within the same training session, and you

may wish to keep a list of all your dog’s tricks to train each session.

Reinforcement is a constant process and just because your dog has mastered a

trick doesn’t mean you should stop practicing!

CAN ANY DOG LEARN TRICKS?

Sure! You’ll find that the more tricks your dog knows, the quicker he’ll pick up

new ones. In a sense, you’ve taught him how to learn.

CUE, ACTION, REWARD

Teaching a trick comprises three parts, the first being a verbal or physical cue to

your dog, signaling the desired behavior. The second part is the action performed

by your dog, and the third is the reward. Do not attempt to bribe your dog by

offering the reward before he has done the action, and do not expect your dog to

perform an action before you have given the cue.

YOUR JOB AS A TRAINER

Your job as a trainer is to guide your dog in a consistent and motivating

environment.

Guidance

Guide your dog through the process of executing a new behavior, rewarding

baby steps along the way. The goal of each training session is to get better results

than the last time.

Consistency

Know the behavior you are looking for, and don’t be wishy-washy. Use the same

voice and intonation each time you give a verbal cue and enunciate clearly.

Motivation

Think about an athletic coach. Is his job merely to plan the training schedule and

tape it to the locker room door? No! He inspires, motivates, and encourages! He

is upbeat when you are discouraged and slaps your shoulder with a “good job!”

when you need it. You serve the same purpose for your dog. Every bit of

enthusiasm you inject into your dog training will speed up his learning. And

when your dog does something right use your high-pitched “happy voice” (yes,

men, you have one too) to exude your delight!

TIMING

Imagine you are searching for something and are being guided by feedback of

“hot” or “cold.” But now imagine this feedback is being delayed before you hear

it. You may actually be receiving “cold” feedback as you approach the object or

vise versa. Not only is the object not being found, but you are getting frustrated

at the inconsistency of the feedback. Imagine how much easier this task would

be if the feedback were given with correct timing.

In trick training, it is imperative that you mark (with a word, treat, or clicker) the

exact moment that your dog performed correctly. Don’t reward 10 seconds later,

as you may be rewarding a completely different behavior.

A common timing mistake is in rewarding too late. For example, you tell your

dog to sit, and he does. You fish for a treat in your pocket, and he stands up to

receive it. What did you just reward? You rewarded him for standing up! The

treat should have been given while the dog was in the proper position—sitting.

Always reward your dog while he is in the desired position.

MOTIVATORS/REWARDS

“Shouldn’t my dog want to learn tricks merely to please me?” Dogs do, in

general, want to please their owners—but learning is hard! Would you expect

your child to do his homework every night merely to please you? Maybe, but a

reward sure makes work more enticing … whether it be a half hour of TV, or a

nice liver treat!

A motivator, or reward, can come in different forms—a food morsel, favorite

toy, clicker signal, or praise. In this book, the steps rely mostly on food treats.

Food is enjoyed by all dogs, is quick to dispense and be swallowed, and is a

clear way to signal a correct response. Keep your dog extra motivated when

learning a new trick by using “people food” treats such as hot dogs, cheese,

pizza crusts, noodles, meatballs, or whatever gets his mouth watering! During

the beginning stages of learning, a toy can be a distraction, as it takes a while for

you to take it back and get your dog to regain focus. Praise is great, but can be

arbitrary and unclear … “Good! No, wait, you moved, sort of….” Use a small

but tasty food treat to reward the desired behavior.

New dog trainers are always stingy with rewards. They attempt to reward with

praise or regular dog kibble. Trick training, however, is dependent upon the

dog’s motivation and you want to make this activity the most fun thing he does

all day! Go ahead, give ’em the good stuff!

For those experienced in the technique of clicker training, a clicker signal may

be used to mark the correct behavior, followed by the treat.

Do I have to carry around treats for the rest of my life?

Before worrying about emptying our pockets of treats, we need to make the

behavior an automatic response. No matter how it is achieved, if you tell your

dog to “sit” 500 times, and he sits, it becomes an automatic response. For the

first 500 times, he was sitting because you were tempting him with a treat. Later,

however, his muscle memory just hears the word “sit” and does it! It is at this

point that you can start weaning your dog off his expectation of a reward. Rather

than weaning completely off treats, however, use them as sporadic rewards.

Upping the Ante

The purpose of a treat is to reward a good effort. In kindergarten, a child gets a

gold star for printing her name. In first grade, she only gets a gold star if she

prints it neatly, and in second grade cursive is required for that same reward.

What may have earned your dog a treat in the past, may no longer be enough to

earn that treat today. We call this “upping the ante.”

When first learning to shake a paw, reward your dog for barely lifting his paw, or

for batting your hand. Once he has the hang of this, withhold the treat until he

lifts his paw higher, or holds it longer. Every time your dog is achieving a step

with about 75 percent success, up the ante and demand a higher skill to earn the

treat.

Jackpot

We all know the lure of a jackpot. Having achieved it once, we will sit at the slot

machine all night in hopes of being rewarded with that elusive prize. The jackpot

theory, when applied to dog training, can be a more effective motivator than

consistent rewards. Here’s how to use it: ask your dog to perform some

behaviors he is working on. If he does them fairly well, give him no reward or a

small reward. When he performs a behavior very well or better than he has in the

past, jackpot! Give him a whole handful of treats! Wow, will that make an

impression on him! He will continue trying extra hard in hopes of hitting that

jackpot again.

Along the same lines, using several different types of treats during a training

session can keep your dog motivated—“maybe I’ll get the hot dog this time!”

HELP YOUR DOG BE SUCCESSFUL

The key to keeping your dog motivated is to keep him challenged, achieving

regular successes. Try not to let your dog be wrong more than two or three times

in a row, or he could become discouraged and not wish to perform. Instead, go

back to an easier step for a while.

PUT IN THE TIME

When teaching a new trick, it often appears that your dog is not getting the

concept and has no idea what the desired behavior is. He’ll be squirming and

pawing and obsessing over the treat in your hand. You might feel as if he will

never understand. Don’t stress it. Go through the same motions day after day,

and one day you’ll see a lightbulb go off in his head. That’s the moment that

truly bonds you with your dog.

WHY PEOPLE FAIL

Picture this failure scenario: you tell your dog to spin, while luring him in a

circle with your treat, just as this book instructs. Your dog squirms and nips at

your hand. You raise your voice and say in a more firm tone, “spin!” Your dog

scratches himself, ignoring you. You grab his collar, yelling this time “spin!”

while you drag him in a circle. He cowers down, while you grumble about your

dumb dog.

The single most common reason people fail teaching dog tricks is their lack of

patience. Even trainers with bad timing, poor coordination, and lack of common

sense can manage to teach tricks better than an impatient trainer.

Picture this success scenario: you tell your dog to spin, while luring him in a

circle with your treat, just as this book instructs. Your dog squirms and nips at

your hand. You try again, luring your dog in a circle, as before. Your dog

scratches himself, ignoring you. You try again, and your dog performs a lopsided

sort of spin. “Yeah! That was great!” You try again, and again, and again, and a

few hundred more times … and one day … you have it! How lucky are you to

have the world’s smartest dog?

Progress can be slow and frustrating—keeping an even temper and consistent

training method requires patience.

END ON A HIGH NOTE!

Practicing new tricks is mentally tiring for your dog. Keep it fun and end the

session while your dog is still wanting more. End on a successful note, even if

you have to go back to an easier behavior to achieve this.

LURING VERSUS MANIPULATING

There are two obvious ways to get a dog into a desired position: you can lure

him by guiding him with a treat or toy, or you can assert physical pressure to

manipulate him into position. It is tempting to manipulate your dog’s body

physically because it is faster and more precise, however it can actually delay the

learning process. By manipulating your dog, you are encouraging him to

relinquish initiative and be led. He is not required to engage his brain and is not

learning the motor skills required to position his body by himself. When

possible, it is always preferable to lure your dog to position his body himself.

USE “WHOOPS” INSTEAD OF “NO”

Trick training is the yin to obedience training’s yang. Trick training allows the

dog to be silly and encourages independent action. You want to keep the

enthusiasm high during training sessions or your dog could shut down for fear of

being wrong. Save the word “no” for when your dog is being naughty. If your

dog is giving you an incorrect behavior, it is probably not intentional. Instead of

“no,” try a more lighthearted “whoops!”

FIRST PRAISE, THEN TOUCH, AND TREAT LAST

As discussed earlier, correct timing of your reward is essential. When teaching

new tricks, food is often used as a lure and is released instantly to mark a correct

behavior. For more general obedience training, or when rewarding your dog at

the end of a session, reward in this order: praise, pat on the head, and then a food

reward. Not only will this serve to keep your dog in a calm state of mind, but an

association will develop whereby verbal praise will be pleasantly associated with

your touch, and your touch will be associated with the food reward.

RELEASE WORD,

“OK!”

Your dog needs to understand at which times he is under your control and at

which times he has been released. When instructed to “down” or “stay” for

example, your dog is expected to remain in that position until you release him

with your release word. “OK” is the most commonly used release word. When a

training session has ended, “OK” releases your dog to run and play. “OK” also

releases your dog to jump out of the parked car, to pounce on a toy, and to play

with another dog.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF HAND SIGNALS?

Dogs can perform a trick based upon a verbal cue or hand signal. Hand signals

are extremely useful for dogs performing in movies on quiet sets, and they

generally give you more options. When a child asks your dog a question, your

subtle “bark” hand signal can cue your dog to answer! Most dogs actually

respond to hand signals more readily than verbal cues. Try it with your dog: use

a verbal cue from one trick while signaling for another trick. Most often, the dog

will perform the trick indicated by your hands!

CAN I MAKE UP MY OWN WORDS AND SIGNALS FOR

TRICKS?

Words and signals for some tricks are more standardized than others. Basic

obedience commands and many agility commands are widely used and have

evolved with good reason. It can be helpful to use standardized verbal cues and

hand signals, especially if your dog has aspirations of a movie career. Hand

signals may look arbitrary but have often evolved from the methods used in a

dog’s initial training. The raising of the hand as a signal to “sit” evolves from

your initial upward baiting when teaching the command. A downward hand

motion is used to signal “down” and parallels your initial baiting of your dog

near the floor. The toe-touch foot signal for “take a bow” draws your dog’s

attention toward the floor, coaxing his head downward. And the flick of your

wrist to the right is a diminished version of the large circle you drew when

teaching your dog to “spin.”

Trick training, of course, is not a life-or-death pursuit and if you want to make

up your own words and signals, nobody can stop you! A word of caution though:

the more tricks you teach, the quicker you will run out of words. “Left” and

“right” are tempting to use in the beginning, but a time may come when wish

you had saved those words for a different trick.

CAN I MAKE UP MY OWN TRICKS?

Some of the best tricks happen by accident! If your dog acts out a long and

laborious death in the “play dead” trick, capitalize on his inventiveness and teach

the trick his way. In obedience class, your job is to instruct your dog on the

correct behaviors, and his job is to do exactly what you wish. In trick training

you are a team—allow the training process to be a collaborative one.

CHAINING COMMANDS

This is the really fun part! Once your dog has learned individual behaviors, you

can chain them together and give a name to this new set of actions. “Nightnight,” for example, chains the behaviors of come, down, take it, roll over, and

head down to produce an impressive trick of your dog rolling himself up in a

blanket! There are many ways to use command chains, and even in practice they

are a great brain exercise for your dog. Even a simple command of “target, sit”

engages your dog’s brain to execute first one action and then another.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO TRAIN A DOG?

How many years does it take for a child to become educated? For an athlete to

become skilled? How many piano lessons until you’re a musician? Dog training

should be thought of as a lifelong process. Although at some point your dog will

be able to produce a behavior on cue, he will still need repetition and refinement

to maintain and improve his skills. Challenge your dog with new skills for the

rest of his life, and you’ll find your bond will increase tenfold.

REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS

As you read the table of contents in this book, you may be having wonderful

fantasies of lounging on the couch while your dog obediently gets you a beer

from the fridge. Or perhaps you envision commanding your dog to help with the

housework by gathering up all his toys into his toy box. Let me burst your

bubble right now, your dog is never going do such complicated tricks completely

independent of you, and certainly not without a reward. Tricks like these will

require you to be within eye contact of your dog and will probably require verbal

coaching and multiple commands. Remember, while these tricks mimic

everyday simple human chores, they are complicated challenges for your dog.

LET’S START TRAINING!

You’re on your way to becoming the next great trick dog team. Grab your treat

bag, Rover’s favorite toy, your copy of 101 Dog Tricks, and let’s get started!

TOP 10 TRICK TRAINING TIPS:

1. Reward with tasty treats

2. Reward while your dog is in the correct position

3. Reward immediately (no fishing in pockets)

4. Train before dinner

5. Training comes before playtime

6. End the session with your dog wanting more

7. Be consistent

8. Motivate—use your happy voice

9. Be patient—it won’t happen overnight

10. Be a fun person to be around

Chapter 1 Groundwork

“Obedience” is a word often misinterpreted in dog training to suggest the

imposition of a dominating control over our dog. But let’s get past the word

and think of basic obedience skills as the groundwork upon which a

successful living arrangement between dog and owner is achieved. The sit,

down, come, and stay behaviors are marks of a civilized and well-behaved

dog. These behaviors will also be required for almost every trick in this

book, and time spent teaching them now will reduce frustration down the

road.

“Since my dog already knows his groundwork commands, why should we

continue to practice them?”

Consider this: the concert pianist warms up by playing scales, the olympic

gymnast rolls summersaults, the teacher reviews lesson plans, and the NBA

athlete works on his free throws.

Obedience training serves a greater purpose than merely teaching your dog

to perform behaviors upon command. It is a mental exercise and a

comfortable routine that allows you to reconnect with your dog. Warming up

with these familiar skills gives your dog the confidence to achieve new ones.

e

a

s

y

S

i

t

TEACH IT:

Your dog sits squarely on his hindquarters and remains there until released.

1 Stand or kneel in front of your dog, holding a treat in your hand a little higher

than your dog’s head.

2 Slowly move the treat straight back over your dog’s head. This should cause

his nose to point up and his rear to drop. If his rear does not drop, keep

moving the treat straight backward toward his tail. The instant his rear touches

the floor, release the treat and mark the behavior by saying “good sit!”

3 If your dog is not responding to the food lure, use your index finger and thumb

to put pressure on either side of his haunches, just forward of his hip bones.

Pull up on his leash at the same time to rock him back into a sit. Praise and

reward him while he is sitting.

4 Once your dog is consistently sitting, wait a few seconds before rewarding.

Remember to only reward while your dog is in the correct position—sitting.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Puppies as young as six weeks can start learning this

command, and it is often the first trick a dog learns. Within a week, you should

see some progress!

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG JUMPS AT MY HAND WITH THE TREAT

Hold the treat lower, so that he can reach it while standing.

MY DOG SITS, BUT KEEPS GETTING UP

In a gentle but firm manner, keep placing your dog back in a sit. Once

he has learned the behavior, he should not break his sit until released.

TIP! Command your dog to sit before each meal. This reinforces your

position as pack leader and is just good manners!

1 Hold a treat over your dog’s head.

2 Move it straight back.

3 Press his haunches while pulling up on the leash.

easy

Down

TEACH IT:

Your dog drops to rest on either his chest and belly or askew on his hip. This

vital command could help avert dangerous situations such as unsafe road

crossings.

1 With your dog sitting facing you, hold a treat to his nose and lower it slowly to

the floor.

2 If you’re lucky, your dog will follow the treat with his nose and lie down, at

which time you can release the treat and praise him. Remember to only release

the treat while your dog is in the correct position—lying down. If your dog

slouches instead of lying down, slide the treat slowly toward him on the floor

between his front paws or away from him. It may take a little time but your

dog should eventually lie down.

3 If your dog is not responding to the food lure, put slight pressure on his

shoulder blade, pushing down and to the side. Praise your dog when he drops

to the floor. It is always preferable to coax the dog to position himself without

your physical manipulation.

4 Once your dog is consistently lying down, gradually delay the release of the

treat. With your dog lying down, say “wait, wait” and then “good” and release

the treat. Varying the time before treating will keep your dog focused. The dog

should not move from the down position until you have given your release

word, “OK!”

WHAT TO EXPECT: Herding breeds and sedentary or massive dogs often

drop easier into a down position than long-legged, deep-chested, and hyper

dogs. This skill can be learned by dogs and puppies of any age.

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG IS RESISTANT TO THIS BEHAVIOR

Your dog lying down before you is interpreted as subservience to you.

Evaluate your status as pack leader.

MY DOG DOESN’T STAY DOWN

If he stands up, don’t reward him, and put him back down. Standing on

his leash will cause him to self-correct if he tries to stand up.

MY DOG DOWNS IN ONE ROOM, BUT NOT ANOTHER

Pay attention to the ground surface. Short-coated dogs will often resist

downing on hard floor. Try a carpet or towel.

BUILD ON IT! Once you’ve mastered down, it will be an easy step to learn

crawl (page 144)!

TIP! When a dog jumps on you or the sofa, use the command “off” instead

of “down.”

STEPS:

1 Hold a treat to your dog’s nose.

2 Lower the treat to the floor.

Slide the treat toward or away from him.

Release the treat once your dog lies down.

3 Press downward and to the side.

easy

Stay

TEACH IT:

When in a stay, your dog holds his current position until released.

1 Start with your dog sitting or lying down, as he is less likely to move from

these positions. Use a leash to guarantee control. Stand directly in front of him

and in a serious tone, say “stay,” holding your palm flat, almost touching his

nose.

2 Move a short distance away, keeping eye contact with your dog, and return to

him. Praise him with “good stay” and give him a treat. Be sure to give the

praise and treat while your dog remains in the seated and staying position.

3 If your dog moves from his stay before you have released him, gently but

firmly put him back in the spot where he was originally told to stay.

4 Gradually increase the time you ask your dog to stay, as well as the distance

between yourselves. You want your dog to be successful so if he is breaking

his stays, go back to a time and distance he is able to achieve.

WHAT TO EXPECT: The tone of your voice and your body language will be a

big part of getting your message across. Be firm and consistent, and it won’t take

may sessions before your dog begins to understand.

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG KEEPS GETTING UP

Use very little verbal communication when teaching this skill. Talking

evokes action, and you want inaction. Solid body language will convey

your seriousness.

MY DOG SEEMS TO BREAK HIS STAY A SECOND BEFORE I

RELEASE HIM

Do not show him the treat until you give it to him, as it may pull him

forward. Vary your pattern; sometimes return to him and leave him

again without rewarding.

TIP! “Stay” means: don’t move a muscle until I release you. “Wait” is less

formal, meaning: stay approximately there for a short time. “Wait until I

gather my things before jumping out of the car.”

1 Command your dog to “stay.”

2 Move a short distance away.

3 Return him to the original spot if he breaks.

easy

Come

TEACH IT:

Upon your command, your dog comes immediately to you. In competition, this

command ends with your dog sitting in front of you. In order for this command

to be consistently obeyed, your status as pack leader needs to be definite.

Always reward your dog for obeying your “come” command, whether it be with

praise or a treat. Not obeying this command, however, should be viewed as a

major infraction and should end with you physically bringing your dog to the

spot from where you originally called him.

1 With your dog on a 6’ (1.8 m) lead, command him to “come” and reel him

quickly in to you, where he will be praised. Your command should sound

happy, but firm. Give the command only once.

2 As your dog improves, graduate to a longer lead.

3 When you are ready to practice off-lead, do it in a fenced area. Let your dog

drag a leash. If he does not obey your first command, go to him and firmly

lead him back to the spot where you gave the command. Do not give a reward

if the dog does not perform the command on his own, the first time you call.

Put the long lead back on him and require him to do five successful “comes”

before attempting off-lead again.

WHAT TO EXPECT: A dog can learn the meaning of the word very quickly,

but the practice and enforcement of this command should continue for life.

TROUBLESHOOTING

ONCE OFF LEAD MY DOG RUNS OFF!

Do not chase your dog, as that will only encourage him. Stand your

ground and demand that he come. Dogs respond to a leader.

DO I HAVE TO ENFORCE THIS COMMAND EVERY TIME I USE

IT?

Yes. If you are not in a position to enforce it, don’t give the command.

Instead just call your dog’s name or use “c’mon boy!”

TIP! Call your dog to come for good things. Never call “come” for a bath or

trip to the vet—go and get your dog instead.

1 Reel your dog in to you.

2 Move to a longer lead.

3 Train off-lead in a fenced area.

Chapter 2 Traditional Favorites

Fetch, shake, speak, and play dead… these useful, useless, and always

charming tricks have been around since cavemen first shared their bones

with wolves. Regardless of a lack of titles after his name, a dog who falls to

the ground on the command of “bang” or offers a polite paw to his guests

will be top dog among your friends! These tricks are expected of dogs and it

is your task, possibly even your duty, to teach them to your clever canine.

The tricks in this chapter have withstood the test of time for a reason: they

are simple to teach and easy to learn. They capitalize on dogs’ natural

behaviors by associating familiar actions with verbal cues. Is your dog

vocal? It should be simple for you to elicit a bark, associate it with a cue, and

reward it. Retrievers will no doubt fetch before they are out of puppyhood,

and hyper dogs will be excited to proffer a paw when encouraged to “shake.”

Let’s get started teaching these traditional favorites!

easy

Shake Hands—Left and Right

TEACH IT:

When shaking hands, your polite pooch raises his paw to chest height, allowing

guests to shake his paw. This skill is taught for both paws.

1 With your dog sitting before you, hide a treat in your right hand, low to the

ground. Encourage your dog to paw at it by saying “get it” and “shake.”

Reward your dog with the treat the moment his left paw comes off the ground.

2 Gradually raise the height of your hand, upping the ante, until he is lifting his

paw to chest height.

3 Transition to using the hand signal. Stand up and hold the treat in your left

hand, behind your back, and extend your right hand while cuing “shake.”

When your dog paws your extended hand, support his paw in the air while

you reward him with the treat from behind your back.

4 Repeat these steps on the opposite side to teach “paw.”

WHAT TO EXPECT: Any dog can learn this trick, and it’s always an

endearing gesture. Practice a couple of times per day, and always leave off on a

high note. Chain these behaviors together to alternate “shake” and “paw” in

quick succession.

TROUBLESHOOTING

INSTEAD OF PAWING AT MY HAND, MY DOG NOSES IT

Bop his nose a little to discourage this. He may try barking, nuzzling, or

doing nothing. Be patient, and keep encouraging him. If he is not lifting

his paw on his own, tap or barely lift it for him and then reward.

BUILD ON IT! Once you’ve mastered shake hands and paw, use a similar

action to learn chorus line kicks (page 176) and wave goodbye (page 202).

TIP! Use the word “good” to mark the exact instant your dog performed the

desired behavior.

STEPS:

1 Hide a treat in your right hand, low to the ground.

2 As your dog improves, raise your hand.

3 Stand up and cue your dog.

4 Hold his paw while you reward.

easy

Fetch/Take It

VERBAL CUE

Fetch (retrieval)

Take it

(object within reach)

TEACH IT:

In fetch, your dog is directed to retrieve a specified object. Take it is when he

takes an object within reach into his mouth.

FETCH:

1 Use a box cutter to make a 1” (2.5 cm) slit in a tennis ball. Show your dog as

you drop a treat inside the ball.

2 Toss the ball playfully and encourage the dog to bring it back to you by patting

your legs, acting excited, or running from him.

3 Take the ball from your dog and squeeze it to release the treat for him. As he is

unable to get the treat himself, he will learn to bring it to you for his reward.

TAKE IT:

1 Select a toy that your dog enjoys and playfully hand it to him while giving the

verbal cue.

2 Have him hold it only a few seconds before removing it from his mouth and

trading him a treat for it. As your dog improves, extend the time he holds the

object before treating. Only treat if you remove the toy from your dog’s

mouth, not if he drops it on his own.

3 Be creative! Have your dog hold a flag as he circles the field or have him carry

a charming “feed me” sign. A dog holding a pipe is always good for a laugh,

and a posh pooch carrying a basket of cocktail napkins is sure to impress!

WHAT TO EXPECT: Many dogs are natural retrievers and will understand this

trick within a few days.

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG HAS NO INTEREST IN CHASING THE BALL

Motivate your dog by acting excited and chasing the ball yourself. Bat

it around or bounce it off walls. Make it a competition and race him for

it.

MY DOG GETS THE BALL AND RUNS OFF WITH IT

Never chase your dog when he is playing keep-away. Lure him back

with a treat, or run away from him to encourage him to chase you. Have

a second ball to get his attention.

BUILD ON IT! Once you’ve mastered fetch, build on it with: fetch my

slippers (page 36), newspaper delivery (page 40), and directed retrieve

(page 184). Build on take it with: carry my purse (page 44).

TIP! Excessive mouthing of tennis balls can lead to tooth wear. If your dog

is a chewer, give him a hard rubber toy such as a Kong.

STEPS:

FETCH:

1 Make a slit in a tennis ball and drop a treat inside.

2 Toss the ball playfully.

3 Squeeze the ball to release the treat.

TAKE IT:

1 Hand your dog a favorite toy.

2 Trade him a treat for the toy.

3 Have your dog take and hold other objects!

easy

Drop It/Give

VERBAL CUE

Drop it

(release to ground)

Give

(release to hand)

TEACH IT:

On the drop it cue, your dog releases the object from his mouth, dropping it

onto the ground. Give is released to your hand.

DROP IT:

1 Is your dog food or toy motivated? Point to the ground and command your dog

to “drop it.” Do not move from your location, and keep repeating the

command. It may take several minutes, but when your dog finally drops the

toy, reward him with food or by throwing his toy.

GIVE:

1 While your dog has a toy in his mouth, tell him to “give” and offer him a treat

in exchange for the toy. He will have to release the toy to eat the treat, at

which time you can praise him.

2 Give your dog his toy back, so he understands that relinquishing it to you does

not mean that it will be taken away.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Dogs vary on their willingness to relinquish a toy. Build

a habit of only throwing the toy if your dog relinquishes it willingly.

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG WILL NOT RELEASE THE TOY

Try using a less desirable toy and rewarding him with a highly desired

toy when he obeys.

SHOULD I FORCE AN OBJECT AWAY FROM HIM?

No, as this could result in a dog bite, intentional or not. A better way to

get a dog to release his grip is to pull upward on the skin on the side of

his rib cage.

BUILD ON IT! Once you’ve mastered drop it, build on it with tidy up

your toys (page 46), and basketball (page 90).

TIP! To open a dog’s mouth for exam, put your hand over the top of his

muzzle, roll his lips over his teeth, and separate the jaws.

DROP IT: 1 Point to the ground and command “drop it.”

GIVE: 1 Trade a treat for your dog’s toy.

intermediate

Balance and Catch

VERBAL CUE

Wait, Catch

TEACH IT:

Your dog balances a treat or toy placed on his nose and, at your signal, tosses it

and makes the catch.

1 Position your dog in a sit (page 15) facing you. Gently hold your dog’s muzzle

parallel to the floor and place a treat upon the bridge of his nose. In a low

voice, coach him to “waaaait.”

2 Hold this position for just a few seconds before releasing his muzzle and

telling him to “catch!” Exuberant dogs will probably send the treat flying, and

will have to chase it down. You’ll want to slow these dogs down by using a

calm, quiet “catch.” Practice will hone their abilities until they can do it every

time.

3 If your dog is allowing the treat to fall to the floor, pretend to race him to pick

it up. He will learn that he needs to catch the treat or risk losing it to you on

the floor.

4 As your dog improves, require him to balance the treat on his nose without the

help of your hand on his muzzle. Placing the treat near the end of your dog’s

nose is usually easiest to catch, but every dog is different.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Some dogs will have naturally better coordination, but

all dogs will benefit from the motor functions practiced in this skill.

TROUBLESHOOTING

HIS NOSE IS TOO SHORT!

Although it is possible to teach this trick to pug-nosed breeds, it is more

difficult. A bendable treat, such as a wet noodle, is easier to balance.

THE TREAT FLIES THROUGH THE AIR WHEN MY DOG TRIES

TO CATCH IT

Here’s another case where you can race him for the treat to increase his

motivation to catch it quickly.

BUILD ON IT! Increase the difficulty of this trick by having your dog beg

(page 28) while balancing the treat.

1 Hold his muzzle parallel and place a treat upon it.

4 Remove your hand while he balances the treat.

Practice will perfect his catch!

intermediate

Sit Pretty/Beg

TEACH IT:

When “please” doesn’t work … it may be time to beg! From a sitting position,

your dog raises his forequarters while keeping his rear on the floor. Your dog

should sit on both hindquarters, with a straight spine, paws tucked into his chest.

The alignment of his hindquarters, thorax, forequarters, and head is key to his

balance.

SMALL DOGS:

1 Position your dog in a sit (page 15), facing you. Use a treat to lure his head up

and back, while cueing him to “beg.” Allow him to nibble the treat from your

fist, to entice him to stay in this position. If his hindquarters lift off the floor,

lower your treat a little, tell him to sit, and tap his bottom down.

2 As your dog’s balance improves, move away and use the verbal cue and hand

signal. After several seconds, toss the treat to your dog. Remember to reward

your dog while he is in the correct position, not after he has lowered his front

paws.

BIG DOGS:

1 Position your dog in a sit. Stand directly behind him, with your heels together

and toes pointed apart.

2 Use a treat to guide his head back and straight up, until he is upright. Steady

his chest with your other hand. He will need to find his balance; as he

improves, use a lighter touch on his back and chest.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Some dogs may learn this behavior easily, while others

have a much harder time establishing their balance. This trick builds thigh and

lower back strength, which will benefit any dog. Your dog will sit up and beg for

your praise!

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG JUMPS AT THE TREAT

Move slower when positioning your hand. Do not reward your dog if he

jumps.

MY DOG STANDS UP ON HIS HIND LEGS

Keep your hand lower, and gently say “sit.” Hold the treat at face level.

MY DOG CAN’T SEEM TO BALANCE

This trick is easier for small dogs and round dogs. Large, long, and

deep-chested dogs can learn to beg, but they need more time to find

their balance.

BUILD ON IT! Now that your dog is comfortable balancing, try teaching

him to stand or walk on his hind legs!

TIP! Set small dogs on a table for easy access while training.

“My favorite things to roll in: wet grass, horse manure, kitty’s hairballs.”

STEPS:

SMALL DOGS:

1 From a sit, lure his head up.

Allow him to nibble the treat.

2 As balance improves, move away.

BIG DOGS:

1 Steady his chest while you lure him up.

2 Position your heels behind your dog, with your toes pointed apart.

easy

Speak

TEACH IT:

Your dog barks on cue. If your dog is barking up the wrong tree … then this is

the trick for him!

1 Observe what causes your dog to bark—a doorbell or knock, the postman, the

sight of you with his leash—and use that stimulus to teach this trick. Because

most dogs bark at the sound of a doorbell, we’ll use that as an example. Stand

at your front door, with the door open so your dog will be able to hear the bell.

Give the cue “bark” and press the doorbell. When your dog barks,

immediately reward him and reinforce the cue with “good bark.” Repeat this

about six times.

2 Continuing in the same session, give the cue but don’t ring the bell. You may

have to cue several times to get a bark. If your dog is not barking, return to the

previous step.

3 Try this trick in a different room. Strangely enough, this can be a difficult

transition for your dog. If at any point your dog is repeatedly unsuccessful,

return to the previous step.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Provided you’ve got a reliable stimulus that causes your

dog to bark, he can learn this trick in one session.

TROUBLESHOOTING

I’VE CREATED A BARKING MONSTER!

Never reward your dog for a bark unless you asked for this behavior.

Otherwise he’ll speak up anytime he wants something!

I CAN’T FIND A STIMULUS TO MAKE MY DOG BARK.

Dogs will often bark out of frustration. Tease him with a treat: “Do you

want it? Speak for it!”

BUILD ON IT! Once you’ve mastered speak, use this skill to learn my dog

can count (page 180)!

TIP! Lower your voice, with your finger to your lips, and tell your dog to

“speak, whisper.” Reward a low volume sound.

1 Ring the doorbell.

2 Try to elicit the behavior with only the verbal cue.

3 Change locations and cue your dog.

intermediate

Roll Over

TEACH IT:

Your dog rolls sideways on his back, completing a full rotation.

1 Start with your dog in a down (page 16) position, facing you. Kneel down in

front of him, holding a treat to the side of his head opposite the direction you

wish him to roll.

2 Move the treat from his nose toward his shoulder blade while telling him to

“roll over.” This should lure your dog to roll on his side. Praise and release the

treat.

3 When you are ready to move to the next step, continue the motion with your

hand as you move the treat from his shoulder blade toward his backbone. This

should lure him to roll onto his back, and over to his other side. Reward the

moment he lands on his opposite side.

4 As he improves, use a more subtle hand gesture.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Practice five to ten times per session, and in two weeks

your dog could be rolling over on cue!

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG IS SQUIRMING, BUT NOT ROLLING ONTO HIS SIDE

It’s all about your hand position. You want his neck arched as if his

nose were trying to touch his shoulder blade. Try not to physically push

him to his side, as he may interpret this as a domineering action and

submit.

MY DOG ROLLS TO HIS SIDE, BUT DOES NOT CONTINUE TO

ROLL ONTO HIS BACK

In this case, help your your dog finish the rollover by gently guiding his

front legs over with your hand.

BUILD ON IT! Build on this skill to teach roll yourself in a blanket (page

48).

TIP! Most dogs have a dominant side, so start by teaching a rollover in the

direction your dog seems to prefer.

2 Lure his nose toward his shoulder blade.

3 Continue luring toward his backbone.

advanced

Play Dead

TEACH IT:

When playing dead, your dog rolls onto his back with his legs in the air. He

remains “dead” until you cue his miraculous recovery. Stick ’em up or you’re a

dead dog!

1 Teach this trick after your dog has had some exercise and is ready to rest. Put

your dog in a down (page 16) and kneel in front of him. Hold a treat to the

side of his head and move it toward his shoulder blade, as you did when

teaching roll over (page 31). Your dog should fall to his side.

2 Continue to roll him to his back by guiding his midsection. Praise him and give

him a belly scratch while he is on his back. Reinforce the verbal cue by saying

“good bang.”

3 As your dog improves, try to lure him into position with the treat only, without

touching him. If he is likely to roll completely over instead of stopping half

way, stop him with your hand on his chest, and then slowly release your grip

so that he holds the position on his own.

4 Practice this skill until you are able to elicit the behavior with the “bang!” cue

and hand signal. Your dog should stay in this position until he is released with

“OK” or “you are healed!” or some other release word.

WHAT TO EXPECT: This position can be a little awkward for your dog, and

will take some getting used to. Practice in combination with roll over, so your

dog understands the difference.

PREREQUISITES

Stay (page 18)

Roll over (page 31)

TROUBLESHOOTING

DEAD DOGS SHOULDN’T HAVE WAGGING TAILS!

Try lowering your voice to a more commanding tone to stop the

wagging. Or don’t worry about it … it’s sure to get a giggle!

MY DOG DOES A SLOW AGONIZING DEATH THAT REQUIRES

SEVERAL BULLETS AND A FEW CIRCLES

Improvise with “darn, missed him! Will you die already! Talk

about a scene stealer!”

TIP! As the use of a “finger gun” is not always appropriate with young

children, consider using a command of “boo!” and scaring your dog to death

instead.

“Things I don’t like: baths, kitty sleeping in my bed, being left alone.”

STEPS:

1 Put your dog in a down, facing you.

Lure him onto his side, as in a rollover.

2 Continue to lure him onto his back and steady him there.

4 Practice until your dog can play dead on cue!

Chapter 3 Time for Chores

Dogs and people have lived in symbiotic relationships throughout history,

each providing the other with valuable services. People provide food, shelter,

and veterinary care, while dogs traditionally served humans by offering

protection, hunting assistance, flock tending, vermin control, and

transportation by carts and sleds. In today’s modern world, your dog may not

be expected to serve in these traditional capacities, but that doesn’t mean he

gets a free ride! Your dog can still earn his keep by helping around the house

with these modern chores.

Dogs need something to do. They want to feel useful and love to work for

praise and a sense of accomplishment. In this chapter, you’ll learn some

useful tricks that can become part of your dog’s daily chores. Sure, it will

take effort to teach your dog, but think of the time you’ll save each day when

your dog fetches your morning newspaper, brings your slippers, and tidies

up his toys into his toy box! (Feel free to try these out on your kids.) Your

dog will be most enthusiastic to do his chores if he feels they are important

jobs. When he brings you the morning paper, take a moment to appreciate

this wonderful service instead of casually tossing the paper on the table.

When he carries your purse, don’t let him get away with dropping or

chewing it. This is a valuable item! And if he proudly offers you two slippers

from different pairs go ahead and wear them with pride! After all, what’s

more important than the feelings of your best friend?

intermediate

Fetch My Slippers

VERBAL CUE

Fetch shoe

TEACH IT:

Upon your command, your dog will search for and bring one of your shoes. Your

dog will distinguish between your shoes and someone else’s. Note though, it is

not guaranteed that you will receive a matching set!

1 In an empty environment, place one of your slippers a short distance from your

dog. Point to the slipper, and tell your dog to “fetch shoe” (page 24). Reward

a successful fetch.

2 After several successful iterations, put the slipper out of site, or in another

room, and send your dog to find it.

3 Once your dog is conditioned to retrieve one specific shoe, repeat the exercise

with a different shoe. Your dog will come to understand that a “shoe” is any

footwear that smells like you.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Practice this for as long as it is fun for your dog, about

4–6 times per session. In two weeks, you could be receiving slippers while

sitting in your armchair!

PREREQUISITES

Fetch (page 24)

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG BRINGS OTHER OBJECTS (TOYS, CLOTHES) INSTEAD

OF MY SHOE

Your dog is excited and remembers he wants to bring you something…

but can’t remember what. Don’t accept the object, but rather encourage

him again to “fetch shoe.”

MY DOG BROUGHT ME TWO SHOES… BUT FROM DIFFERENT

SETS!

What can I say, either be happy with what you got or do a better job of

cleaning up your clothes!

1 Instruct your dog to fetch.

2 Put the slipper in another room.

3 Repeat with a different shoe.

easy

Get Your Leash

VERBAL CUE

Get your leash

TEACH IT:

Your dog will fetch his leash from it’s regular spot, either upon your command

or whenever he wants to go for a walk.

1 Introduce the word “leash” to your dog by using it each time you put it on him.

Toss his leash playfully and tell him to “fetch leash” (page 24). You’ll want to

secure the metal clasp within the leash so your dog doesn’t bonk himself in

the head with it in his exuberance! Forming a circle with the leash by buckling

the clasp onto the handle is not always a good idea, as the dog can get tangled

in the loop.

2 Now put the leash in its regular spot, such as on a hook by the door. Point to it

and encourage your dog to “get your leash!” Maneuvering the leash off the

hook may be a little tricky, so be ready to help coax it off if your dog is having

trouble. Reward your dog by immediately buckling his leash to his collar and

taking him out for a walk. In this trick, the reward is a walk instead of a treat,

so be sure to introduce this concept early on.

3 The next time you are ready to go for a walk, get your dog excited to go out,

and then have him get his leash before leaving.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Don’t be surprised if your dog interrupts your TV show

by dropping his leash in your lap! This method of communicating his wishes

sure beats barking and scratching at the door, so try to reward his politeness with

a walk as often as possible.

PREREQUISITES

Fetch (page 24)

TROUBLESHOOTING

SOMETIMES THE LEASH GETS STUCK ON THE WALL HOOK

An excited dog can pull the hook right out of the wall! A straight peg is

a better idea.

BUILD ON IT! Use the leash to teach walk the dog! (page 38)

1 Introduce the word “leash” to your dog.

2 Have your dog take his leash from its normal spot.

Reward your dog by taking him for a walk.

easy

Walk the Dog

VERBAL CUE

Heel or Come

TEACH IT:

This adorable trick is not so much useful as it is amusing. You’ll be sure to get

double takes as you stroll the block with your dutiful pooch as he walks himself.

With your dog leashed, he carries the loop end of the leash in his mouth. Now

that’s doggoned clever!

1 Fold up your dog’s leash and secure it with a rubber band. Instruct your dog to

“take it” (page 24). After a few moments, take the leash from his mouth and

reward him.

2 Practice heeling (page 160) with the folded leash in his mouth.

3 Now clip the leash to his collar and hand him just the loop end of the leash.

Instruct him to take it and heel by your side. He’s walking himself!

4 Clip the leash on another friendly dog and instruct both dogs to heel.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Your dog will have a new leash on life as he takes

himself for walks. Dogs skilled in “take it” will pick this trick up quickly. The

problem will be in convincing your dog to hold the leash for an extended time,

especially when there are tempting smells to sniff. Your dog will enjoy the

freedom of holding his own leash, and may even test your rules by trying to take

the leash from your hand as you walk. This is dangerous territory, as it could be

perceived as a challenge to your dominance. Give it some thought beforehand.

PREREQUISITES

Take It (page 24)

Heel (page 160)

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG DROPS THE LEASH WHEN HE IS BORED

Immediately pull your dog back to heel position and instruct him to

“take it” again. He should not be allowed to drop the leash except upon

your command.

THE DOGS SHOW AGGRESSION WHEN I ASK ONE TO HOLD

THE LEASH OF THE OTHER

Don’t put your dogs in this situation if you suspect there will be

aggression. This wouldn’t be the best way to work out pack-dominance

issues.

BUILD ON IT! Learn mail carrier (page 76) to vary this trick by having

one dog “deliver” the other dog to a family member!

TIP! The ideal leash length is 18”–24” (46–61 cm) longer than the distance

from your waist to your dog’s collar. A flat braided leather leash will become

a favorite.

“I pull on my leash when I go for walks. Sometimes, people tell my owner she should train me.”

STEPS:

1 Fold his leash and have your dog “take it.”

2 Heel with the leash in his mouth.

3 Attach the leash to his collar and have him take the loop end.

4 Teach one of your dogs to take the other for a walk!

intermediate

Newspaper Delivery

VERBAL CUE

Get the paper

TEACH IT:

Your dog will learn to bring the newspaper from the driveway or mailbox to

your front door.

1 Roll up a section of the newspaper and secure it with a rubber band or masking

tape. Toss it playfully indoors, and instruct your dog to “fetch! (page 24) Get

the paper!” Do not allow him to shake or tear it, and reward each successful

fetch.

2 Now try it outside, tossing the paper in its usually delivery spot, while you

stand nearby.

3 Gradually work your way back, so the paper is tossed in the same spot, but you

are standing closer and closer to your front door. Give your dog the verbal cue

and reward him with a treat or praise for retrieving the paper.

4 Now that your dog is competent in paper delivery, make it more challenging by

hiding the paper in the bushes, as your paper boy does. If your mailbox has a

flap door, your dog can learn to pull it open (page 73), close it (page 70), and

even lower the flag (adapted from turn off the light page 68)!

WHAT TO EXPECT: Most dogs enjoy carrying things in their mouths, and

will especially enjoy this daily task because of its importance! As dogs have a

habit of dropping items after they lose interest, be consistent in teaching them

that the paper is an object that needs to be reliably delivered.

PREREQUISITES

Fetch (page 24) Helpful:

Give (page 26)

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY NEWSPAPER COMES FOLDED, NOT BAGGED, AND FALLS

APART AS MY DOG CARRIES IT

Yep, that happens. Ask your delivery person to install a dog-height

newspaper mailbox.

THERE’S DOG SLOBBER ON THE FRONT PAGE!

Large-jowled dogs such as bloodhounds and Newfoundlands are

generous with their saliva! If your dog enjoys this job, walk out with

him and wrap a section of yesterday’s paper around the the new paper.

Most of the salivation happens as dogs approach the front door, so be

quick to take that paper!

TIP! Once your dog has learned to get the paper, don’t pick it up for him if

he drops it. It is now his responsibility.

STEPS:

1 Secure the newspaper with a rubber band and practice fetching.

2 Toss the paper outdoors, in its usual delivery spot.

4 Teach your dog to open your mailbox,

pull out the paper,

close the door,

and lower the flag!

advanced

Say Your Prayers

TEACH IT:

When saying his prayers, your dog places his front paws on the edge of a bed

or chair, lowers his forequarters as in a bow, and hides his head between his

arms.

1 Kneeling sideways in front of your dog, cue him to put his paws on your arm

(page 198). When you reward this behavior, do so with a treat from your other

hand positioned between your dog’s paws, so that he must bow his head for

the treat. Start by requiring only a mild bowing of his head, and be sure to

give the treat while your dog is in the correct position—with bowed head.

2 Now practice on a chair. Have your dog put his paws up, cue him with

“prayers,” and position a treat below his forearms. Using the “bow” cue (page

164) may help him get the idea to lower his forequarters.

3 As he improves, have your dog wait a few seconds before releasing the treat

from your closed fist. In its final stage, when you point to the chair and say

“prayers,” your dog should assume the praying position until released.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Always offer the reward low, near your dog’s chest, as

rewarding from above would encourage peeking in anticipation. Dogs usually

take a few weeks of squirming before they begin to understand trick.

PREREQUISITES

Paws on my arm (page 198)

Helpful: Take a bow (page 164)

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG DROPS ONE PAW OFF THE CHAIR WHEN I OFFER THE

TREAT

Offer the treat closer to his nose, and not as low. Your arm should be

coming from below.

BUILD ON IT! Be creative—teach a doggy prayer with “amen” as your

release word.

TIP! Never give your dog acetaminophen (Tylenol), as it can cause serious

tissue damage.

1 With his paws on your arm, offer a treat from below.

2 Transfer this behavior to a chair.

easy

Kennel Up

VERBAL CUE

Kennel up

TEACH IT:

When told to kennel up, your dog goes into his crate.

1 A crate provides a den for your dog, which instinctually feels safe. Your dog’s

kennel is his personal space and he deserves to be left alone while inside.

Blankets and a cover make it cozy and comfortable.

2 Allow your dog to approach a new kennel on his own. Tossing a few treats

inside may entice him to explore it further. Once he is comfortable with his

crate, toss a treat inside as you tell him to “kennel up.” Praise him for going

inside.

3 Now that he looks forward to this command, tell him to “kennel up” without

tossing a treat inside. Once he goes in the crate, immediately praise him and

give him a treat. Remember to give the treat while he is inside the kennel, as

this is the position you wish to reinforce.

WHAT TO EXPECT: As part of his bedtime routine, your dog will look

forward to kenneling up and receiving his good-night treat.

TROUBLESHOOTING

I HAVE A CRATE IN MY HOUSE AND ONE IN MY CAR. SHOULD I

USE DIFFERENT VERBAL CUES FOR EACH?

Dogs are smart. They will understand that “kennel up” refers to any of

their crates or boxes.

TIP! For a tasty treat, microwave hot dog slices for 3 minutes on a paper

towel– covered plate. Cool before serving.

“I love my kennel. After a long day, I just curl up and think about things.”

2 Toss a treat in his kennel.

3 Give the command and then the reward.

Make it a bedtime routine.

intermediate

Carry My Purse

VERBAL CUE

Carry

TEACH IT:

Your little helper will carry your purse or bag as you walk.

1 Knot the straps of your purse or bag, so your dog won’t become entangled. Put

a handful of treats inside and close it.

2 Hand your purse to your dog and have him take it (page 24).

3 Walk a few steps while telling him to “carry” and patting your leg to indicate

he should come with you. If he drops the purse, do not pick it up but rather

point to it and instruct him again to “take it.” Your dog should only be allowed

to release the purse to your hand and should not merely drop it on the floor.

4 Praise your dog as you take the purse and give him a treat from inside. When

he realizes treats are inside the purse, he will be less likely to abandon it if he

gets bored.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Retrieving breeds naturally enjoy walking around with

things in their mouth and will likely be carrying your purse within a week.

PREREQUISITES

Take it (page 24)

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG WON’T TAKE THE PURSE OR HE IMMEDIATELY

DROPS IT

If your dog is willing to take other objects, the issue may be with this

particular purse. Dogs resist some textures such as metal or

embellishments and smells including perfumes and cigarettes. Leather

purses are a favorite.

MY DOG SOMETIMES DROPS THE PURSE AS WE WALK

Once your dog has been charged with carrying your purse, he is

responsible for it until you accept it back. Sometimes, your dog will put

it down for a minute to swallow or scratch—do not judge too harshly,

but insist that he pick it back up.

MY DOG CHEWS THE PURSE

Hunting breeds are bred for soft mouths, while other breeds may be

more prone to chewing. With any dog you’re probably going to get

some teeth marks on your purse eventually. Try to think of them as

“character marks!”

MY DOG TRIES TO GET THE TREATS OUT OF MY PURSE

HIMSELF

The treats need to be inaccessible. Try a zippered pouch.

TIP! Dogs ascertain objects that have importance to you: purse, wallet, cell

phone, car keys. They will enjoy the responsibility of carrying these items.

STEPS:

“Sometimes, I get to carry the car keys. I can make the alarm go off if I bite the keychain just right!”

1 Put a handful of treats in your bag.

2 Have your dog “take it.”

3 Pat your leg and encourage him to follow you.

4 Pull a treat from your bag for a reward.

expert

Tidy Up Your Toys

VERBAL CUE

Tidy up

TEACH IT:

When tidying up, your dog opens his toy box lid, puts his toys inside, and closes

the lid. First, teach the skill of putting the toys into the toy box and add to the

trick later by teaching the opening and closing of the lid.

PUTTING AWAY THE TOY:

1 Scatter a few plush toys around the room and instruct your dog to fetch (page

24).

2 When your dog returns with a toy, offer him a treat held a few inches above the

open toy box. As he opens his mouth for the treat, the toy should fall right in.

Praise this success!

3 As your dog improves, stand behind the toy box with your treat tucked away.

When your dog returns with a toy, point to the toy box and instruct him to

drop it (page 26). At first, reward each successful drop in the box, and later

require several toys to be deposited before rewarding.

OPENING THE LID:

1 Attach a thick, knotted rope to the toy box lid on the edge nearest the opening.

The rope should be long enough so that when your dog pulls it from behind he

is not hit by the lid.

2 Set your dog behind the toy box and instruct him to pull on the rope (page

73). At first, reward any rope pull, but as your dog improves he should be

required to pull the lid completely open.

CLOSING THE LID:

1 Kneel down holding the lid straight up and encourage your dog to nose or paw

it. When he does, allow the lid to fall closed and reward him. Lay a dish towel

across the rim of the toy box to avoid a frightening slam.

2 Next, open the lid completely and instruct your dog to “close it.” He will try a

variety of actions such as nosing it, pawing it, or pulling the rope. Help him be

successful by lifting the lid a few inches and encouraging him to put his nose

underneath.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Once all three elements have been taught, practice them

in sequence: open the lid, put away the toys, close the lid. Add this trick to your

dog’s daily chores, and you’ll be the envy of the neighborhood!

PREREQUISITES

Pull on a rope (page 73)

Fetch (page 24)

Drop it (page 26)

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG IS SOMETIMES CONFUSED AND TAKES TOYS OUT OF

THE BOX!

Your dog is eager to please! “Whoops!” will alert your dog that a

mistake has been made.

MY DOG WANTS TO PLAY WITH THE TOY, AND NOT DROP IT

Use less desirable toys.

“I always tidy up my plush toys first and my rubber chicken last. I don’t

know why, that’s just what I do.”

STEPS:

PUTTING AWAY THE TOY:

1 Have your dog fetch a toy.

2 Offer a treat above the open toy box.

OPENING THE LID:

2 Instruct your dog to pull on a rope.

Require him to pull it completely open.

CLOSING THE LID:

1 Hold the lid straight up and have your dog paw it closed.

2 Open the lid completely so your dog will have to use his nose to close it.

expert

Roll Yourself in a Blanket

TEACH IT:

Your dog takes his blanket in his mouth and rolls over, wrapping himself up. He

finishes with his head down, ready for night-night.

1 Select a blanket about two times the length of your dog. Note the direction

your dog predominately rolls. If he rolls onto his left shoulder, face him and

instruct him to lie down (page 16) on the blanket so that the majority of it is to

his left. Bunch it up near his head so it will be easier for him to grab.

2 Lift the corner of the blanket and cue him to take it (page 24). Praise and

reward him quickly when he takes the blanket in his mouth. Be sure to only

reward if you take the blanket from his mouth, and not if he drops it on his

own. Encourage him to stay down while being rewarded.

3 Once he is able to take the blanket and hold it, cue him to roll over (page 31).

Dogs often release the object in their mouth when instructed to rollover. If this

happens, offer neither praise nor reprimand—simply put your dog back and

try again.

4 After a rollover is achieved with the blanket still in his mouth, instruct your

dog to put his head down (page 56).

WHAT TO EXPECT: This trick is deceptively difficult, as your dog will need

to execute each behavior perfectly in order to wrap himself up. As your dog

progresses, give the “night-night” verbal cue at the beginning, and then each

individual cue. In time, you will drop the individual cues.

PREREQUISITES

Down (page 16)

Take it (page 24)

Roll over (page 31)

Head down (page 56)

TIP! Practice other commands while your dog holds something in his

mouth: take it, spin or take it, down.

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG WON’T TAKE THE BLANKET

You’ve probably never instructed your dog to “take it” while in the

down position before. Start with him standing, have him take the

blanket in this position, and continue holding it while he lies down.

BUILD ON IT! Learn say your prayers (page 42) and wave good-bye

(page 202 to have your dog bid good night before rolling up in his blanket.

“I have a friend next door. His name is Bear and he doesn’t wear a collar and gets to sleep outside.”

STEPS:

2 From a down position, instruct your dog to “take it.”

3 Have him roll over while holding the blanket.

He should hold the blanket throughout the roll.

4 Head down finishes the trick.

Chapter 4 Funny Dog

Laugh and your dog laughs with you … even if you’re laughing at him!

One of the joys of dog cohabitation is the unabashed silliness your dog

infuses into everyday life. Just as obedience is a crucial part of a successful

living arrangement with a dog, so too are silly tricks an integral part of the

bonding process.

If you want your dog to be well behaved and obey your commands, take an

obedience class. But if you want your dog to honk a horn, play the piano,

pick your pocket, and hide his head under a cushion then read this chapter!

People won’t be able to resist laughing as your playful pooch entertains a

crowd with his antics!

Although these tricks look like pure silliness, they are based upon sound

training techniques that utilize your dog’s intelligence and coordination.

Enjoy your funny dog!

intermediate

Honk a Bike Horn

VERBAL CUE

Squeak!

TEACH IT:

Your dog bites the rubber ball of a bike horn.

1 Encourage your dog to play with a favorite squeak toy. Say “squeak!” and

praise him when he produces the sound.

2 This time hold the squeak toy playfully toward him as you encourage the

squeak. Keep hold of the toy in one hand, and reward him with the other when

he squeaks.

3 Continuing in the same session, offer the ball end of a bike horn in place of the

squeak toy. Use an excited tone of voice as you encourage your dog to

“squeak!” When he produces any sound, immediately give him a treat.

WHAT TO EXPECT: If your dog is a squeak toy enthusiast, he can pick up this

trick in a day. It’s a great trick for waking up the kids or whenever things are too

quiet around the house!

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG DOESN’T BITE THE HORN HARD ENOUGH TO MAKE

A SOUND

The bike horn is firmer than a squeak toy, so you may have to cheat at

first and squeak the horn with your thumb as your dog mouths it. He

will soon learn that the sound is the desired effect.

TIP! Some human foods can be poisonous for dogs: chocolate, onions,

macadamia nuts, raisins and grapes, potato peelings, tomato leaves and

stems, and turkey skin.

1 Say “squeak” when your dog’s toy makes a sound.

2 Hold his toy and tell him to “squeak!”

3 Use your thumb to help honk the bike horn.

easy

Peekaboo!

TEACH IT:

In peekaboo, your dog peeks out from between your legs.

1 Position yourself with your back to your dog, legs apart.

2 Reach through your legs with a treat, and lure your dog forward until he is

between your legs.

3 Allow your dog to lick and nibble at the treat in your hand. Praise him with

“good peekaboo,” and try to keep him in this position for 10 seconds.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Practice ten times per day, and within a week your dog

should be understanding this trick. Don’t be surprised if this becomes his

favorite way of getting your attention!

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG BITES MY HAND AS I LET HIM NIBBLE THE TREAT

Address this issue separately. Tell your dog “easy” as you allow him to

take treats. If he is too rough, bop him on the nose, and say “ouch!” to

let him know he hurt you.

MY DOG IS SCARED TO BE BETWEEN MY LEGS

Your dog is putting himself in a submissive position between your legs,

which requires trust. Do not force him—allow enough leash for him to

back out.

MY DOG IS VERY SMALL

Kneel with your knees apart to have your dog peekaboo through that

smaller space.

BUILD ON IT! Once you’ve mastered peekaboo, build on this skill with

leg weave (page 170), and chorus line kicks (page 176).

TIP! Save the word “no” for when your dog is naughty. Give either positive

feedback or no feedback when teaching a new trick.

“Once, I peekaboo’d the delivery man and he said I should buy him dinner first.”

STEPS:

2 With your back to your dog, show him a treat.

Lure him through your legs.

3 Keep him in position by allowing him to nibble a treat.

Extend the length of time he stays in this position before rewarding.

easy

Doggy Push-ups

TEACH IT:

With paws planted, your dog does push-ups by alternating between lying down

and standing up. Time to turn your couch potato into a hot dog—drop and give

me twenty!

1 With your dog lying down (page 16) at your side, command him to “stand”

while luring him up and forward with a treat. As soon as he rises, praise him

and give him the treat.

2 If your dog does not respond to the food lure, use your foot to gently prod him

under his belly. Reward him for standing.

3 Stand directly in front of your dog, alternating a stand and down cue to

produce push-ups. Use the hand signal as well as verbal cue and for each

action.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Gradually increase the number of push-up repetitions

before rewarding your dog. With a solid down skill, your dog can be doing

push-ups like a pro within a week!

PREREQUISITES

Down (page 16)

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG CREEPS FORWARD EVERY TIME HE DOES A PUSH-UP

A polished push-up has little or no movement of your dog’s feet.

Falling back in this manner is called a “concerto” down. Practice this

body movement by putting a barrier, such as an ex-pen fence, directly

in front of your dog.

TIP! A treat bag at your waist offers quick access to rewards.

“Some of my favorite treats are noodles, hot dogs, string cheese, goldfish crackers, meatballs, green

beans, and carrots.”

STEPS:

2 From a down position, lure or prod your dog to stand.

3 Once your dog is able to stand on cue, have him alternate between a down…

and a stand…

to practice doggy push-ups!

advanced

Act Ashamed

TEACH IT:

Your dog hides his head in shame under a blanket or cushion.

1 Using a cushion that is affixed to a chair back or sofa, show your dog a treat

and place it underneath, near the front. Encourage him to “get it!”

2 Gradually place the treat farther toward the rear of the cushion, so that your

dog has to bury his entire head underneath to get the treat. Introduce the

verbal cue.

3 Continuing in the same training session, cue your dog in the same way, but

without placing a treat under the cushion. As your dog sniffs around

underneath, reach under the cushion from the rear, and give your dog a treat.

As he improves, hold the treat in your fist for a second, instructing him to

“wait, wait” before releasing it.

4 Have your dog hold his head under the cushion for a few seconds before

reaching down and giving him the treat, releasing it under the cushion.

WHAT TO EXPECT: It is especially important in this trick to reward your dog

while he is in the correct position. Rewarding him any place other than under the

cushion will cause him to develop a habit of pulling his head out early to check

for his treat. It is also preferable that you stand behind the chair, so as not to

tempt your dog to pull his head out to look at you.

TROUBLESHOOTING

WHILE UNDER THE CUSHION, MY DOG IS CONSTANTLY

SNIFFING

Tell your dog to “wait, wait” and as soon as you hear the sniffing stop

for a full second, give him a treat.

MY DOG JUST PUSHES THE CUSHION INSTEAD OF GETTING

UNDER IT

Use a larger cushion or have its back edge affixed.

TIP! In dog trainer vernacular “cookie” means a food treat. “Do you want a

cookie?”

“Once, I ate a whole ham bone and then threw up. It was great.”

STEPS:

1 Place a treat under the cushion.

2 Place the treat farther toward the rear of the cushion.

3 As your dog sniffs, reward him from behind the chair.

4 Have your dog wait for his reward.

Your dog can now act ashamed on cue!

expert

Limp

TEACH IT:

When performing limp, your dog raises his front paw while hopping on the other

three. This pitiable performance can garner a free hot dog or maybe even a hot

date!

1 Stand facing your leashed dog and loop the free end of the leash under his

front wrist, suspending it in the air.

2 Encourage your dog to come toward you, saying “come on boy, limp.” Praise

and reward even one step with his free front leg. Allow your dog to rest

between attempts.

3 Lighten your grip on the leash and use quick jerks rather than sustained force

to encourage your dog’s wrist up. Have him walk a few steps now before

rewarding.

4 Fashion a sling out of fabric and loop it through your dog’s collar so that it

suspends his wrist. Smart dogs will figure out that they can lower their head to

get out of this mess, so keep your dog’s attention high as you lure him forward

with a treat. You want your dog to be successful, so only ask him to do a

distance he can achieve.

WHAT TO EXPECT: This trick is physically as well as mentally tiring for your

dog. It takes concentration for him to remember to keep the one paw lifted. As in

every case where you are physically manipulating your dog, do so gently and

reassuringly so as not to intimidate him. This trick can take months to master.

TROUBLESHOOTING

I’VE SEEN MY DOG LIMP WHEN I’VE DRESSED HIM IN A SHOE.

CAN I USE THAT?

Absolutely! If you can elicit the behavior, associate it with the verbal

cue “good limp!” As he improves, substitute the shoe with something

smaller such as a baby’s sock or tape.

WHEN DO I TRANSITION FROM USING THE LEASH TO USING

THE SLING?

Switching tactics can often speed progress. Try a few repetitions with

the leash, then one with the sling, then one suspending his wrist with

your hand.

BUILD ON IT! Once you’ve mastered limp, learn crawl (page 144) and

play dead (page 32) to act out doggy’s dramatic death scene.

TIP! Dogs usually have a dominant side. Which paw does your dog prefer to

raise in a shake? Work with this paw in his limp.

“I like staying in hotels. I get to drink from the ice bucket and sleep on the bed!”

STEPS:

1 Loop the leash under his front paw.

2 Reward a step with his free front paw.

3 Use quick jerks to remind your dog to keep his paw lifted.

4 Have your dog limp several steps before rewarding.

expert

Pickpocket Pooch

VERBAL CUE

Pocket

TEACH IT:

As you bend over to (presumably) pick up your hat, your dog swipes a kerchief

from your pocket and sends you sprawling.

1 With your back to your dog, bend over with legs apart and knees bent. Hold a

treat in your left hand at your tailbone. Encourage your dog to rise up and take

the treat by saying “pocket, get it!”

2 Once your dog is performing consistently, bend over and reach with your right

hand toward the ground, while still offering the treat with your left at your

tailbone.

3 This time, hold the treat in your right hand instead of your left. When your dog

places his paws on your tailbone, roll forward in a summersault and offer the

treat in a backward motion with your right hand at the end of your roll.

Practice while wearing socks, and take care to not to kick your dog.

4 Add the kerchief element by placing it in your back pocket and encouraging

your dog to “take it” (page 24).

WHAT TO EXPECT: The difficulty in this skit will be in making the

performance believable, without any noticable cues. The individual behaviors,

however, can be learned within a few weeks.

PREREQUISITES

Take it (page 24)

TROUBLESHOOTING

WHEN I HOLD THE TREAT IN MY RIGHT HAND AT THE

GROUND, MY DOG GOES FOR THAT HAND INSTEAD OF MY

TAILBONE

Use a treat bag at your waist or hold the treat in your mouth for easy

access.

MY DOG IS TOO SMALL TO REACH MY TAILBONE ON HIS

HIND LEGS

Small dogs can actually be the cutest ones for this trick. Instead of

merely pushing your rear, they can learn to bounce off it with all four

paws!

TIP! Have a conversation with your dog. He can understand the tone of your

voice and your body language.

STEPS:

1 Bend over and offer a treat with your left hand at your tailbone.

2 Reach down with your right hand, while holding the treat with your left.

3 Hold the treat in your right hand as you reach down.

Roll forward in a summersault.

Take care to not kick your dog.

Give the treat by reaching behind with your right hand.

4 Use the “take it” cue for the kerchief in your pocket.

advanced

Play the Piano

VERBAL CUE

Music

TEACH IT:

Your dog will play a standard or toy piano by pounding the keys with his paws.

Relaxing, isn’t it?

1 Set your dog in front of a toy piano on the floor and lure him forward with a

treat. As soon as he places a paw anywhere on the piano, immediately give

him the treat and praise him. Be sure the treat is given while your dog is still

standing on the piano.

2 The next step is to get your dog to raise and lower his paws on the piano. This

will require precise timing and positioning on your part. Lure him into

position, so that both paws are resting on the piano keys. Encourage him to lift

one paw, by either telling him to “shake” (page 22) or by tapping the back

side of his paw. Reward him when he puts the paw back down on the piano.

His tendency will be to to put his paw down behind the piano, on the floor, so

use your treat to keep his attention forward.

3 Practice one paw at a time, switching back and forth with every successful key

press. Sometimes, it helps to lean your body in the opposite direction of the

lifted paw. Praise should be given for placing the paw down on the piano,

rather than for lifting it.

4 Stand back and let your dog play on his own! Substitute the “music” cue for

“shake” and “paw.”

WHAT TO EXPECT: Although this trick appears simple, the action required is

a noninstinctive one. Your dog is usually rewarded for lifting his paw, rather than

for lowering it.

PREREQUISITES

Helpful: Shake hands (page 22)

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG IS SCRATCHING AT THE PIANO

Do not reward scratches, but calm your dog by slowly saying “easy.”

Go back to tapping the back of each paw to emphasize the lifting.

MY DOG SOMETIMES MISSES THE KEYS

Use a cardboard barrier to keep your dog from putting his paws too far

forward, or be quick to tap them with your finger when they land in the

wrong spot.

BUILD ON IT! Learn rollover (page 31) to have your dog finish the song

with a flourish by rolling on the keys!

TIP! If you’re mad or frustrated, end the training session and try again later.

“I have my own bed. It has my name on it. Sometimes, kitty sleeps on it and gets it stinky.”

STEPS:

1 Lure your dog forward with a treat.

2 Cue your dog to “shake” or tap his paw.

3 Lean with your dog to encourage lifting his paw.

Alternate lifting each paw.

4 Stand up while continuing to cue your dog.

Such beautiful music!

expert

World’s Dumbest Dog

TEACH IT:

There are many variations to this trick based upon the premise that through

performance art your dog responds to subtle cues making it appear that he is

doing something opposite of what he has been instructed. Below are four

examples: 1 “Jump, Fido, jump through the hoop of fire!” Your dog instead

hides his eyes. How is this pulled off? First of all, Fido’s cue for jumping

through a hoop is “hup” and not “jump.” Secondly, “Fido” is not your dog’s

name, and thirdly, your dog is responding to your subtle hand signal cueing him

to cover his eyes (page 200). Finish this skit by saying “Fido, that cute French

poodle is watching the show…” and signalling him to jump into action and

through the hoop!

2 “Fido is such a well-behaved dog; he never goes in the trash.” Upon turning

your back to him your dog runs immediately to the wastebasket. How is this

done? A treat is placed in the wastebasket, and your dog is told to stay. Upon

hearing his release command, such as the word “OK” used while speaking to

your audience, he will eagerly run to the trash.

3 “Where did my dog go? Has anyone seen him?” As you scan the audience

your dog peeks out from between your legs. Your dog, of course, is

responding to your peekaboo (page 52) signal.

4 “Jump through the hoop!” To your feigned embarrassment, your dog plays

dead on the floor. Your dog responded to your hand signal to play dead (page

32).

WHAT TO EXPECT: One of the more difficult elements in this trick is getting

your dog to perform a behavior behind your back, without eye contact. Dogs

often will run around to look into your face. Pattern train your dog by training

the exact same way every time.

TIP! Watch for signs of anxiety in your dog when teaching a new trick:

scratching, yawning, licking his lips, looking away.

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG HAS TROUBLE STAYING STILL

Eye contact can be a powerful cue for your dog—make contact when

you want him to do something, and look away when you wish him to

stay.

“Sometimes, I like to pretend I don’t understand anything my owner says.”

STEPS:

1 “Fido, jump through the flaming hoop of death!”

2 “Fido is so well behaved. He never gets into the trash.”

3 “I can’t find my dog anywhere!”

4 “Jump, Fido, jump!”

Chapter 5 Modern Conveniences

Contemporary dogs have become full-fledged family members in today’s

households; sleeping on beds, wearing clothing, and eating gourmet meals.

Skills once required of outdoor dogs have been replaced by a more

practicable set of skills geared toward today’s modern living. While a dog’s

ability to hunt for your dinner used to be of great importance, it is now more

often appreciated when a dog can find the remote control, answer the

telephone, and especially bring you a cold one from the fridge!

There is something about a dog doing “people things” that we humans find

endearing. When we teach a dog to respond to a cue with a natural behavior

(such as fetching), we have taught him to associate a word with a particular

action. When we teach a dog to execute a “people behavior,” we have taught

him not only the word but a complex idea involving logic and noninstinctive physical responses.

But let’s be honest. The tricks in this chapter are not often taught merely to

improve a dog’s gray matter. They are taught for two reasons: to impress

your friends and to save you a trip to the kitchen when you’re thirsting for a

beer!

advanced

Get the Phone When It Rings

VERBAL CUE

Rrrrrrrrrrr

TEACH IT:

When the phone rings, your dog will pick it up from its receiver and bring it to

you. With a cell phone, your dog will find it and bring it to you.

1 Set your phone on the floor and lift the receiver. Tell your dog to “take it”

(page 24) and reward his effort.

2 Move away from the phone and have him fetch (page 24) the receiver.

Introduce your verbal cue by doing your best imitation of your phone’s ring.

Again, reward your dog for a successful retrieve.

3 Gradually move the phone back to its original spot—first moving it to a small

table, then the counter, then the back of the counter. Your small dog may need

a stool to reach the phone.

4 You’ll now want to associate the actual phone ring with the verbal cue you

were using. Use a second phone line to dial your number. When it rings, give

your verbal cue and point toward the phone. Your dog may be startled for a

second, but cue him each time the phone rings.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Use an old phone when learning, as dogs often drop the

receiver on the floor. Keep your cell phone and treats on hand, and call your

phone a few times a day. This trick involves lots of exciting things for your dog;

loud noises, jumping on counters, and fetching. It’s often a favorite—for both

your dog and your callers!

PREREQUISITES

Fetch/Take it (page 24)

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG DROPS THE PHONE

Part of the problem may be the clumsy shape and slippery texture of

your phone. Retro phones with a slim handle work well, or you may

wish to wrap your phone with tape.

BUILD ON IT! Learn speak (page 30) to have your dog talk into the

phone!

TIP! If you teach this trick with your cell phone, set your ringtone to an

easily distinguishable, uniform ring.

1 Have your dog take the receiver from the floor.

4 Use a second phone to teach your dog to respond to the ring.

“When the phone rings, I pick it up and run off with it!”

advanced

Turn Off the Light

VERBAL CUE

Lights

TEACH IT:

Your dog will learn to paw a light switch on the wall, turning the lights on or off.

A flat, rocker light switch is easiest, especially for flipping the switch to the up

position. Small dogs may require a stool placed under the switch.

1 Hold a treat against the wall a little above the light switch and encourage your

dog with “lights, get it!” Let him have the treat when he is able to reach the

switch.

2 Hold the treat a little above the switch and away from the wall while tapping

the switch with your other hand. Encourage your dog up again, but keep the

treat clenched in your fist until he paws once or twice against the wall. Praise

him and give him the treat while he is still upright.

3 Tap the switch plate while cueing your dog, then put your hands down and

allow your dog to paw at the wall by himself. As he improves, challenge your

dog to make a successful switch flip before he is rewarded.

4 Finally, stand across the room and send your dog by himself to kill the lights!

WHAT TO EXPECT: “Get the lights on your way out, will you?” An energetic

dog can pick up the concept of scratching the wall pretty quickly, however the

nuances of flipping the switch will take more time.

TROUBLESHOOTING

HOW DO I TEACH THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TURNING THE

LIGHT ON AND OFF?

Your dog will not have the fine motor skills in this position to maneuver

the switch one way or the other. He will just paw at the switch until you

let him know he was successful.

BUILD ON IT! Once you’ve mastered turn off the light, use a similar

action to learn open/close a door (page 70)!

TIP! Your dog should earn your praise. If you want to give him a hug, have

him do a sit or a shake first.

“I have my nails trimmed twice a week. I get a cookie after.”

STEPS:

1 Hold a treat above the light switch and encourage your dog to get it.

3 Tap the light switch to cue your dog to paw at it.

Require a successful switch flip before rewarding.

4 Send your dog to flip the switch on his own!

expert

Open/Close a Door

VERBAL CUE

Open Close

TEACH IT:

Your dog opens a door using the handle, and pushes it closed with his paws.

OPEN THE DOOR:

1 Place your dog in front of an outward opening door with a lever door handle.

Something desirous should be on the other side of the door, such as access to

the outdoors, food treats, or a favorite toy. Have the door open a crack and

encourage your dog to push his way through to get to the reward.

2 Hold the door slightly ajar, and encourage your dog to push it open. He will

need to paw at it or jump on it to get it open this time. When he does, release

the door, allowing it to open and giving your dog access to his reward.

3 Close the door completely and tap the door handle while encouraging your dog

up. If he paws at the handle, subtly depress it and allow it to open.

4 Now that your dog understands the handle is the secret to opening doors, he

will perfect his technique on his own, given enough incentive on the other

side!

5 Once your dog has mastered the outward opening door, try it with an inward

opening one. Tape the latch so the door opens without depressing the handle.

Your dog first needs to learn to lean on the handle and walk backward. Stand

on the other side of the door with a treat or toy and call to your dog while

tapping on the door.

6 Remove the tape from the latch and again stand on the opposite side of the

door. Keep your foot pressed against it so that if your dog depresses the

handle at all, the door will open toward him. Your dog will learn to walk

backward while depressing the door handle.

BUILD ON IT! Build on these skills by teaching bring me a beer from the

fridge (page 74).

TIP! Short dogs may need a stepping stool to help them reach the door

handle.

1 Have your dog push through the door crack.

2 Hold the door ajar while your dog paws at it.

3 Depress the handle when your dog paws it.

4 Give your dog incentive to open it on his own.

STEPS:

CLOSE THE DOOR:

7 Using a slightly ajar inward opening door, hold a treat at nose height against

the door and encourage your dog to “close, get it!” When he shows interest,

raise your hand higher against the door. It shouldn’t take much coaxing for

your dog to place his paws against the door while reaching for the treat. This

will push the door closed. Immediately give your dog the treat and praise him.

If he is frightened by the sound of the closing door and does not take his treat,

encourage him back up on the closed door and reward him while he is in the

correct position, on two paws.

8 Once your dog has the hang of this, try merely tapping the door to get him to

push on it. Reward him for pushing the door closed.

9 Finally, from a distance send your dog to “close” the door. Don’t be surprised

if he slams it shut in his eagerness!

WHAT TO EXPECT: Door handles have baffled dogs throughout the ages.

Opening a door requires both logic skills and coordination and can take a dog

several weeks or more to master. Closing the door is much easier and can

actually be a fun game for your dog!

“Kitty has a little hole in the door to go through because she can’t reach the

handle.”

5 Try it with an inward opening door.

6 Press the closed door with your foot.

7 Hold a treat against the door.

8 Tap the door.

intermediate

Ring a Bell to Come Inside

VERBAL CUE

Bell

TEACH IT:

Your dog noses or paws a bell on the door when he wants to go in or out.

1 Wiggle a bell on the floor and encourage your dog to “get it!” Mark the instant

he touches the bell with his nose or paw by saying “good bell” and offering a

treat.

2 Hang the bell from a doorknob at a low height and encourage your dog to ring

it by saying “bell, get it!” You may need to hold a treat behind the bell, and

tease him with it. As soon as the bell makes a sound, praise and reward him.

3 Get your dog’s leash and get him excited to go for a walk. Stop at the door

with the bell, encouraging him to ring it. It may take a while, as he will be

distracted by the idea of his walk. As soon as he touches the bell, immediately

open the door and take him for a walk. In this trick, the reward is a walk

instead of a treat, so be sure to introduce this concept early on.

4 As you return home from your walk, get him excited to go inside with

promises of a treat or dinner. Again, have him paw at a bell hung from the

door before opening it. It could take several minutes to ring the bell, so

practice when you are not in a hurry.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Consistency in enforcing the bell to go in/out rule will

speed up the learning process. You’ll also need to be very responsive to the bells

in the beginning——if you hear them ringing, rush to open the door. This

method of communicating sure beats barking and scratching at the door, so try to

reward his politeness with a walk as often as possible.

BUILD ON IT! Vary turn off the light (page 68) to teach your dog to ring a

doorbell.

2 Encourage your dog with a treat behind the bell.

3 Reward your dog with a walk when he rings the bell.

4 Have your dog ring another bell to come inside.

easy

Pull on a Rope

TEACH IT:

Whether for opening a fence or pulling a wagon, your dog’s skill at pulling on a

rope will have endless uses.

1 Introduce your dog to pulling on a rope by playing tug-of-war. Pet stores sell

toys and ropes for this purpose, or an old towel works well, too. Tell your dog

to “tug” and wiggle the toy side to side or pull sporadically.

2 Switch to a knotted rope. Let your dog occasionally pull it from your hands to

keep his enthusiasm for the game.

3 Tie the end of the rope to a cardboard box and let him drag it around. As this is

not as self-rewarding as the tugging game, be sure to praise and reward your

dog for his efforts.

4 Use this newfound skill to have your dog pull a wagon with your groceries,

pull open doors, or pull a rope to ring a bell. With a little imagination, your

buddy will be the envy of the neighborhood!

WHAT TO EXPECT: Bull breeds and terriers are naturals for this trick, but all

dogs love a good pull now and then. The more this exercise feels like a game,

the faster your dog will catch on. Play daily and within a week your dog could

be pulling his weight!

VERBAL CUE

Tug

TROUBLESHOOTING

I HEARD PLAYING TUG-OF-WAR WITH YOUR DOG CAUSES

AGGRESSION

Tug is a competitive game that results in a winner and a loser. While

harmless for most dogs, aggressive dogs may interpret victory as further

proof of their dominance. Enforce the rules of the game: you decide

when the game starts and stops, the game ends with your dog

relinquishing the toy, and aggression is strictly prohibited.

BUILD ON IT! Once you’ve mastered pull on a rope, your dog can open

his toy box and tidy up your toys (page 46)!

1 Play tug-of-war with your dog.

2 Use a knotted rope for this game.

4 Attach the rope to items.

expert

Bring Me a Beer from the Fridge

VERBAL CUE

Get me a beer

TEACH IT:

In this useful trick, your dog opens the refrigerator door, fetches a beer, and

returns to close the door.

OPEN THE REFRIGERATOR:

1 Practice pull on a rope (page 73) with a dish towel. Tie the dish towel to the

refrigerator handle. With the fridge door slightly ajar, instruct your dog to pull

the dish towel. All four paws should remain on the floor while your dog pulls

—to protect your door as well as to keep him from pushing against himself.

Make it more challenging by closing the fridge door completely.

GET THE BEER:

1 Empty a beer can.

2 Play fetch (page 24) with the empty can to get your dog accustomed to

carrying it. As many dogs are reluctant to hold metal in their mouths, a foam

can insulator may help.

3 Place the beer can on a low shelf in an open, uncluttered refrigerator and have

your dog fetch it. Reward him with a treat tastier than anything he may find in

the fridge.

CLOSE THE REFRIGERATOR:

1 Cue your dog to close the door (page 71) while tapping the front of the open

refrigerator door.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Once your dog is comfortable with all three steps, start

to phase out the individual commands and use “get me a beer” to represent the

entire series. Now that your dog knows the secret of the refrigerator, however,

you may have to install a padlock!

PREREQUISITES

Pull on a rope (page 73)

Fetch (page 24)

Close a door (page 71)

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY FLOOR IS GETTING SCRATCHED UP!

Lightweight dogs and tile floors are a slippery combination as your dog

pulls the dish towel. Improve his traction with a doormat, or use a

longer rope on the door handle to increase his angle of leverage.

MY DOG IS BROWSING IN THE FRIDGE WHEN GETTING MY

BEER!

Nothing is free, and that just might be the price you have to pay for the

luxury of beer delivery!

STEPS:

“Dad loves this trick!”

OPEN THE REFRIGERATOR:

1 Have your dog pull a dish towel tied to the handle.

His paws should remain on the ground while he pulls.

GET THE BEER:

1 Empty a beer can.

2 Play fetch with the empty can.

A foam can insulator will make it easier to carry.

CLOSE THE REFRIGERATOR:

3 Fetch the can from the fridge.

Reward him for the fetch.

1 Have him return to close the door.

intermediate

Mail Carrier

VERBAL CUE

Take it to

[person’s name].

TEACH IT:

Your dog will learn the names of family members and deliver a note to the

specified recipient. When it’s too important for priority mail, send it by puppy

mail!

1 Have a friend or family member stand on the opposite side of an empty

environment with some treats in their pocket.

2 Hand your dog a note and instruct him to “take it” (page 24). Point toward

your intended mail recipient and tell your dog his or her name.

3 The recipient should encourage your dog to come.

4 Once close, the mail recipient should instruct your dog to “give” (page 26) and

trade a treat for the note.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Dogs remember people’s names the same way we do—

through repetition. Use names around your dog, and he will soon be able to

identify all family members—even the cat!

PREREQUISITES

Take it (page 24) Give (page 26)

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG DROPPED THE NOTE AND CAN’T PICK IT UP

Folding the note will make it easier to pick up.

MY DOG ENDS UP AT THE RECIPIENT, BUT WITHOUT THE

NOTE!

The recipient should encourage the dog to go back and find it. “Where

is it? What happened? Go get it!”

MY DOG USED TO DO THIS TRICK EASILY, BUT NOW HAS

LOST INTEREST

Has he stopped receiving treats? Once learned, you need not treat every

time, but at least one out of three times will keep his motivation high.

You can also put the note along with a treat in a plastic baggie for him

to deliver. That way the recipient can easily tip the courier!

TIP! Train your dog to deliver his charge and then run back to you for his

treat!

“When I delivered the baseball, I made the umpire chase me around the field for it!”

STEPS:

2 Hand your dog a note, and point toward the intended recipient.

3 The recipient calls to your dog.

4 Your dog gets a treat for his delivery.

advanced

Find the Car Keys/Remote

VERBAL CUE

Keys, find it

Remote, find it

TEACH IT:

Your dog will locate and retrieve your missing items. What a useful trick!

KEYS:

1 Attach a small change purse filled with treats to your key chain. Toss the keys

playfully and tell your dog “keys, fetch” (page 24). When he returns with the

keys, open the pouch and reward him with a treat from inside. As he cannot

open the pouch on his own, he will learn to bring it hurriedly to you. The scent

of the treats in the change purse will help your dog find your keys.

2 Next, hide the keys farther away, or in the next room. Make a game of it and

help your dog search room to room. The next time you lose your keys, you’ll

be glad you put in the effort of teaching this trick!

REMOTE:

1 A hard plastic remote is not an object that most dogs take readily in their

mouths, so you may wish to wrap it in masking tape during the learning

process. Show the remote to your dog and tell your dog “remote, take it”

(page 24). Praise him and exchange it for a treat.

2 Set it on the coffee table, point to it, and say “remote, fetch.”

3 Set this trick in a realistic context. Sit in your armchair and set the remote in a

commonly found spot. Have your dog fetch it and bring it to your chair. Your

guests will be amazed by this useful trick!

WHAT TO EXPECT: Although teaching your dog to retrieve a named object is

not a complicated process, the challenge in this trick will be keeping your dog’s

motivation high when the object you are having him seek is not a toy or treat. Be

sure to give lots of praise and rewards during the learning process, and within a

month your dog can be finding and retrieving your lost items!

PREREQUISITES

Fetch/Take It (page 24)

TROUBLESHOOTING

MUST I KEEP THE TREAT POUCH PERMANENTLY ON MY KEY

CHAIN?

You can phase it out over time, but an object with a distinct scent will

be easier for your dog to find. Rubber or leather key chains can do the

trick.

TIP! Dogs see limited color. They cannot differentiate between red, orange,

yellow, and green, but can tell those colors apart from blue, indigo, and

violet. They perceive less detail than humans, but their night vision and

sensitivity to movement is better than ours.

“I help find the kitty when she’s lost.”

STEPS:

KEYS:

1 Fill a key chain pouch with treats. Reward your dog for fetching it.

2 Hide the keys and help your dog search for them.

REMOTE:

1 Wrap the remote in tape and have your dog take it in his mouth.

2 Set the remote on a coffee table and have your dog fetch it from a distance.

expert

Push a Shopping Cart

VERBAL CUE

Paws up

Forward

TEACH IT:

Dogs doing “people things” are always entertaining. Standing on his hind legs,

your dog will push a shopping cart, baby carriage, or toy lawn mower

(depending on his size and your household chores!).

PAWS UP:

1 Hold a treat slightly above a sturdy piece of furniture and tell your dog “paws

up.” Pat the item to coax your dog’s front feet onto it. Hold the treat only

slightly behind its edge, so as not to encourage your dog to jump on top or

over it.

2 With both his paws on the item, allow your dog to take the treat.

3 Now try it with a bar. Stand facing your dog, holding the bar between you.

Show your dog a treat held in your mouth, and instruct him “paws up.” As he

rests his paws on the bar, allow him to take the treat from your mouth, or, if

you prefer, spit it into his mouth.

FORWARD:

1 With your dog’s paws on the bar, tell him “forward” as you walk backward.

The height of the bar should cause your dog to be in a fairly upright position.

2 Select a cart or carriage of appropriate height for your dog. You may need to

add weight to the basket to prevent your dog from tipping it over. Cover the

grating under the handle with a towel to prevent the possibility of your dog’s

paws getting stuck in it. Stand to the side of the cart and hold it to prevent it

from rolling. Tap the handle and tell him “paws up.” Hold a treat in front of

him and coax him “forward.” Reward your dog for his first steps, and

remember to always give the reward while the dog is still in the correct

position, standing up.

3 Stand at the opposite end of the cart and use a treat near your dog’s nose to lure

him forward. Over time, lighten your grasp on the cart and soon your dog will

be shopping on his own!

WHAT TO EXPECT: A grassy surface works well for this trick, as it will slow

the cart down. Keep control of the cart during the learning process, as a slip

could cause significant setbacks.

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG KEEPS LOWERING HIS FRONT PAWS TO THE

GROUND

Use your treat as the “carrot,” holding it just inches from his nose as he

walks forward.

BUILD ON IT! Adapt tidy up your toys (page 46) to have your dog fill his

cart with groceries before wheeling off!

STEPS:

PAWS UP:

1 Hold a treat high as you tell your dog “paws up.”

2 Give the treat while both of your dog’s paw are up.

3 Transition to having your dog lift his paws to a bar.

Allow your dog to take a treat from your mouth.

FORWARD:

1 Walk backward.

2 Lure your dog’s paws up.

Move the treat to coax him forward.

3 Stand on the opposite side of the cart.

Over time, lighten your grasp.

Soon he’ll be shopping on his own!

expert

Bring Me a Tissue

TEACH IT:

Your sneeze is your dog’s cue to fetch a tissue from its box for you. When you

have finished with it, your dog can even toss it into the waste can.

FETCHING THE TISSUE:

1 Secure a box of tissues to a low table or the floor using duct tape. Wiggle the

exposed tissue and tell your dog to “take it” (page 24).

2 Move a little away from the tissue box. Point to it and say “Achoo! Fetch!”

Encourage your dog along the way, then instruct him to “give” (page 26) or

trade him a treat for the tissue.

3 Try it while sitting in a chair. Try moving the tissue box to different places.

Phase out the extraneous commands until your only cue is “Achoo!” Hold the

treat in your hand as you do the hand signal to keep your dog focused.

DISPOSING OF THE TISSUE:

4 While sitting in a chair with a wastebasket at your side, crumple the tissue and

hand it to your dog, saying “take it, throw it away.”

5 Point to the wastebasket with a treat in your pointing hand, while repeating

“throw it away.” As your dog comes closer to sniff the treat, instruct him to

“drop it” (page 26). When he drops the tissue, drop your treat into the

wastebasket and let him get it. By giving the treat in the wastebasket, he will

be eager to stick his nose in there, increasing his chances of dropping the

tissue in the correct place.

6 As your dog improves, move the wastebasket farther away.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Fetching the tissue is usually easier to teach than

disposing of it. Although the basics may be taught in a few weeks, performing

the trick with only one verbal cue will be more difficult. Just think of how

impressed your guests will be when you sneeze and your dog comes running in

with a tissue!

PREREQUISITES

Fetch/Take It (page 24) Drop it/Give (page 26)

TROUBLESHOOTING

WHILE I WAS OUT, MY DOG EMPTIED THE ENTIRE TISSUE

BOX!

Some dogs find this incredibly fun! Be thankful your playful pooch

hasn’t discovered the toilet paper roll!

MY DOG DROPS THE TISSUE

Go back and work on fetch (page 24). If your dog drops the fetch item,

do not pick it up, but rather encourage him to bring it the rest of the way

to you.

THE TISSUE STICKS TO MY DOG’S LIPS WHEN HE TRIES TO

THROW IT AWAY

The tighter you ball up the tissue, the easier it will be for your dog to

release it. You can also slip a rock into the tissue ball.

MY DOG TAKES THE TISSUE FROM THE BOX DIRECTLY TO

THE WASTE CAN

Make sure he sees your treat as you do your sneeze hand signal. Hold

eye contact draw him in to you.

STEPS:

FETCHING THE TISSUE:

1 Tape the tissue box to a table and have your dog “take it.”

2 Point to the box and say “achoo! Fetch!”

3 Sit in a chair and use your hand signal.

Trade your dog a treat for the tissue.

DISPOSING OF THE TISSUE:

4 Hand the crumpled tissue to your dog.

5 With a treat in your hand, point to the wastebasket.

Drop the treat in the wastebasket.

6 Move the wastebasket farther away.

Chapter 6 Let’s Play a Game!

G-o-a-l! The crowd goes wild as your canine athlete scores one for the

team! Nicknamed the Flying Fido, your dog will shoot, dunk, catch, and

block his way into the heart of your entire neighborhood once he learns how

to participate in your games. He’s sure to be the first one picked on your

team!

What do friends do on their weekends off? They play sports! Whether it’s

flag football in the park or foosball in the game room, sporting competition

has always been a shared bond between best buds. Now, with these tricks,

your canine companion can be included in your games.

Whether he’s partial to the pigskin, a fan of the free throw, or has a super

slap shot, your dog can learn the rules to these popular sports and play

alongside you.

Playing a game with your dog builds communication skills as well as

establishes rules that will penetrate throughout your relationship. Think of

yourself as a coach while teaching these tricks. Use energy and motivation in

equal parts with discipline and authority. The game should be a reward in

itself, and your dog will be required to follow rules in order to get this

reward. Be fair, be honest, and be patient. Every big-league star started in the

pee-wees and your dog will start there, too.

Let’s go outside and play!

intermediate

Soccer

VERBAL CUE

Soccer

TEACH IT:

Sports fans are sure to get a kick out of your superstar dog as he goes for the

goal by rolling a soccer ball into a net.

1 A treat ball toy sold in pet stores is a hollow plastic ball with a hole that, when

rolled, randomly releases treats. Fill it with kibble or goldfish crackers and

allow your dog a few days to play with it on his own. It will likely become a

favorite toy.

2 Point to an empty treat ball and tell your dog “soccer!” When he rolls the ball a

few feet, toss a treat near the ball for him to find.

3 Gradually require longer roll times before rewarding, and switch to rewarding

from your hand instead of tossing the treat.

4 Substitute a soccer ball, giving the same verbal cue and rewarding for a short

roll. Gradually build up the distance.

5 Is your dog ready to try a goal? Set a distinct line in front of the net, such as

the edge of a concrete surface next to a grass field. Run excitedly with your

dog and encourage him to push the ball past this line. When he does, reward

him immediately.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Dogs often learn to roll the treat ball on their own

quickly. There can be some confusion when transitioning to the soccer ball

requiring you to switch back and forth between the two. Practice daily and in a

few weeks your dog can be on his way to the World Cup!

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG SKINNED HIS NOSE!

With a brand new treat ball, or a very enthusiastic roller, a dog can

develop scratches on his nose. Check his nose often and inspect the ball

for snags.

MY DOG PAWS AT THE SOCCER BALL INSTEAD OF ROLLING

IT

Your dog is frustrated and not understanding what you want. Go back to

using the treat ball, but put only one kibble in it. Your dog will hear that

there is something in it, but the kibble will take a longer time to come

out. Reward your dog for rolling it with treats from your hand.

TIP! Freeze some chicken broth into ice cubes for a hot weather treat.

“Here’s my favorite game: chasing bumper. Here’s my other favorite game: chasing frisbee.”

STEPS:

1 Fill a treat ball with kibble.

Let your dog play with it on his own.

2 Using an empty treat ball, toss the treat to your dog when he rolls the ball.

3 Transition to rewarding from your hand.

4 Reward a short roll with a soccer ball.

5 Set a distinct goal line for your dog to cross.

advanced

Football

VERBAL CUE

Hike

TEACH IT:

Your dog will play both center and receiver as he hikes the football between his

legs and then goes long for the catch.

1 Drop a plush football in front of your dog and tell him to “hike!” He won’t

know what you want, but your excited tone will encourage him to try different

things: picking it up, dropping it, throwing it in the air, barking, bringing it to

you, pawing it. When he touches it with his paw, mark that instant by

exclaiming “good!” and quickly giving him a treat.

2 Gradually require him to paw harder at the football in order to earn the treat.

Continue to mark the instant he produced the desired behavior by exclaiming

“good hike!”

3 Chain several behaviors together: have him drop (page 26) the football, bow

(page 164), “hike,” and then catch (page 92) after you throw it. Your dog’s

possessiveness of his toy may lead him automatically to cover it with his paws

when doing his bow. If not, your dog will learn in time that “hike” comes after

“bow” and will cover the ball in preparation for this next cue.

WHAT TO EXPECT: This trick can be frustrating for you and your dog at the

beginning, as he needs to experiment with different behaviors until he stumbles

upon the desired one. Your timing in marking the instant he gives the behavior is

crucial. Have patience; with consistent training your dog could become a

gridiron great!

PREREQUISITES

Drop it (page 26)

Take a bow (page 164)

Hockey goalie (page 92)

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG’S HIKE LACKS FORCE

Some dogs tend to push the football through their legs rather than fling

it. Withhold treats until your dog gets frustrated and flings it hard. Then

give him a jackpot—a whole handful of treats!

TIP! Dog training is a lesson in self control—your self control.

STEPS:

1 Encourage your dog to play with a football and reward him for touching it with

his paw.

2 Require your dog to paw at it harder to earn the treat.

3 Play a game by having your dog drop it,

bow,

hike,

and catch!

expert

Basketball

VERBAL CUE

Dunk

TEACH IT:

Your dog will slam dunk the competition when he nets the basketball. Add a

second dog for competition, or challenge your friends!

1 Set the net of a toy basketball stand low enough that your dog can reach it

while standing on four paws. Toss a toy basketball for him to fetch (page 24).

2 Coax him toward a treat held against the backboard while telling him to

“dunk.”

3 As he reaches toward the treat, command him to “drop it” (page 26). He

should release the ball into the net as he opens his mouth for the treat.

4 At first, reward him for dropping the ball anywhere near the net. As he

improves, require a successful basket before rewarding.

5 Challenge your dog further by tapping the backboard instead of holding a treat

against it. As your dog progresses, the verbal cue “dunk” will come to mean

the entire action of fetching the ball and dropping it in the net.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Practice this trick ten times per session, keeping the

training energetic and fun. Within a few days you’ll likely see some progress.

Real athletes will be able to stand on their hind legs to reach a higher net. Now

that’s a slam dunk!

PREREQUISITES

Fetch (page 24)

Drop it (page 26)

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG’S BASKETBALL KEEPS MISSING THE NET

Your dog’s initial success in making the basket is largely dependent on

the timing and placement of your reward. Watch his head and hold the

treat in a location that will cause the ball to fall in the net when your

dog opens his mouth for the treat.

BUILD ON IT! Two nets, two dogs, and a bucket full of balls make a

rousing game of dog basketball!

TIP! The more it feels like a game, the more enthusiastic learner you will

have.

“I wear rubber boots when I do basketball halftime shows. They make me run funny and they’re

sticky.”

STEPS:

1 Toss a basketball for your dog to fetch.

2 Coax him toward a treat held against the backboard.

3 As he reaches for the treat, the ball should drop into the net.

5 Soon your dog will be slam dunking on his own!

easy

Hockey Goalie

VERBAL CUE

Catch

TEACH IT:

Your hockey goalie dog will ice the competition as he positions himself in front

of the net to catch anything whacked his way!

1 Most dogs will learn to catch on their own; we are now just associating a word

with that action. Select an object that is easy for your dog to catch, such as a

plush toy. Play keep-away with it for a minute, then toss it to your dog and say

“catch!” Praise him, repeating the cue “good catch, good catch.” Treats are not

used in this trick, as catching is a self-rewarding activity.

2 Have your dog sit (page 15), while you back up and toss the toy to him. Vary

the toys and balls, cueing “catch” each time.

3 Now it’s time to place the net behind your dog and whack the ball to him with

a hockey stick. You don’t want to hurt your dog, so use soft, easy to catch

balls that are too large to be swallowed.

4 After catching your shot, your dog will probably engage in a victory lap

around the yard. The trick now is to get him to position himself back in front

of the net. With a cleverly placed target object (page 145) in the center of the

net, cue him to touch the target. As soon as he does, yell “catch” and whack

the ball to him, which serves as his reward.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Ball-crazy dogs will play hockey goalie for hours. The

real work could very well be in honing your skills as a shooter!

PREREQUISITES

Target (page 145)

TROUBLESHOOTING

IS IT NORMAL FOR A DOG TO STAND THERE AND WATCH THE

BALL HIT HIM ON HIS HEAD?

This sometimes happens. You probably shouldn’t toss the ball directly

at him, just in case he’s not in a catching mood.

TIP! Tennis ball crazy? Excessive mouthing of tennis balls can cause

damaging tooth wear. Rubber balls are a better alternative.

STEPS:

1 Toss a plush toy for your dog and say, “catch!”

3 Incorporate the net and stick and hit a soft ball toward your dog.

4 Touching a target will bring him back in front of the net.

Reward your dog with another ball!

intermediate

Hide-and-Seek

VERBAL CUE

Find

[person’s name].

TEACH IT:

Your dog holds a stay while you find a hiding spot. Upon yelling a release word,

he comes looking for you!

1 Hide-and-seek is a game, not an obedience drill. Make it fun for your dog with

high energy and laughter! Position your dog in a sit-stay (page 15 and 18) and

walk to the other side of the room. Call your dog to come (page 19) and

reward him with a treat.

2 Again put your dog in a stay, and walk just outside the room. Call him

enthusiastically to “find [your name]” and praise and reward him when he

does.

3 Choose a more difficult hiding spot, such as behind a door. Call to him loudly

when you are settled in your spot. Your dog will use his keen canine nose to

sniff you out!

4 Is the game getting too easy for your dog? He can actually smell the path to

your hiding spot. Make it more difficult by walking into several rooms before

choosing your final spot.

WHAT TO EXPECT: This trick is a wonderful combination of fun and

learning! Discipline is practiced in your dog’s stays, and he gets to hone his

scent-tracking abilities. Most dogs love this game and will sniff you out quicker

than you can count to twenty!

PREREQUISITES

Stay (page 18) Come (page 19)

TROUBLESHOOTING

WHEN I LEAVE THE ROOM, MY DOG CHEATS AND BREAKS HIS

STAY!

Check back on him periodically and return him to his original spot if he

has moved. When your housemate is cooking dinner, set your dog in the

kitchen so his stay can be enforced.

BUILD ON IT! Switch the game around. Learn go hide (page 96) to have

your dog do the hiding while you seek.

TIP! This trick also helps your dog learn your name.

STEPS:

1 Position your dog in a sit-stay, and then call him to “come.”

Treat this like a game, and not an obedience drill.

2 Hide just outside the room and call to your dog to “find [your name]!”

Praise your dog for finding you.

3 Choose more difficult hiding places, such as behind a door.

advanced

Go Hide

VERBAL CUE

Go hide

TEACH IT:

When you tell your dog to “go hide,” he hides behind any object. A big dog

trying to hide behind a skinny pole is always good for a laugh!

1 This trick is picked up easiest by toy-motivated dogs. Get your dog excited

with a game of fetch (page 24).

2 Set a large object, such as an upturned picnic table, in your play area. Show

your dog a treat and tell him to “go hide” as you toss it behind the table. Praise

him for going behind the table, then immediately get his attention and toss his

toy into the yard. The toy serves as his reward, while the treat is merely used

to cause him to go to the correct place.

3 Wean off the treats as you just tell him to “go hide” and point to the table. Your

dog may only go half way to the table, in which case walk toward him as you

keep pointing and cueing. You may even have to walk all the way to the table

to get him to go behind it Don’t reward him with his toy until he is in the

correct spot. The toy is his incentive, and the more he wants it, the quicker he

will learn.

4 Once he is hiding behind the table, try other objects. Point to a tree or the

corner of a building and have him hide there.

WHAT TO EXPECT: You may have already witnessed this behavior in your

dog as he stalks prey. Toy-motivated dogs can be hiding within a few weeks.

Require your dog to be well hidden before getting his reward, or he will develop

a habit of peeking or inching forward.

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG ISN’T INTERESTED IN TOYS

Is he interested in treats? Have him hide and then toss a treat to him. Be

sure to toss the treat, rather than having him come back to you for it, as

that would encourage him to come out of his hiding spot.

TIP! Remove your sunglasses. Eye contact is key to training.

2 Toss a treat behind the table and tell your dog to “go hide.”

3 Wean off treats as you point to the table and say “go hide.”

Reward your dog with a toy.

intermediate

Which Hand Holds the Treat?

TEACH IT:

When presented with your two closed fists, your dog sniffs each and indicates

which hand holds the treat.

1 Using a treat with a strong smell, such as hot dogs, place it slightly exposed in

one of your two fists. Face your dog with your fists at his chest height. Ask

him “which hand?” and encourage him to “get it!”

2 When your dog shows interest in the correct hand, either by nosing it for a few

seconds or pawing it, say “good!” and open your hand to allow him to take the

treat. Repeat with the treat in the other hand.

3 If your dog shows interest in the wrong hand, tell him “whoops,” open that

hand to show him it is empty, and stop the trick. Wait 30 seconds before trying

again so that there are negative consequences to his incorrect choice.

4 Increase the difficulty by covering the treat entirely with your hand, while still

leaving an air hole for your dog to sniff.

5 Wait until your dog is consistently choosing the correct hand before changing

his indicator requirement from nosing your fist to pawing at it. Keep your fists

low to the ground. When your dog has indicated his choice with his nose, pull

your other hand back and encourage him to paw at your correct hand by

saying “get it!”

WHAT TO EXPECT: This trick involves two of your dog’s favorite things:

using his nose and getting treats! Dog’s usually catch on pretty quickly, but

achieving a high rate of accuracy will require your dog to calm down and take

this task seriously.

TROUBLESHOOTING

I THINK MY DOG IS JUST GUESSING

Overly zealous dogs will be in such a hurry to get the treat that they

paw at the first hand they see. Try holding your fists up above your

dog’s head so he can sniff them but not paw them. After he has sniffed

both, tell him to “wait,” lower your hands, and then ask “which hand?”

MY DOG SCRATCHES MY HAND

Let your dog know he hurt you by saying “ouch! Cut it out!” Gloves

may be helpful until he has mastered this trick.

BUILD ON IT! Once you’ve mastered which hand, increase the difficulty

by giving your dog three choices in shell game (page 102)!

TIP! Groom your dog often to help prevent skin disease.

1 Present your fists to your dog and encourage him to “get it!”

2 Reward your dog for showing interest in the correct hand.

intermediate

Easter Egg Hunt

VERBAL CUE

Scent

Find it

TEACH IT:

Your dog holds a sit-stay while you play Easter bunny, hiding colored eggs or

treats around the house. Release your dog to find as many as he can!

1 Place your dog in a sit-stay (page 15 and 18). Hold a treat to his nose and tell

him “scent” to indicate the scent he is to search. Place the treat a few feet

away on the floor and send him to “find it!” Praise him when he does.

2 Repeat this game again, placing the treat a little farther away. Always return to

your dog before releasing him from his stay as he may otherwise develop a

bad habit of sneaking while you are out of sight.

3 Place the treat out in the open, in the next room. Many dogs will use this

opportunity to try to sneak into your room (thinking you won’t notice!). Have

a friend monitor your dog, or return to him frequently to ensure he stays put.

If your dog seems confused, encourage him by running with him toward the

treat. Increase the difficulty of hiding places as your dog improves. Monitor

his success, as you don’t want him to become frustrated and give up. Try

hiding spots higher off the ground, such as on a coffee table or stairs.

4 Hide several treats around the house at one time, and see how many your dog

can find.

5 Try this game with a colored egg or ball. Hold the ball to your dog’s nose and

tell him “scent.” Hide it in an easy spot, and when he finds it encourage him to

bring it back to you for his treat.

WHAT TO EXPECT: This is a favorite trick for dogs, as they love to use their

nose and enjoy the hunt! Vegetables as hidden treats offer a low-calorie

alternative and are just as much fun. You can expect your pooch to catch on to

the concept within a week.

PREREQUISITES

Stay (page 18)

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG GIVES UP TOO QUICKLY

The object is not to outwit your dog, but to make him successful.

Progress slowly so your dog builds confidence in his ability. Over time,

he will enjoy greater challenges. Strong smelling treats will also be

easier to find.

CAN I PLAY THIS WITH EASTER EGGS?

Absolutely! Show your dog an egg as you tell him to “scent,” and send

him on his way. Be warned—the eggs may be eaten before they make it

into the basket!

TIP! Consistently hide eight treats before dinnertime. Your dog will come to

inherently know the number of treats to be found, and you will have several

minutes of peace while preparing his dinner.

“I looooove this game! I know all the hiding places and can find all the treats before my owner is

finished making my dinner.”

STEPS:

1 Hold a treat to your dog’s nose and tell him “scent.”

Place the treat a few feet away.

Send your dog to “find it!”

3 Place the treat in the next room and run with him to find it.

4 Hide several treats and see how many your dog can find.

5 Hide a ball instead of a treat.

Reward your dog for bringing the ball back.

expert

Ring Toss

VERBAL CUE

Ring it

TEACH IT:

Your dog maneuvers rings onto an upright pole.

1 Introduce your dog to the pole by tapping it and saying “target” (page 145).

Practice the target skill a few times by rewarding your dog each time he

touches the pole.

2 Plastic diving rings can be purchased at pool supply stores. Hand your dog a

ring and have him take it (page 24). You’ll want him to hold the north side of

the ring, with it circling his chin.

3 With the ring in his mouth, cue your dog to touch the target.

4 Once your dog is able to touch the target while holding the ring in his mouth,

offer his treat near the top of the pole and instruct him to drop it (page 26).

Reward your dog for dropping the ring anywhere near the pole.

5 As your dog improves, reward him only for dropping the ring onto the pole.

Tap the pole to focus his attention and lure his head forward with a treat until

the bottom of the ring catches on the pole. Tell him to “drop it” and

immediately praise him and give him the treat if the ring lands on the pole. If

the ring misses the pole, say “whoops!” and try again.

6 Once your dog has mastered this skill, ask him to pick up the ring from the

ground or from another pole instead of from your hand. He might pick it up

holding the south side of the ring, which will probably cause him to miss the

pole. Through trial and error he will discover on his own that he needs to hold

the north side. If he does pick up the south side, he will learn to relax his grip,

allowing the ring to swivel downward. Dogs are very smart!

WHAT TO EXPECT: Although this trick looks incredibly difficult, dogs often

pick it up easier than you would expect! Practice only about five times per

session in the beginning, as it can be frustrating for your dog. Remember to end

with a successful attempt.

PREREQUISITES

Take it (page 24)

Target (page 145)

Drop it (page 26)

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG GETS THE RING ON THE POLE, BUT IMMEDIATELY

TAKES IT OFF AGAIN

Your dog is excited and forgetting to let go of the ring. When he gets

the ring partially on the pole, hold your finger to the top of the pole to

prevent him from removing the ring. He’ll quickly get the idea.

BUILD ON IT! This skill can be translated into dropping a coin into a piggy

bank or maneuvering the ring onto your extended arm.

STEPS:

1 Identify the pole as the target.

4 Offer a treat near the top of the pole.

2 Hand your dog the ring by its north side.

5 Focus his attention to the pole until the bottom of the ring catches.

Instruct him to “drop it.”

Reward your dog for getting the ring on the pole.

6 Have your dog pick up the ring from another pole.

Vary the trick by holding the pole yourself.

expert

Shell Game

VERBAL CUE

Find it!

TEACH IT:

In this classic con game, a pea is placed beneath one of three shells. After the

con man quickly shuffles the shells, the audience bets on which one hides the

pea. No sleight of hand can trick your nosy dog as he sniffs out the pea!

1 Start with just one clay flower pot on the floor. Rub the inside with a treat to

give it lots of scent. Let your dog watch as you place a treat on the floor and

cover it with the pot. Encourage him to “find it!” (page 98.) When he noses or

paws the pot, praise him and lift it to reward him with the treat.

2 After your dog catches on, which shouldn’t take long, hold the pot in place and

keep encouraging him until he paws at it. Tap his wrist or use the word

“shake” (page 23) to give him the idea to use his paw. Reward any paw

contact by lifting the pot. Strive for a soft paw indication and do not allow

your dog to tip the pot over by himself.

3 Add two more pots and mark the scented one so you don’t forget! In a soft

voice, tell your dog to “find it!” Tap the first pot to direct his nose there, and

then the second, and third. If your dog paws at an incorrect pot, do not lift it,

but rather say “whoops” and encourage him to keep looking. Use the pitch of

your voice to calm your dog as he diligently sniffs each pot and to excite him

when he shows interest in the correct one. If your dog loses interest, quickly

lift and set back down the correct pot to show him the treat. Hold the pots

firmly in place while your dog sniffs to prevent him from pawing one over by

himself.

4 Place the pots on a low table for an added challenge. Place a treat under one

and shift them all around. Your dog should indicate the correct cup with a soft

paw.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Scenting tricks can be mentally tiring for your dog. Be

gentle with your negative feedback. Only practice a few times per session and

end with a successful attempt.

PREREQUISITES

Easter egg hunt (page 98)

Helpful: Which hand (page 97)

Helpful: Shake hands (page 22)

TROUBLESHOOTING

CAN I USE CUPS INSTEAD OF FLOWER POTS?

Clay flower pots work well because their weight and shape prevent

them from overturning too easily. Convenient scent holes encourage

your dog to sniff the top instead of the base, reducing sliding across the

table—cups can overturn or smash when pawed.

TIP! Monitor the amount of treats you give and deduct it from your dog’s

dinner.

STEPS:

1 Place a treat under a pot. Lift it when your dog noses it.

2 Hold the pot in place until your dog paws at it.

3 Add two more pots. Hold them in place and direct your dog to sniff each.

Quickly show him the treat if he loses interest.

4 Shuffle the pots on a low table.

Your dog should indicate the correct pot with a soft paw.

intermediate

Dog on Point

VERBAL CUE

Point

TEACH IT:

Pointing prey is an instinctive behavior that you may have already observed in

your dog. When on point, the dog’s stance is frozen with body outstretched and

tense, erect tail, alert ears, and foreleg lifted with foot curled slightly into their

body.

1 Rather than training this trick during your normal training session, be

observant of a time when your dog exhibits this behavior naturally. If you

catch him staring intently at a bird, tense your body and crouch down to

further engage his pack hunting instinct. In a low voice, build his intensity by

saying “what is it? Are you gonna get it?” Move in close but do not attempt to

go ahead of him, as this can cause him to break. Your goal is to keep him in

this intense position as long as possible.

2 Train outdoors as it is a more stimulating environment. Toss around your dog’s

favorite ball to build his drive. Hold him by his collar and toss the ball several

yards. Use as few words as possible so as not to distract him while you get

him to stay (page 18) while standing.

3 Walk over to the ball while keeping your eyes on your dog, enforcing his stay.

Bat the ball around to pique his interest. Release your dog with “OK!” to

pounce on his prey. Because his release will come at random times, he will

learn to tense his body and point in anticipation of the pounce.

4 As your dog improves at holding point, encourage good form by stroking the

underside of his tail and tapping his paw.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Sporting dogs and high prey-drive dogs will take to this

trick easiest, while gentle dogs may never show the intensity required to attain a

rigid point.

PREREQUISITES

Helpful: Stay (page 18)

TROUBLESHOOTING

WON’T THIS ENCOURAGE MY DOG TO CHASE SMALL

ANIMALS?

Pointing and chasing are two different things. Seeking and pointing are

self-rewarding activities, and the chase need not be involved.

1 Notice when your dog naturally stares and build his intensity.

2 Hold your dog’s collar as you toss his toy.

4 Encourage good form.

easy

3-2-1 Let’s Go!

VERBAL CUE

3-2-1 let’s go!

TEACH IT:

You and your dog hold your mark as you count down from three. On the cue of

“let’s go!” you race off together shouting and barking and causing household

havoc!

1 When your dog is in a happy and excited mood, hold him by his collar at your

left side. Crouch down as if you are about to sprint and in a suspense-building

drawn-out tone say “threeeeee…”

2 Your dog will likely be very excited and try to break away. Hold his collar and

tell him to stay (page 18). Use a coaching tone, as opposed to a commanding

tone, as you want to keep him excited for the release.

3 Continue on with “twoooooo…. ooooooone…” and then release his collar

shouting “let’s go!” and sprinting away from him. No treats are necessary as

this is a self-rewarding game.

4 Require your dog to stay during the “3-2-1” without holding his collar. If he

breaks, stop the game and order him back. Start over with “3.”

WHAT TO EXPECT: The intelligent (and conniving) animals that they are,

dogs often learn the pattern of “3-2-1 …” and take off a half second before your

cue! It’s a good exercise in discipline to enforce the stay.

PREREQUISITES

Stay (page 18)

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG GETS CRAZY EXCITED!

Dogs can go bonkers with this game and can hurt themselves or you

with their wild abandon so be smart about your surroundings. Use this

game to amp up your dog up before an agility competition or to

encourage more exercise.

4 Require your dog to stay as you say “threeeeee…”

“twoooooo…. ooooooone…”

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Chapter 7 Jumping and Catching

Teamwork is the name of the game as you and your partner perform

synchronized jumps and catches. You’ll learn to trust and read each other as

you work collaboratively to execute a stunt. The rewards are in the journey

and the successes are measured in the smiles, barks, and tail wags of you and

your best bud.

Dogs love to jump—it’s an exhilarating and self-rewarding behavior.

Jumping and catching tricks are impressive to the onlooker as they showcase

your dogs’speed, grace, coordination, and athleticism. A jumping dog is a

happy dog, and people can’t help being inspired by his zest for life!

Jumping is also a strenuous behavior, and a painful one if the dog is not at a

high fitness level or has health problems or injuries. Keep a close eye toward

signs of discomfort, and remember to stretch, warm-up, and cool-down your

dog. Do not encourage him to jump higher than he can achieve with

moderate effort, and control his form so that he jumps and lands straight and

close to horizontally.

easy

Jump Over a Bar

VERBAL CUE

Hup or jump

TEACH IT:

Your dog will learn to jump over a bar.

1 Set up a bar jump or create a homemade version out of two chairs and a

broomstick. For safety reasons, the bar should release if hit. Set the bar to a

low height: 3”–6” (7.5–15 cm) for small dogs and 12”–18” (30.5–46 cm) for

medium-sized dogs.

2 With your dog on a lead, run with him toward the jump. Give an enthusiastic

“hup!” as you jump over the bar with him and praise him for his success. A

treat may be given, however most dog enjoy the jump on its own. If your dog

is reluctant, lower the bar to the ground and walk over it with him. Avoid

pulling him over the jump, and give him plenty of encouragement.

3 As your dog’s confidence improves, gradually raise the bar. Try sending your

dog over the jump from different positions. Put your dog in a stay (page 18),

and call him from the opposite side of the jump. Or stand on the side of the

jump and wave him over. Have your dog do figure 8’s over the jump: jump

forward, circle the left side and back to you, jump forward, circle the right

side and back to you.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Most dogs enjoy jumping and will take to it easily if

given positive feedback. Within a few days, your dog can be a jumper!

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG TRIPPED ON THE BAR AND IS NOW SCARED OF IT

Much of his memory of this episode will be determined by your

reaction. Encourage your dog to “walk it off” and in the future make

sure the bar has a release and the ground is not slippery. Instead of a

leash that can become tangled, use a tab—a short lightweight rope.

BUILD ON IT! Build on this skill to teach jump over my back (page 110).

2 Run with your leashed dog over the jump.

3 Gradually raise the height of the bar.

Stand on the opposite side of the jump and call your dog over.

easy

Jump Over My Knee

VERBAL CUE

Hup

TEACH IT:

As you kneel on the floor, your dog jumps over your raised thigh.

1 With your dog on your left, kneel on the ground with your right leg

outstretched. Rest your foot against a wall. Lure your dog over your leg with a

treat. Tell him “hup!” as he moves over your leg. If he attempts to go under

your leg, move your leg lower.

2 Raise your leg up a little higher. Your dog may be tempted to cross near your

ankle as that is the lowest spot, so keep your treat close to your body to tempt

him in that direction. An enthusiastic voice will stimulate a higher jump!

3 Kneel with your thigh horizontal and your knee against the wall. If your dog

tries to go under your leg, lure him slowly so that he first places his front paws

on your thigh. Allow him to nibble the treat from this position, then move the

treat farther away from him and use an enthusiastic “hup!” to coax him to

jump the rest of the way.

4 Move away from the wall and use a sweeping motion of your right arm to

signal your dog to jump over your knee.

WHAT TO EXPECT: This is a fun trick for your dog, and one that can be

achieved by most dogs. Practice when your dog is full of energy and he should

get the hang of it in a week or two!

BUILD ON IT! Jumping over your knee is the first step in learning jump

into my arms (page 112)!

TIP! Have your dog circle behind you (page 166) in preparation for a

second jump.

1 Lure your dog over your outstretched leg.

2 Raise higher and tell your dog to “hup!”

3 Kneel with your knee against the wall.

advanced

Jump Over My Back

TEACH IT:

In an impressive show of athleticism and teamwork, your dog jumps over your

crouched back.

1 Stand next to the upright while you have your dog jump over a bar (page

108). Set the bar height to about 24” (61 cm).

2 This time, crouch down next to the upright.

3 Kneel on your hands and knees under the bar and instruct your dog to jump. If

he is reluctant, have a friend encourage him over. If your dog has trouble at

any point learning this trick, go back to the previous step.

4 Remove the bar from jump, but keep yourself positioned between the uprights.

Alternate jumps with the bar and without it.

5 Continuing in the same training session, lay the uprights down and have your

dog jump you again.

6 Remove the jump entirely. If your dog seems confused, hold the bar across

your back as a visual cue.

7 Once your dog is comfortable jumping over your body, move away from him

and stand with your back to him, arms extended. Look back at him and call

“hup!” As your dog runs toward you, wait until the last second to crouch

down. Very impressive!

WHAT TO EXPECT: Athletic dogs can be jumping over you within a few

weeks. Be sure your dog has good traction and is jumping with control. Send

him to a target (page 145) after each jump to keep his trajectory straight. A few

repetitions of this trick per day are enough to keep up your dog’s skills without

overdoing the stress on his body.

PREREQUISITES

Jump over a bar (page 108)

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG IS LAUNCHING OFF MY BACK

Some dogs prefer to jump on your back on their way over while over

while other dogs will do anything to avoid touching your back. Work in

collaboration with your dog to develop the method that works best for

the both of you.

BUILD ON IT! Build on this skill to learn summersault/handstand vault

(page 114)!

TIP! Have a training goal for each session.

STEPS:

1 Send your dog over a 24” (61 cm) bar jump.

3 Kneel under the bar. Have a friend encourage your dog over if he seems

reluctant.

2 Crouch next to the upright as your dog jumps.

4 Stay in position but remove the bar.

5 Lay the uprights down.

6 Remove the jump but hold the bar across your back as a visual cue.

intermediate

Jump into My Arms

TEACH IT:

Your dog jumps toward your chest as you catch him in mid-air.

FORWARD JUMP (SMALL DOGS):

1 Sit in a chair and encourage your dog to jump into your lap by patting your

thighs and saying “hup!” A toy or treat should help motivate him. Be sure to

catch him securely and praise and reward him while in your lap. If your dog

enjoys being held, this can be his reward.

2 Gradually straighten up out of the chair. Press your back against a wall so your

dog is confident in your stability as he uses your thighs as a push-off platform.

3 As your dog gains confidence, move away from the wall. Continue to bend

your knees slightly to provide a ramp for your dog’s jump. Be sure to catch

him securely every time.

PREREQUISITES

Jump over my knee (page 109)

TROUBLESHOOTING

I DROPPED MY DOG!

Your dog is putting a lot of trust in you and needs to feel confident you

will catch him securely. Go back to the basics and take care to catch

him securely every time.

MY DOG DOESN’T HAVE ENOUGH ENERGY

If your dog is toy motivated, this will often inspire more enthusiasm

than food. Tease him with a toy, and when he jumps, toss the toy a few

inches and catch him!

TIP! You get enthusiasm by giving enthusiasm.

1 Encourage your dog into your lap.

Praise him while there.

2 Lean against a wall for support.

3 Bend your knees slightly.

STEPS:

SIDEWAYS JUMP (SMALL OR LARGE DOGS):

1 Have your dog jump over your knee (page 109). Your dog should be on your

left with your right knee raised. Hold your right hand high and away as a

target for your dog, and use a toy if that helps.

2 Rise up slightly so your back knee is off the ground.

3 Continue to rise until you are in a position that causes your dog to jump high

enough to be caught. When your dog is at the apex of his jump, lightly touch

him with both hands in the position that will later become your catching grasp.

Do not attempt a full catch the first time, as it will startle your dog. Increase

the pressure and duration of your grasp, concentrating on carrying him

through the path of his arc and releasing him to the ground.

4 Finally, catch your dog at the highest point of his jump, continuing to swing in

the direction of his travel so as not to jolt him. Be sure his weight is

distributed and excessive pressure is not caused on his neck or belly.

WHAT TO EXPECT: This trick requires a good amount of physical energy

from your dog, as well as confidence in your ability to support him. Some

dog/owner combinations may never be able to work this trick out.

1 Have your dog jump over your knee.

2 Raise your back knee off the ground.

3 Lightly touch him as he jumps.

4 Catch your dog at the apex of his jump.

expert

Summersault/Handstand Vault

VERBAL CUE

Summersault

TEACH IT:

This spectacular trick requires precise synchronization and complete trust as you

execute a summersault or a handstand while your dog vaults between your legs.

SUMMERSAULT:

1 Your dog already knows how to jump over your back (page 110) from behind

you. Work with him now to jump the opposite direction. Face your dog and

crouch down, arms extended, head bowed but tilted so you can make eye

contact.

2 Add a slow-motion summersault. Walk toward your dog, arms raised straight

up in the position that will later serve as your hand signal. Crouch down and

tell your dog “summersault, hup!” After he jumps you put your hands on the

ground, shoulder width apart, set your head between your hands with your

chin tucked toward your chest, and roll forward. Practice this step several

weeks before moving forward, as a collision with your dog could set him back

significantly.

3 Your dog is now going to be asked to jump you while you are in mid-roll. He

will need to calculate speed and distance and may not be successful at first.

Remove your shoes in case of a collision. Keep your summersault slow but

continuous. If your dog bails from the jump, try it again and praise him

profusely when he is successful.

4 Finally, split your legs into a V for your dog to jump through! Your dog may at

first be caught off guard when your legs separate, and collide with them.

Teach him this configuration by starting your summersault in a straddle and

keeping your legs split all the way through.

PREREQUISITES

Jump over my back (page 110)

BUILD ON IT! Have your dog carry a baton (page 116) while jumping!

TIP! Wear protective gear when performing the handstand.

1 Face your dog as he jumps your body.

2 Finish a summersault after your dog has jumped you.

3 Try rolling while your is dog jumping.

HANDSTAND:

1 Practice a solo handstand; start in a lunge, hands extended up and slightly

forward. Push with your front leg as your hands go to the ground and your

back leg conversely goes up. Your feet should meet pointing toward the sky,

then separate them into a wide V for your dog to jump through. Lower your

head to the ground, tuck your chin toward your chest, and roll forward to

finish.

2 Remove your shoes! Starting with a summersault vault, work incrementally to

create a higher and higher summersault. Your first handstands should have

your head lowering to the ground before your feet ever get straight up.

WHAT TO EXPECT: There will be few dog/trainer pairs that can pull this trick

off. There are issues of size, jumping ability, confidence, and trust. If this is one

you can master, you’ll have the flashiest trick in town!

1 To perform a handstand, start in a lunge,

connect feet straight up,

lower your head and tuck your chin,

roll forward,

and finish.

advanced

Baton Jumping

VERBAL CUE

Hup Baton

TEACH IT:

Your dog jumps over your baton while holding one of his own. Creative

positions can turn this trick into a real circus act!

1 Warm up with your dog jumping over a bar (page 108). Stand alongside the

jump and use a sweeping motion with the arm farthest from your dog to signal

him over.

2 Remove the jump and hold just the bar parallel to the ground using the arm

closest to your dog. Cue him to “hup” and lure him over with a treat in your

other hand. If your dog tries to go around the bar, hold the other end against a

wall.

3 Experiment with changing your body positions after every jump in a sequence

of jumps. Decorate your bar or use a flashy baton.

4 Make a baton for your dog to hold. Select an object that your dog holds

willingly in his mouth. A length of hose or irrigation tubing wrapped with

colorful electrical tape works well, as does a tennis ball–textured throwing

stick sold at pet stores. Associate the word “baton” with this object and have

your dog take it (page 25) and hold his baton while he jumps!

WHAT TO EXPECT: Your dog can learn the basics of baton jumping in a few

weeks. However, every new body position will require a learning period as you

and your dog figure out the logistics. This collaborative effort is a true bonding

experience.

PREREQUISITES

Jump over a bar (page 108) Take it (page 25)

TIP! Your dog’s safety comes first. Take a moment to survey the area,

inspect your props, check for injuries, and consider anything that could go

wrong.

“Sometimes, I don’t want to hold my baton so I spit it out. Sometimes, I hold the very end from the

corner of my mouth.”

STEPS:

1 Use a sweeping motion to send your dog over the bar.

2 Hold the bar against a wall and lure your dog over.

3 Use a flashy baton and experiment with different body positions.

4 Make an easy-to-hold baton for your dog.

expert

Jump Rope

VERBAL CUE

Hup

TEACH IT:

In the same way that you jump rope, your dog hops the rope as it is swung.

Have two people hold the ends of the rope, or hold them both yourself as you

jump with your dog.

1 Position your dog on a doormat or piece of carpet. Practice jump for joy (page

175) with your dog landing on the mat. Gradually work farther away from

your dog, so you are able to stand several feet away while he continues to

jump on the mat.

2 Using a 7’ (2 m), loose, lightweight rope, affix one end to an object at waist

height. With your dog on the mat, slowly swing the rope back and forth to

accustom your dog to it.

3 Cue your dog to jump for joy and attempt to swing the rope beneath him. Do

not attempt a complete rotation with the rope. At first, reward your dog for

jumping, whether or not the rope was successfully passed beneath him. Your

dog will have to learn the rhythm of the rope. In the meantime, the timing of

your cue will be essential to a successful jump.

4 Once your dog is able to clear the rope, it’s time to add a second swing! If your

dog has a long air time, or is shorter in body, you can swing the rope slower.

Concentrate on swinging the rope low and sweeping it beneath him.

WHAT TO EXPECT: This trick can take the quickest learner months to

achieve. Synchronization is key to your success, and it will take time for you and

your dog to get on the same wavelength. Practice in short sessions, keep up the

enthusiasm, and one day you’ll find your dog is jumping rope! Once you’ve

mastered a fixed-end rope jump, try holding both ends yourself, with your dog

facing you.

PREREQUISITES

Jump for joy (page 175)

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG JUMPS TOWARD ME AND OFF THE MAT

As he takes off to jump, make a move toward him, crowding him back.

Reward him for landing on the mat.

MY DOG ISN’T JUMPING HIGH ENOUGH TO CLEAR THE ROPE

Try practicing with a hula hoop or stick. Your dog will feel it bump his

ankles when he doesn’t jump high enough.

STEPS:

1 Practice jump for joy landing on a mat.

2 Familiarize your dog with the rope.

3 Cue jump for joy and swing the rope beneath your dog.

4 Add a second swing—or a second dog!

easy

Beginning Disc Dog

VERBAL CUE

Frisbee or catch

TEACH IT:

Your dog’s prey drive is engaged as he chases and catches a flying disc.

1 Use a flying disc specifically designed for a dog, such as a Hyperflite® or

Frisbee® Fastback brand soft plastic disc, or a flexible Aerobie® Dogobie or

Soft Bite Floppy Disc®. Hard plastic toy discs could injure your dog’s mouth

and teeth. Hold it parallel to the ground, fingers curled under the inside edge,

with your index finger slightly extended. With shoulders perpendicular to your

target, pull the disc across your body, take a step toward your target, and bring

your arm across your body. Snap your elbow and wrist just before you release

the disc.

2 Do not allow your dog free access to his disc—keep it hidden away to increase

its desirability. When your dog is in a playful mood, spin the upside-down

disc in circles. When he shows interest, throw a “roller”—rolling the disc

along its edge like a wheel. End the play session while your dog’s interest is

still high.

3 Once your dog is chasing the disc, encourage him to bring it back to you by

clapping your hands and calling to him to come (page 19). If he does not

come, do not chase him but rather turn your back and ignore him.

4 Teach your dog to catch the disc in midair by throwing it in a low, flat

trajectory. Do not throw it directly at your dog.

5 Your dog needs to drop (page 26) the disc after he returns to you. Try using

two identical discs and throwing the second as soon as he drops the first.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Don’t be discouraged if your dog does not immediately

master an airborne catch, as it could take months to establish this coordination.

Dogs under fourteen months should not be jumping for the disc, and all dogs

should be checked by a veterinarian to ensure soundness. Dogs should jump in

such a way that they land with four paws on the ground, rather than vertically,

which can stress their spine and rear knees.

BUILD ON IT! Increase the difficulty by learning disc vault off my leg

(page 122)!

TIP! 30 to 50 pound herding breeds are natural disc doggers!

“I like to chase my Frisbee. I jump up and chomp it. Gotcha!”

STEPS:

1 Good throwing form will send the disc in a low, flat, trajectory. Hold it parallel

to the ground, fingers curled under the inside edge, with your index finger

slightly extended.

2 Spin the disc to attract your dog’s interest.

Roll the disc along its edge.

4 Teach your dog to catch a disc in midair.

advanced

Disc Vault off My Leg

TEACH IT:

Your dog catapults off your raised thigh to catch a flying disc.

1 The first step is to combine two skills that your dog already knows: jump over

your knee (page 109) and catch a disc (page 120). Assuming you are right

handed, kneel with your dog on your left side and your right leg raised. Use

your right hand to tap the disc on your thigh and then hold it high and to your

right, encouraging your dog to use your thigh as a jumping platform to reach

the disc.

2 Once your dog is vaulting off your leg and taking the disc from your hand,

start making small tosses. Remember to first tap your thigh with the disc to

signal your dog.

3 Stand flamingo style, with your heel against your lower thigh. Start with your

dog taking the disc from your hand and work up to small tosses. Now he’s

really getting air!

WHAT TO EXPECT: This trick requires accurate timing and placement of the

disc, and it will be a learning process for both you and your dog. Keep your

dog’s motivation high by quitting with him still wanting more!

PREREQUISITES

Beginning disc dog (page 120) Jump over my knee (page 109)

BUILD ON IT! Once you’ve mastered leg vault, try a chest vault or back

vault!

TIP! A thigh wrap from a sporting goods store will protect you from

scratches.

STEPS:

1 With your dog on your left, raise your right knee.

Have him lunge off your knee, grabbing the disc.

2 Start making small tosses.

3 Stand flamingo style for a greater challenge.

Chapter 8 Jumping through Hoops

Flaming hoops of death (actually hula hoops adorned with orange ribbon)

are no match for your courageous canine, as he leaps and flies with

confidence through spinning and rolling and paper-covered hoops!

The great thing about hoops is that any dog can learn tricks that use them

and, with a little imagination, there is no end to the variety of tricks that can

be composed with them: rolling hoops, circled arms for hoops, hoops lying

on the ground, hoops over your back, under hoops, over hoops, little hoops,

big hoops, and even two hoops!

Once learned, your dog will remember this skill forever. Dogs easily make

the connection between other circular objects, such as the tire obstacle in the

sport of agility and even your circled arms. Wherever you are, you can

improvise a circle and delight your friends!

easy

Hoop Jump

VERBAL CUE

Hup

TEACH IT:

Your dog jumps through a hoop, either fixed in place or handheld.

1 Remove the noisy beads within a toy hula hoop to make it less frightening for

your dog. Hold the hoop on the ground with the hand closest to your dog, tell

him “hup,” and lure him through with a treat in your other hand. Praise him

when he is through the hoop and allow him to have the treat. Some dogs are

frightened to go through the hoop for the first time, in which case you can lead

him through with a leash. To prevent your dog from going around the hoop,

try placing it in a doorway.

2 As your dog gets the idea, begin to raise the hoop off the floor. Dogs

sometimes get tangled in the hoop, so be prepared to release it if you feel

resistance.

3 Assuming your dog has the physical ability, raise the hoop again so that your

dog must jump to get through it. Try giving him a running start or use your

hand on the opposite side of the hoop to lure him upward. To reduce the risk

of injury associated with your dog turning in midair, make a habit of tossing

the treat in front of your dog rather than having him return to you for it.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Dogs usually get the hang of hoop jumping within a few

weeks and do it enthusiastically. Decorate your hoop and use creative positions

to enhance your performance.

TROUBLESHOOTING

THE HOOP FELL ON MY DOG AND NOW HE IS FRIGHTENED OF

IT!

Dogs pick up on your energy. Don’t coddle your dog, just proceed with the

lesson.

TIP! End your session on a happy note—ask you dog for a trick he already

knows, and reward him for his brilliance!

1 Lure your dog through with a treat.

2 Raise the hoop off the floor.

3 Toss the treat as your dog jumps.

intermediate

Jump through My Arms

TEACH IT:

Your dog jumps through a large circle formed by your arms.

1 Warm up with a few hoop jumps (page 125).

2 Gradually widen your arms around the hoop as your dog continues his jumps.

Be careful to keep your head out of the way.

3 Continuing in the same session, set aside the hoop and cue your dog to jump

through your arms only. A larger dog may require your hands to be

disconnected. If your dog resists, go back to using the hoop.

4 Be creative; your dog can learn to jump through circles made with your arms

or legs.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Dogs often take two steps forward and one step back

with this trick. They may jump through your arms on the first day, but may

require you to pick up the hoop the next day for a refresher.

PREREQUISITE

Hoop jump (page 125)

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG IS TOO BIG TO FIT THROUGH MY ARMS

Widen your arms to allow space between your hands, or hold a flying

disc or rope between your hands.

MY DOG JUMPS THROUGH THE HOOP, BUT IS RELUCTANT TO

JUMP THROUGH MY ARMS

Some dogs are apprehensive about jumping close to your arms and

head. Try alternating between the hoop and arm circles.

BUILD ON IT! Once he’s mastered jump through my arms, it’s only a

short leap for your dog to learn hoop jump over my back (page 132)!

TIP! If your dog accidentally hurts you, don’t let on! He’ll be reluctant to

perform a trick he fears might injure you.

STEPS:

1 Warm up with hoop jumps.

2 Widen your arms around the hoop.

Keep your head out of the way as you widen your arms further.

4 Form circles with other body parts.

advanced

Double Hoop Sequence

VERBAL CUE

Hup

TEACH IT:

Your dog runs circles around you jumping hoops in each of your arms.

HOOP CIRCLE:

1 With your dog facing you, hold treats in your left hand behind your back, and a

hoop in your right hand to your side. Tell your dog to “hup” and reward him

with a treat from your left hand behind your back.

2 Pass the hoop to your left side and tell your dog to “hup” again, this time

rewarding him in front of you from your right hand (a treat bag at your waist

is convenient).

3 Introduce a second hoop. Without a free hand to guide your dog, the turn of

your head will signal the correct hoop. Lean your left hoop on the front of

your legs, and hold your right hoop to your side. Look toward the right hoop

and move it slightly to emphasize it over the other hoop. Instruct your dog to

jump through, and when he does, say “good” but do not offer a treat. Instead,

immediately lower your right hoop to lean on the front of your legs and hold

out the left hoop, turning your head in that direction and coaching your dog to

go through. When he goes through your left hoop, give him a treat (it’s OK to

drop the hoops at this point).

4 When you are ready to try three jumps in succession, help your dog with his

third jump by holding your right hoop angled in toward him after his second

jump. Remember, your head turn will help guide him to the correct hoop.

Always end the sequence with your dog passing through the left hoop, as you

have eye contact in this position and will have fewer surprises.

PREREQUISITES

Hoop jump (page 125)

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG KNOCKS THE HOOPS EACH TIME, INSTEAD OF

JUMPING CLEANLY

Your dog is cheating the jump. Take a step away from him right before

he jumps, to encourage a powerful take-off.

TIP! Your dog always starts at your left, which means his hoop circle will be

clockwise.

“Sometimes, I perform at the circus and wear a sparkly cape. There’s lots of peanuts at the circus. I

like peanuts.”

STEPS:

1 Hold the hoop at your right and give a treat behind your back.

2 Pass the hoop to your left side and reward in front.

3 Lean the left hoop against your legs.

Lean the right hoop against your legs.

4 Angle your right hoop for the third jump.

VERBAL CUE

Hup

TEACH IT:

Your dog crossing back-and-forth jumping hoops as you walk.

HOOP WEAVE:

1 This trick will look a lot like a leg weave (page 170). Start your dog on your

left side as you use your right hand to hold a hoop against the front of your

right thigh. Step with your right leg as you tell your dog to “hup!”

2 Immediately transfer the hoop to your left hand and hold it against your left

thigh as you take a step. If your dog has trouble jumping in this direction, use

your right hand to hold the hoop (still against your left thigh) and lure your

dog through with a treat in your left hand. Practice until your dog can do a

sequence of back-and-forth jumps as you walk forward.

3 It’s time to introduce a second hoop. With your dog on your left, have your left

hoop pressed against the front of your body so that your dog is seeing only its

edge. Extend your right hoop forward on your right leg and have your dog

jump through. As soon as he is through, reverse hoop positions to have your

right hoop pressed against the front of your body as you take a step with your

left foot.

4 Finally, keep both hoops parallel as you extend first one and then the other

hoop while walking. Keep the nonactive hoop centered against its closest leg,

so that your dog cannot jump through it.

WHAT TO EXPECT: As you train these tricks you will likely realize how

debilitating it is to not have a free hand with which to signal. Eye contact is a

powerful communication tool—use it! Dogs with a good hoop jump can pick up

this variation in a matter of weeks.

PREREQUISITES

Hoop jump (page 125) Helpful: Leg weave (page 170)

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG DOES TURNS CLOCKWISE AFTER BOTH THE LEFT

AND THE RIGHT HOOP

Your dog should turn to his left after jumping the right hoop, and vice

versa. In this case, speed up your motion at the tail end of your dog’s

right hoop jump. Over time, he will learn to make a left turn in order to

catch your next hoop.

TIP! Beware. Automobile antifreeze is lethal to dogs, even in amounts as

small as a few licks. Dogs are often attracted to its sweet taste.

STEPS:

1 Hold the hoop with your right hand against your right thigh.

2 Step with your left leg. Lure your dog through with your left hand.

3 Hold the nonactive hoop flat against the front of your body.

Reverse hoop positions.

4 Hoops are parallel. The nonactive one is centered against your leg.

expert

Hoop Jump over My Back

VERBAL CUE

Hup

TEACH IT:

This trick combines a hoop jump with your dog jumping over your back.

1 Use a large hoop for this trick, so your dog has enough room to get through.

Warm up with a few hoop jumps (page 125).

2 Kneel down next to the hoop, with the arm closest to your dog encircling the

bottom portion of the hoop. Gradually encroach into the circle with your head

and shoulder.

3 Kneel on the ground with your head down and the hoop touching your stomach

and pointing straight up. Turn your head so you can still see your dog.

4 Gradually rise up, with one foot on the ground and your hands holding the

hoop about shoulder width apart. Keep your head down and the hoop pointing

toward the sky.

5 In its final form, you’ll be bent over with straight legs and the hoop pointing

upward. To get into this position, put the hoop over your head and hold it

parallel to the ground, touching your stomach. Position your feet apart for

stability. Widen your hands on the hoop and bend over as if looking at your

shoes.

WHAT TO EXPECT: This trick never fails to get “oohs” and “aahs!” When

using a small hoop, your dog may step on your back.

PREREQUISITES

Hoop jump (page 125)

Jump over my back (page 110)

TROUBLESHOOTING

I GOT KICKED IN THE HEAD!

Keep your head down. Turn you head sideways if you need to make eye

contact with your dog.

MY DOG CAN’T JUMP THAT HIGH

Execute the trick as in step four, while on one knee.

MY DOG JUMPED ON MY BACK AND STAYED THERE!

What a wonderful trick! Teach that behavior while your dog is offering

it, and come back to the full jump another time.

TIP! Encourage your dog to trust you—be honest, be fair, be consistent.

STEPS:

1 Have your dog jump through a large hoop.

2 Encircle the hoop with the arm closest to your dog.

3 With the hoop touching your stomach, turn your head to look at your dog.

4 Rise to one foot and widen your arms on the hoop.

5 Get into position by placing the hoop against your stomach, feet apart…

hands apart…

and bend over until the hoop is straight up.

advanced

Disobedient Dog—Under the Hoop

TEACH IT:

In this comedy routine, after an impressive introduction, you command your dog

to jump through the flaming hoop! He instead crawls under it.

1 Set your hoop to a height higher than your dog normally jumps. He will be

tempted to jump through it, but guide him carefully to instead walk under it.

2 Set your dog on one side of the hoop while you stand on the other. Lift your

toe and show him as you place a treat underneath. Instruct him to lie down,

and then to crawl (page 144) under the hoop. Lift your shoe as he approaches

to allow him to take the treat. You may have to keep repeating “down” and

“crawl” throughout his travel.

3 Keep practicing as you gradually lower the height of the hoop and introduce

the verbal cue.

4 In your performance, use a target object (page 145) to have your dog return to

his original spot. Repeat this trick several times before telling your dog that

the cute French poodle has just joined the audience, and subtly signaling him

to jump the hoop’s center. What a finale!

WHAT TO EXPECT: Your performance skill will be key to pulling this trick

off. While your audience is distracted by your showmanship, your dog will take

his cue from your lifted toe and your verbal cue “through the hoop,” which he

understands to mean “crawl under the hoop.”

PREREQUISITES

Crawl (page 144)

Touch a Target (page 145)

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG JUMPS THROUGH THE HOOP

Before giving your command, direct your dog’s attention down toward

the treat under your shoe.

BUILD ON IT! Continue this theme by teaching the world’s dumbest dog

trick (page 64).

“When I perform at the circus, I’m scared of the tigers. I know they’re there because I can smell

them.”

STEPS:

1 Lure your dog to walk under the hoop.

2 Show your dog as you place a treat under your foot.

Instruct him to crawl until he is able to take the treat.

3 Lower the height of the hoop.

4 Have your dog return to his original spot by using a target object.

A little showmanship and your audience will be in stitches over your disobedient

dog!

expert

Rolling Hoop Dive

VERBAL CUE

Get it!

TEACH IT:

This flashy trick is also a great workout for your dog. As hoops are sped across

the grass your dog chases them and dives through their centers!

1 Hold a large hoop in front of you and have your dog hoop jump (page 125).

2 Walk forward holding the hoop in front of you low to the ground, and

accustom your dog to jumping through a moving object.

3 As you walk forward, send the hoop rolling in front of you a short distance and

use an excited tone to tell your dog to “get it, hup!” Your dog may run to the

hoop, and run back to you, not understanding. Keep alternating between

walking with the hoop and sending it rolling. This is the hardest stage of

learning, so keep up the enthusiasm!

4 This next step is training for you! Practice throwing a hoop fast and straight by

balancing it on your collarbone as you grip the bottom underhanded.

Concentrate on letting it roll out of your wrist.

5 Are you ready for the big time? Try multiple hoops. Assuming you are right

handed, start with your dog on your left and throw your first hoop. Just before

your dog runs through it, send the next hoop flying 90 degrees clockwise of

the first. This will cause your dog to approach that hoop from the side, which

will be easier for him. Keep throwing hoops in a clockwise direction until

your dog has made a full circle! Way to shoot those hoops!

WHAT TO EXPECT: Dogs with a strong prey drive will love this trick. The

chase is often reward enough that the dog does not need treats to be enthused.

Quick-learning dogs will take several weeks before they are running through

their first hoop.

PREREQUISITES

Jump through a hoop (page 125)

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG KNOCKS THE HOOP OVER

A perpendicular angle of approach will help. Try the multiple hoop

circle described in step five.

MY DOG IS SCARED

The secret is to engage his prey drive so that it outweighs his fear. His

prey drive will increase with use.

BUILD ON IT! When your dog misses, teach him to go through a hoop

lying on the ground (page 138).

TIP! Empty a water-filled hoop for a lightweight hoop that easily breaks

apart at the seam if your dog gets tangled.

“I close my eyes when I dive through the hoop.”

STEPS:

1 Have your dog jump in front of you.

2 Get your dog used to jumping through a moving hoop.

3 Roll the hoop a short distance as you walk.

4 Balance the hoop on your collarbone. Hold it underhanded.

Roll the hoop down your arm and off your wrist.

5 Throw multiple hoops in a clockwise circle.

intermediate

Through a Hoop Lying on the Ground

VERBAL CUE

Go through

TEACH IT:

Your dog maneuvers his way through a hoop lying on the ground. Dogs may

invent different methods, any of which are acceptable.

1 Warm up with a few hoop jumps (page 125). Lower the hoop toward the floor,

angling the top edge toward your dog so that he has to lower his head to walk

through.

2 Next, warp or kink your hoop so that it does not lie flat on the ground. Lift the

leading edge to show your dog a familiar angle, and then lie it back down and

instruct him to “go through.” Hopefully, your dog will poke his nose under the

kink and push his way under. You may have to reward your dog merely for

poking his nose through, and work your way up to a full walk-through.

3 Over time, your dog will figure out which method works best for him; lifting

the leading edge, the trailing edge, or even picking up the leading edge with

his mouth and ducking under. The transition to a flat hoop shouldn’t be too

difficult.

WHAT TO EXPECT: This trick is easier to teach than you might expect, and it

is impressive to watch! Practice every day and in a few weeks your dog should

have the hang of it!

PREREQUISITES

Hoop jump (page 125)

TROUBLESHOOTING

THE HOOP SLIDES AWAY FROM MY DOG

Grass works best when learning this skill, as other slippery surfaces

may cause the hoop to slide.

MY DOG FETCHES THE HOOP INSTEAD OF GOING THROUGH

Your dog is eager and confused. Don’t acknowledge the fetch, but keep

prompting your dog to “go through.”

TIP! Hoops come in different sizes, or make your own with irrigation tubing

and connectors from the hardware store.

“Things that scare me: kitty in a bad mood, cotton balls. Nothing good ever happens with cotton

balls.”

STEPS:

1 Warm up with low hoop jumps.

Set the hoop on the floor and angle it toward your dog.

2 Warp the hoop and lift it up slightly.

3 Dogs use different methods. Here, Chalcy lifts the leading edge,

balances the hoop upright,

ducks her head down,

and runs through!

intermediate

Paper-Covered Hoop

VERBAL CUE

Hup or crash

TEACH IT:

In this dramatic trick, your dog crashes through a paper-covered hoop.

1 A 24” (61 cm) embroidery hoop found at fabric shops offers a quick method of

securing paper within a hoop. Practice a few hoop jumps (page 125) with it.

Keep the hoop low to the ground, as it is smaller than a regular hoop and

harder for your dog to clear.

2 Attach some tissue paper to the top edge of the hoop, putting a few rips in it so

it doesn’t look like a solid panel. Build your dog’s confidence as he goes

through.

3 Secure a sheet of tissue paper all the way across the hoop and tear a big hole in

the middle. Use a treat to coax your dog through the hole. It may be easier to

get him to walk through rather than jump. Praise him excitedly when he tears

through the paper. Have him do a few more jumps through the hoop with the

torn paper still hanging from it.

4 Attach a new piece of tissue paper to the hoop. This time, just make a small

hole. Later, make just a slit.

5 Before you know it, your dog will be comfortable breaking through the paper

on his own! Use two sheets of tissue paper side by side to get full coverage of

the hoop and crumple the edges to keep it tidy.

WHAT TO EXPECT: This trick is a great confidence builder for dogs. They

are often hesitant in the beginning, but within two weeks they are usually

crashing through the paper like a bull in a china shop!

PREREQUISITES

Hoop jump (page 125)

TROUBLESHOOTING

WILL NEWSPAPER WORK INSTEAD OF TISSUE PAPER?

Newspaper is significantly thicker than tissue paper, and dogs are more

hesitant to jump through it. If you do use newspaper, cut a slit in the

middle to give your dog a head start.

HOW DO I AFFIX THE PAPER TO THE EMBROIDERY HOOP?

Separate the two rings of the hoop, lay the paper across one ring, and

press the other ring onto the first.

TIP! The goal of each training session is to get results a little better than the

last time.

“Sometimes, I just like to break things!”

STEPS:

1 An embroidery hoop can be found at fabric shops.

2 Attach tissue paper to the top edge and lure your dog through.

3 Cover the hoop with tissue paper, but make a big hole in the middle.

4 Graduate to a smaller hole,

and then merely a slit in the paper.

5 Use two sheets of paper and crumple the edges for a polished effect.

Chapter 9 Obstacle Course

Life is full of obstacles, and the sooner your dog learns to navigate them,

the better! The obstacles in this chapter require logic skills and are often

physically and mentally challenging. Some of them may even be scary for

your dog at first, making his trust in you a necessary ingredient for success.

Be patient and kind, encouraging but not forceful. Your dog may be hesitant

at first, but once he comes through the other side of the tunnel (literally),

he’ll be a more confident dog!

Dog’s tend to dive into obstacles with wilder abandon than their humans.

Make it your primary concern to look out for your dog’s safety. Maintain

regular veterinary checkups and inspect your dog’s feet, ears, and coat often.

Check your obstacles for nails, splinters, and places where your dog’s foot

could get stuck.

Work on a soft ground surface and be sure the obstacles have a high-traction

surface. In jumping, your dog should land straight, not twisting, and largely

horizontal. Increase difficulty gradually, as a bad experience may set

progress back significantly. Combine several obstacles for a challenging runthrough!

easy

Tunnel

VERBAL CUE

Tunnel

TEACH IT:

Your dog runs through a straight or curved tunnel. The tunnel is one of several

obstacles in the sport of dog agility.

1 Allow your dog time to explore a short, straight tunnel in a familiar area. Set

your dog at the opposite end and make eye contact with him through the

tunnel. Coax him toward you. If he attempts to go around the tunnel, have a

friend hold him and guide him in. Reward him with a treat at the tunnel exit.

2 Once he is comfortable going through the tunnel, stand at the entrance with

him, cue him with “tunnel,” and guide him in. It often helps to get a running

start. As he is running inside the tunnel, run along with him, encouraging him,

so he can hear where you are. When he emerges at the other end keep running

alongside him for a short way to encourage a speedy exit.

3 Put a bend in the tunnel. Your dog may try to make a U-turn inside and come

back out the entrance, so keep your eye on him until you are sure he has

committed.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Most dogs enjoy running through a tunnel and once

accustomed to it, will do so every chance they get! Confident dogs can be

running through the tunnel on their first day, while shy dogs may require more

time.

TROUBLESHOOTING

CAN I PUT TREATS INSIDE THE TUNNEL?

Since the goal is for your dog to navigate the tunnel quickly, treats

inside could create a bad habit of hesitating in the middle.

MY DOG IS SCARED TO GO INSIDE

Don’t allow your dog’s apparent fear to change your behavior. Be

matter-of-fact about it and send him through. He will likely emerge a

more confident dog!

TIP! You’re so big! Get down at his level to engage your dog.

1 Coax your dog from the other end of the tunnel.

2 Send him from the entrance.

3 A running start propels your dog through a curved tunnel.

easy

Crawl

TEACH IT:

Your dog crawls forward, sliding his belly on the floor.

1 Your dog will be more willing to crawl on a comfortable surface such as grass

or carpet. Put your dog in a down (page 16), facing you. Kneel on the ground

and show your dog a treat hidden under your hand about 18” (46 cm) in front

of him.

2 In a drawn-out voice tell him “crawl” as you slowly slide the treat away from

him. He will hopefully take a crawl step or two with his front paws in an effort

to follow the treat. Allow him to get the treat, while remaining down.

3 Once your dog is able to crawl following your treat, try standing several feet in

front of him with the treat exposed under your foot. You may have to alternate

saying “crawl” and “down” while he makes his way toward your foot. Your

lifted toe will later become your dog’s signal to crawl, keeping his attention

low to the ground.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Many dogs are able to begin crawling in their first

training session. Transitioning to using the verbal cue and foot signal, with no

lure, often takes another few weeks.

PREREQUISITES

Down (page 16)

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG STANDS UP

You are sliding the treat too fast.

MY DOG DOESN’T MOVE

He might believe he will be reprimanded for moving from his down.

Keep your energy enthusiastic.

MY DOG HAS STARTED CRAWLING WHILE IN HIS DOWNSTAY!

Now that your dog knows this cue, tell him “no crawl” to stop this

behavior.

BUILD ON IT! Use this skill to perform disobedient dog (page 134).

1 With your dog in a down, show him a treat under your hand.

2 Slide the treat away from him as he crawls forward.

3 Place the treat under your foot to keep his attention downward.

easy

Touch a Target

VERBAL CUE

Target

TEACH IT:

Your dog touches an object identified as a target. This useful skill has a variety

of applications in trick training as well as dog sports and movie work.

1 In an empty environment, set up a target about 6’ to 10’ (1.8 to 3 m) away.

The target can be a safety cone, plunger, or other unique object preferably one

that your dog won’t be tempted to take in his mouth. Show your dog as you or

another person places a treat on the target. Get your dog’s attention as you do

this by saying “cookie” or whichever word he understands to mean a treat.

2 Return to your dog and point in the direction of the target as you release him

with the word “target!” Allow him to run to the target and eat the treat.

3 After a few successful iterations, send your dog to the target without setting a

treat on it. As soon as your dog touches the target, immediately praise him and

give him a treat from your hand.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Practice ten iterations per day and within a week you

may be able to send your dog to a target across the room!

TROUBLESHOOTING

IS MY DOG SUPPOSED TO TOUCH THE TARGET WITH HIS

NOSE OR HIS PAW?

While learning, either is acceptable. As you work with smaller and

smaller target objects, your dog will find it easier to touch them with his

paw, and will transition to this method on his own.

BUILD ON IT! Movie dogs use this skill to stop on a mark. Use a sheet of

paper for the target. Gradually reduce the size of the paper, until a Post-it

note is all that is needed.

TIP! Train your dog with a double command. “Target-sit” means to go to the

target and sit.

1 Place a treat on the target.

2 Reease your dog to get the treat.

3 Send your dog to the target, and reward a touch.

“I teach a dog-tricks class at the park. I show the other dogs how to do stuff.”

intermediate

Under/Over

VERBAL CUE

Under

Over

TEACH IT:

Your dog can be instructed to go either under or over any object.

1 Set up a bar jump or other obstacle at the height of your dog’s back. Since he

already knows how to jump over a bar (page 108), and is assuming that is

what he is supposed to do, you’ll want to begin this trick by training the

under command. Set your dog on one side of the bar and lure him under by

holding your treat low to the ground. Use the verbal cue often “under, good

under!”

2 Watch his body language and prevent him from jumping over the bar by

blocking his path with your hand or by or holding his collar.

3 Lower the bar so that your dog has to duck down or crawl to get under. If your

dog jumps over the bar, place him back in his original spot, taking care to lead

him around the jump rather then letting him jump back over the bar a second

time.

4 Now try with another object such as your outstretched leg.

5 Alternate the “under” and “over” commands to solidify the difference in your

dog’s mind.

WHAT TO EXPECT: This fun trick will keep your dog guessing as he awaits

your instruction. In their eagerness, dogs don’t always listen carefully and may

require a month before they can concentrate enough to get this trick consistently

right.

PREREQUISITES

Jump over a bar (page 108)

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG COMPETES IN AGILITY. SHOULD I NOT TEACH THIS

TRICK?

Dogs are smart and easily put behaviors into context. However, as an

added precaution, you may want to teach this trick with an object other

than a bar jump.

MY DOG KNOCKS THE BAR WHEN HE GOES UNDER

Some dogs use more finesse than others. Heavier objects such as tables

and chairs should work well.

BUILD ON IT! It’s time for a limbo contest! Once he’s mastered under, see

how low your dog can go!

TIP! Always do more unders than overs in a training session, as this will be

the less instinctive one.

STEPS:

1 Set a bar at the height of your dog’s back and lure him under.

2 Block him from jumping the bar.

3 Lower the bar.

4 Try it with other objects such as your outstretched leg.

intermediate

Teeter-Totter

VERBAL CUE

Teeter

TEACH IT:

The teeter-totter is an obstacle in the sport of dog agility that is weighted

unevenly so that one end defaults to the down position. Your dog runs the length

of the plank, balancing while it pivots midway.

1 With your dog watching, place several treats along the length of the plank.

2 Position a friend near the high end of the plank to keep it from making sudden

movements. With fingers circling your dog’s flat collar, start him at the low

end and let him walk to the first treat.

3 As he continues to move forward, there will be a point at which his weight will

pivot the plank. This is a good spot to place a treat, as it will slow him down.

Your friend should guide the plank slowly and steadily as it pivots. Reassure

him as you keep a firm grasp on his collar with his head forward. You don’t

want your dog to jump off the obstacle, so lift him off if he panics. Use lots of

praise and encouragement with this new and unstable obstacle, and never use

force as it will heighten an already present fear.

4 Once your dog gains confidence on the teeter-totter, your friend should allow

the plank to move more freely, catching it only right before it hits the ground,

so as to avoid a loud bang.

5 Let your dog try it on his own as you walk alongside him without touching

him. Reward him while he is standing on the very end.

6 In the sport of dog agility, and for obvious safety reasons, dogs should not run

so fast that they fly off the end of the plank before it touches the ground.

Teach your dog to stop at the end by using a “wait” command or a target

touch (page 145).

WHAT TO EXPECT: Most dogs are a little timid their first time on the teetertotter, but they conquer their fear quickly with praise and treats! Don’t force the

issue—tomorrow is another day and your dog may feel differently about the

obstacle then.

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG IS FEARFUL OF THIS OBSTACLE

Make it easier for your dog to be successful. Lay the plank on the

ground and have him walk it there. Add a pencil or broomstick under

the middle for a slight tipping motion.

BUILD ON IT! Try other dog agility obstacles such as a tunnel (page 143)

and weave poles (page 150).

TIP! Use a squirt of canned cheese product for a treat that won’t roll off the

teeter-totter!

“When my ears flip back, my owner says I have my party hat on.”

STEPS:

1 Place treats along the plank.

2 Guide your dog by his flat collar to the first treat.

3 Keep control of your dog and the plank at the pivot point.

4 Catch the plank before it bangs down.

5 Walk alongside your dog as he goes it alone. Give a treat while he is standing

at the end.

6 Teach your dog to touch a target at the bottom of the teeter-totter.

expert

Weave Poles

VERBAL CUE

Weave

TEACH IT:

Weave poles, an obstacle in the sport of dog agility, have your dog weaving in

and out of a series of poles. The first pole is always passed along your dog’s left

shoulder, and the second along his right.

1 Start with only two poles (pointed plastic PVC poles can be stuck in the grass).

With your dog on your left, give the verbal cue, lead him between the poles,

and reward him.

2 Stand parallel to the poles with your dog on your left and the poles to the left

of him. Guide your dog to walk between the first two poles. Take a step

forward, and reward him past the second pole.

3 Have your dog weave through a series of poles; lure him through with a treat,

lead him through by his collar or short leash, or guide him through with your

hand.

4 Begin with your dog a few feet behind and to the left of the first pole. Walk

forward and guide him in and out of the poles by using your hand to “press”

him away from you and “pull” him back.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Herding breeds tend to pick this skill up quickest and

can be weaving on their own in several months. Other dogs often take six

months to a year.

STEPS:

1 Guide your dog through two poles, angling so he passes the first with his left

shoulder.

2 Start with your dog to the left of the poles. Reward him after the second pole.

3 Guide your dog through a series of poles using a treat, a leash, or your hand.

4 Walk alongside your dog as you use your hand to “press” and “pull” him

through the poles.

advanced

Climb a Ladder

VERBAL CUE

Climb

TEACH IT:

Your dog maneuvering his front and back paws up the steps of a ladder.

1 Cover the steps of a sturdy ladder with a nonslip surface. Using a treat, lure

your dog to place his front paws on one of the lower rungs. Do not touch or

confine your dog, as he will want to feel he has an escape route. Raise the

treat to encourage him to place his front paws higher.

2 Still luring your dog’s head upward, use your other hand to coax his back paw

onto the first step.

3 Your dog is now in a precarious position, so guard his body to help stabilize

him. Continue to raise the treat higher and allow him to position his front

paws himself. Practice only 5 minutes per session, and allow your dog to

break between attempts.

4 Once your dog is comfortable climbing the steps, place your treat at the top of

the ladder to motivate a speedy ascent!

WHAT TO EXPECT: Climbing a ladder requires not only coordination and

strength but also confidence. Take it slowly as a misstep or frightening

experience can set your dog back.

TROUBLESHOOTING

HOW DOES MY DOG GET BACK DOWN?

Regardless of your dog’s athletic ability, you should lift him to the floor

rather than letting him jump down. The potential for injury due to his

twisting motion or entanglement in the ladder rungs is too great a risk.

WHAT TYPE OF LADDER SHOULD I USE?

A standard 6’ (1.8 m) painter’s ladder fits most dogs.

BUILD ON IT! Teach fetch (page 24) to have your dog retrieve at item

from the top of the ladder.

TIP! Don’t take your eyes off your dog. Take it one step at a time, literally.

STEPS:

1 Lure your dog to place his front paws on a rung.

2 Lift his back paw while continuing to lure him upward.

3 Guard his body while raising the treat.

4 Place the treat at the top of the ladder as a reward.

expert

Roll a Barrel

VERBAL CUE

Roll

TEACH IT:

There are several variations of rolling on a barrel, including the dog rolling it

with his front paws, his rear paws, or all four paws. He can roll it forward or

backward.

ROLLING WITH FRONT PAWS:

1 With your dog at your side, steady the barrel and lure your dog upward with a

treat. Reward him for placing his front paws on the barrel.

2 Do the same while standing on the opposite side of the barrel.

3 Now start rolling the barrel. A grass surface is preferable since it prohibits fast

motion and provides a soft landing. Place your foot on the barrel with your leg

outstretched. Once your dog’s front paws are up on the barrel, lure his head

forward with a treat. Roll the barrel toward you by pulling with your foot.

Praise and reward your dog for shifting his paw backward.

4 As your dog improves, use your foot to roll the barrel sporadically. Roll it a

bit, and lure him forward until he rolls it a bit himself. At this point, your dog

will have to comprehend a difficult concept—walking his front paws

backward while his back paws walk forward!

5 If your dog stops rolling the barrel, gently tap his paws with your foot to

encourage him to move them back. Praise and reward.

TROUBLESHOOTING

WHERE DO I GET A BARREL?

Fifty-five gallon plastic drums are sold at horse feed stores. Cover it

with a nonslip surface such as a rubber mat. Secure the mat in place

with glue and duct tape along the seam, edges, and circumference.

TIP! Increase your dog’s motivation by varying the consistency, amount,

and types of treats. Sometimes, offer a goldfish cracker, sometimes nothing,

and sometimes a jackpot of treats!

STEPS:

1 Lure his front paws up.

2 Now try the opposite side.

3 Roll the barrel toward you,

luring his head forward,

and reward.

ROLLING ON TOP:

1 With your dog on the opposite side of the barrel, hold it stationary with your

foot and lure him on top. Be ready to steady him when he jumps. Allow him

to nibble a treat from your hand, keeping your hand stable, as he will press

against it for balance. Try to get him to stay on top of the barrel for as long as

you can.

2 Roll the barrel 6” (15 cm) away you using your foot. Be prepared with your

hand or body to block your dog from jumping off. When he takes a step

forward, praise and reward.

3 Roll the barrel sporadically until your dog is doing it on his own!

WHAT TO EXPECT: This is not a trick your dog can learn in a weekend. It

may take twenty sessions for him to roll the barrel with his front paws, and could

take months for him to find his balance with all four paws on top. Certain breeds

are better built for this trick—long-legged and top-heavy dogs will have the

hardest time.

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG JUMPS ON OR OVER THE BARREL

Use your body to block the other side of the barrel.

TIP! This exercise teaches body awareness, which is valuable for any dog.

STEPS:

1 Hold the barrel with your foot and lure your dog up.

Let him nibble a treat while on top.

2 Roll the barrel away from you. Be prepared to block your dog from jumping

off.

3 With practice your dog will be doing it on his own!

Chapter 10 That Dog Can Dance!

Active people have active dogs. And if you notice your pooch has a paunch,

it might be time time for some exercise … for the both of you!

The sport of canine freestyle has popularized the tricks in this chapter by

chaining them together into dance sequences. Choreographed to music, you

and your dog execute synchronized spins, leg kicks, and dance steps. This is

a wonderful way to work as a team with your dog and develop the bond that

comes from mutual reliance.

Eye contact is key to a synchronized performance. Hold bits of cheese in

your mouth and spit them to your dog as a reward to encourage his attention.

Don’t underestimate the importance of your performance! Little flourishes

will transform a dull series of behaviors into a lively show!

intermediate

Heel Forward and Backward

TEACH IT:

A dog at heel walks at the handler’s left side. In the sport of dog obedience, the

dog automatically sits when the handler stops. In the sport of freestyle (dog

dancing) the heel is less rigid, focusing more on eye contact and gait.

HEEL:

1 With your dog on a loose leash at your left side, say “heel” and walk forward,

stepping first with your left foot. This step will later become your dog’s signal

to heel. Always give the verbal command first, before starting your motion.

2 Reward your dog periodically for a good effort, remembering to reward at the

time when your dog is in the correct position—with his shoulder aligned to

your left leg.

3 When preparing to stop, slow your gait, plant your left foot, and bring your

right foot up to meet it. Pull up on the leash and say “sit” (page 15).

HEEL BACKWARD:

4 With your dog on a short leash at your left, tap his chest with your right foot

while cueing “back.” Reward him for taking a step back. As you reward him,

don’t cause him to step forward by offering the treat too far in front of him.

Practice heeling backward alongside a wall to keep your dog straight.

WHAT TO EXPECT: In obedience classes, most dogs will be heeling nicely on

leash by the end of eight weeks. Heeling is an art form, however, that can always

be refined!

Heel Back

PREREQUISITES

Sit (page 15)

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG LAGS BEHIND

Pat your leg and use peppy encouragement, or break into a jog.

MY DOG PULLS FORWARD

Give a quick jerk on the leash followed by release of tension. This

should immediately bring your dog back into position, at which time

you praise him with “good heel.”

BUILD ON IT! Continue to practice heeling until your dog can do it offleash!

TIP! The more your dog knows, the easier he will learn.

HEEL:

1 Command “heel” and step with your left foot.

3 Command “sit” when you stop.

HEEL BACKWARD:

1 Use your right foot to tap your dog backward.

easy

Back Up

TEACH IT:

Your dog backs up in a straight line away from you.

1 Stand in a hallway facing your dog while holding a treat in your closed fist

directly in front of his nose. Press gently on his nose while walking toward

him giving the verbal cue “scoot.” As your dog takes a few steps backward,

praise and release the treat. If he squirms use your foot opposite the wall to

guide that side, or place an ex-pen to create a narrow chute.

2 Once your dog is getting the hang of this, start to decrease dependence on the

nose push by instead walking in toward your dog while raising your knees to

gently bump his chest. Use your hand to signal him backward.

3 Over time, take smaller steps forward, while continuing to raise your knees to

pressure your dog backward. Walk over to him to give a reward, or toss one to

him, rather than calling him back to you.

WHAT TO EXPECT: In a week, your dog could be walking backward

following your treat. In another few weeks, you may be able to stand stationary

while he backs up.

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG BOWS

You may be holding the treat too low. Keep it no lower than nose

height.

MY DOG SITS

Holding the treat too high will lift your dog’s nose and cause him to sit.

Bump him with your knee to cause him to hop backward.

TIP! Hand signals are more powerful than words. Be aware of your signals.

1 Press a treat against your dog’s nose.

2 Raise your knees as you walk toward your dog.

3 Take smaller steps forward while continuing to raise your knees.

easy

Spin Circles

TEACH IT:

Your dog spins either a left or a right full circle.

SPIN:

1 Begin with your dog facing you, hiding a treat in your right hand. Move your

hand to your right, in a large counter-clockwise circle, slowly luring your dog

while telling him “spin.” Release the treat at the end of the circle.

2 As your dog improves, diminish your hand signal until it is merely a flick of

your wrist.

3 Add some pizzazz—a spin is doubly exciting when you mirror your dog’s

movement. As your dog spins, cross your right foot in front of your left and

pivot on your toes until you’ve spun completely around. (And you thought

your dog was going to do all the work!) 4 Reach around by using your left

hand to trace a clockwise circle.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Practice ten times per day, and your dog should be

following your hand easily within a week. In a month, he can be spinning on

command!

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG GOES ONLY HALFWAY

Reaching your hand too far forward too early will cause the circle to

stall. Start close to your stomach and move your hand to the side before

extending it forward.

MY DOG CIRCLES ONE DIRECTION, BUT NOT THE OTHER

Analyze your own movements to ensure you are moving symmetrically.

MY DOG FINISHES A CIRCLE, THEN IMMEDIATELY CIRCLES

THE OTHER DIRECTION

When you finish the hand signal for the first spin, make sure your hand

returns to your side. By leaving it crossing your body, you are

inadvertently signaling your dog to do the next spin.

BUILD ON IT! Teach military turns—while heeling (page 160), cue your

dog “around” as you turn left 180 degrees. Continue heeling in the opposite

direction.

“I love going to the pet store. I find things under the shelves!”

STEPS:

SPIN:

1 Hide a treat in your right hand.

Move your hand directly to your right, and trace a large circle.

Release the treat when the circle is complete.

3 Spin with your dog for added pizzazz!

easy

Take a Bow

TEACH IT:

Your dog bows by keeping his back legs upright, while bowing down his front

until his elbows touch the floor.

1 Have your dog stand facing you. Hold a treat in your fist at nose height.

2 Gently press your hand into your dog’s nose and downward, while giving the

verbal cue.

3 As soon as your dog’s elbows touch the floor, release the treat and back your

hand away.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Practice this trick six to ten iterations per day. Remember

to quit while it’s still fun.) After one to two weeks your dog should be bowing

easily when you press a treat to his nose. Gradually lighten your touch on his

nose, and soon your dog will be bowing on his own. Thank you! Thank you very

much!

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG SITS INSTEAD OF BOWING

You are holding the treat to high. Start at nose height and press toward

your dog’s hind paws.

MY DOG LIES DOWN

Release the treat sooner. You may have to reward before his elbows

touch the ground. If this does not solve the problem, position your foot

on the floor under his belly.

BUILD ON IT! Once you’ve mastered take a bow, use a similar action to

learn say your prayers (page 42)!

TIP! Give your dog an ear massage, inside and out. Arf!

“I do a curtsy, because I’m a girl dog.”

STEPS:

1 Hold a treat at nose height.

2 Press toward your dog and downward.

3 Release the treat as soon as your dog’s elbows touch the floor.

easy

Place (circle to my left side)

TEACH IT:

Your dog circles behind you to end sitting at your left side. This can be the start

to a heeling drill or the end to an obedience test.

1 Stand facing your dog with his leash in your right hand.

2 Say “place” and take a step back with your right foot, pulling your dog toward

your right side and behind you. Keep your left foot planted throughout this

exercise.

3 Transfer the leash to your left hand while returning your right foot next to your

left and pulling your dog into position at your left side.

4 Pull up on the leash and tell your dog to sit (page 15). Praise and reward your

dog in this position.

WHAT TO EXPECT: This trick is quite impressive as your dog shows off his

obedience training. In its final stage, keep both feet planted while your off-leash

dog responds to your cue to circle behind you and sit at your left side.

PREREQUISITES

Sit (page 15)

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG IS SO SLOW!

As your dog is passing behind you, take an extra step or two forward

and tell him to “get it up!”

I FEEL LIKE I’M JUST PULLING MY DOG AROUND ME

You are conditioning your dog to the movement. At first, you are

pulling him around, but over time his muscle memory will take over.

TIP! It takes approximately 100 repetitions for a dog to learn a new trick.

Have patience!

STEPS:

2 With the leash in your right hand, step back with your right foot.

3 Transfer the leash to your left hand.

Return your right foot next to your left as you pull your dog into position at your

side.

4 Pull up on the leash as you command your dog to sit.

easy

Side (swing to my left side)

TEACH IT:

Starting facing you, your dog makes a tight circle, almost pivoting on his front

paws, to come to a sit at your left side.

1 Face your dog holding his leash in your left hand.

2 Tell him “side” and step back with your left foot, pulling your dog to your left

and slightly away from your body. Your right foot remains planted throughout

this exercise.

3 Circle your dog clockwise, bringing his head in the space where your left leg

used to be.

4 Bring your left leg back into position and have your dog sit (page 15) at your

side. Reward your dog while he his sitting.

WHAT TO EXPECT: With practice, your off-leash dog will jump into position

while you stand in place. Energetic dogs may learn on their own to hop into

position rather than circle.

PREREQUISITES

Sit (page 15)

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG SITS TOO FAR IN FRONT OR BEHIND ME

You’ll be surprised at how your body position can affect your dog’s sit.

Slight adjustments to your left shoulder position will bring your dog

forward or back.

MY DOG SITS CROOKED

Tap his left haunch as he is sitting to bring it in tight.

TIP! Consistency is key to success. Practice motions solo before involving

your dog.

STEPS:

2 Step back with your left foot as you pull your dog back and away.

3 Circle your dog clockwise.

4 Bring your left leg forward to meet your right.

Have your dog sit.

intermediate

Leg Weave

TEACH IT:

Your dog crosses back and forth between your legs as you walk. This trick is not

for the uncoordinated!

1 Start with your dog sitting or standing at your left side. Hold several small

treats in each hand.

2 Take a big step with your right foot and drop your right hand straight down

between your legs while giving the verbal cue. As your dog crosses between

your legs, reward him with a treat from your right hand.

3 Take a step with your left foot and drop your left hand straight down while

giving the verbal cue. Again, treat your dog when he noses your left hand.

4 Repeat the steps.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Practice this trick in five-minute sessions, once or twice

per day. After two weeks, your dog should be following your hand smoothly, and

you can require several successful weaves before treating. Keep practicing until

your dog speeds through your legs with no hand guidance at all!

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG RESISTS WALKING BETWEEN MY LEGS

Start with the peekaboo trick (page 52) to reinforce this position.

I’M HAVING TROUBLE WITH MY COORDINATION

Instead of treats, use a tab leash to guide your dog. Step with your right

foot and pull the leash between your legs with your right hand.

MY DOG IS TOO EXCITED AND NOT FOLLOWING MY HAND

SMOOTHLY

This is not uncommon in the beginning. Focus on one weave at a time,

and reward each.

MY DOG IS TOO TALL

Unless you’re looking to take a tumble, this probably isn’t a trick for a

Great Dane!

BUILD ON IT! Once you’ve mastered leg weave, use a similar action to

learn figure 8’s (page 172)!

TIP! Always start leg weave by stepping with your right foot. Stepping with

your left foot is a signal to heel.

“On weekends I have just so much to do!”

STEPS:

1 Start with your dog at your left.

2 Step with your right foot, drop your right hand.

Lure your dog through.

3 Step with your left foot, drop your left hand.

Lure your dog through.

Bring his head forward.

4 Repeat.

advanced

Figure 8’s

TEACH IT:

As you stand with your legs apart, your dog runs figure 8’s through them.

1 Warm up with a leg weave (page 170).

2 Next, try the leg weave while taking steps that are wider apart but shorter

going forward. Continue to use the “weave” cue.

3 Transition to taking steps in place, with your legs wide apart, without making

forward progress. Continue to lift each foot to cue the dog, and say “weave.”

Use an imaginary leash to “pull,” or guide, your dog through your legs from

front to back.

4 Finally, keep your feet planted but lunge to each side as your dog crosses

between your legs. As he crosses between your legs in preparation for circling

your right leg, your right leg should be bent, and he should see your right hand

guiding him through your legs and toward your right leg. Now is the time to

change your verbal cue to “cross.” Have him do several figure 8’s in a row

before treating. Give him the treat as he is doing the action, rather than after

he has stopped.

WHAT TO EXPECT: With a reliable leg weave, your dog can pick up the

figure 8 in a few days. As you continue to train, you will be able to do it without

lunging and with your hands on your hips.

PREREQUISITES

Leg Weave (page 170)

TROUBLESHOOTING

WHICH WAY IS MY DOG GOING THROUGH MY LEGS?

Because this is adapted from the leg weave, your dog always starts at

your left side and crosses through your legs, front to back, and then

circles your right leg first. Your dog will always be passing through

your legs front to back.

BUILD ON IT! For an impressive dance sequence, have your dog do

several figure 8’s, and after he passes through your legs in anticipation of

circling your right leg, close your legs and use your right hand to cue him to

spin (page 162).

TIP! Figure 8’s are a good part of your stretching and warm-up routine to

help prevent injury before exercise Cross

“We have a kitty named JoJo. You have to watch out for her because she swats when you go around

corners.”

STEPS:

1 Practice a leg weave.

2 Make your steps shorter and wider apart.

3 Using a wide stance, alternate lifting each foot in place.

4 With feet planted, guide your dog through your legs, front to back.

Stand in place with hands on hips while your dog runs figure 8’s around you!

intermediate

Moonwalk

TEACH IT:

When moonwalking, your dog scoots backward while in a bow position.

1 Face your dog with him in a down position (page 16). In much the same way

you taught him to back up (page 161), push your knee toward him while

giving the “scoot” cue. He will likely try to stand up, so guard his shoulder

blades with your hand to keep him down. Reward even a small scoot

backward.

2 Start to stand up straighter, and minimize your knee action. Continue to guard

your dog’s shoulders, pushing him down every time he rises.

3 Stand in place while giving the hand signal and verbal cue. If your dog rises to

his feet, tell him “down” and then “scoot.” You may have to alternate these

cues repeatedly.

WHAT TO EXPECT: This adorable dance move can be learned in a few weeks

by a dog with a solid back up. Dogs will often try to cheat by rising up, so be

vigilant about form!

PREREQUISITES

Down (page 16) Back up (page 161)

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG DOESN’T MOVE BACKWARD

When first teaching moonwalk, don’t use the word “down,” but rather

just prevent your dog from rising up by guarding his shoulders. Telling

him “down” may confuse him into thinking he is not supposed to move.

TIP! When your dog needs medicine, a spoonful of peanut butter will help

the pill go down.

1 Guard his shoulder blades while pressing your knee toward him.

2 Minimize your knee action, while continuing to guard his shoulders.

3 Stand in place while giving the cue.

easy

Jump for Joy

TEACH IT:

When jumping for joy, your dog jumps straight up, landing in the same spot.

You are going to need all your enthusiasm for this one, because no one jumps for

joy alone!

1 While your dog is in a playful mood, hold a toy or food high in the air and

tease him with it. Encourage him by jumping along with him! Reward even

small jumps at first.

2 Once your dog has the hang of jumping along with you, tone down your

jumping motion by merely crouching down and standing up while using the

verbal cue and hand signal.

3 Eventually, your dog will be able to jump for joy on cue, but your enthusiasm

will be key.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Some dogs are naturally bouncier than others—terriers,

Australian shepherds, and whippets, to name a few. Other dogs may need much

more encouragement to put forth the effort.

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG IS LAZY AND WON’T JUMP

Your job as a trainer is to instruct and MOTIVATE! Get those springs in

your legs and bounce right along with your buddy. Use your most

excited “happy voice” to get him amped.

BUILD ON IT! This skill is the first step in learning to jump rope (page

118)!

TIP! Practice on grass or other surface that provides traction. The ideal jump

should be straight and smooth.

1 Encourage your dog to jump for a toy.

2 Tone down your jumping motion.

3 Your dog will jump on cue.

advanced

Chorus Line Kicks

TEACH IT:

When performing chorus line kicks, your dog stands between your legs and

high kicks his front paws in sync with your kicks.

1 Starting in a peekaboo position (page 52), reach your left hand down and a

little forward and tell your dog to “shake” (page 22). Do not hold a treat in

your hand while you do this, as it will guide his nose rather than his paw.

Reward him instead with a treat from your treat bag at your waist. Repeat with

“paw” while signalling with your right hand.

2 Add your corresponding leg kicks to enhance the effect. Your hand signals will

eventually become subtle flicks of two fingers by your hip, which will be your

dog’s cue (rather than your kicks).

3 Try variations of this trick with your dog facing you or at your side.

WHAT TO EXPECT: This jazzy trick can be learned by any dog, and is always

a crowd favorite! Dogs can be lifting their paws on cue within a few weeks, but

the coordination of your routine can take longer. Your showy kicks will distract

your audience from your subtle hand signals.

PREREQUISITES

Peekaboo (page 52)

Shake hands (page 22)

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG WALKS FORWARD, COMING OUT OF HIS PEEKABOO

Your dog wants to see your face. Lean over so he can see you. Use your

hand to block his chest if he moves forward, and remind him to

“peekaboo.”

MY DOG JUST STANDS THERE, NOT MOVING HIS PAWS

Sometimes, it takes a few iterations to get your dog in the swing. Try a

few times, “shake, paw, shake, paw” while leaning to the side each

time, which will slightly push your dog’s weight to one side,

encouraging him lift his opposite paw.

TIP! Play a favorite song on the stereo and dance with your dog!

“Sometimes, I wear sparkly cuffs when I dance. Sometimes, I don’t want to and I pull them off.”

STEPS:

1 Start in a peekaboo position.

Reach your left hand down and forward as you say to “shake.”

Use your right hand for “paw.”

3 Try a variation with your dog facing you…

or at your side.

Chapter 11 The Thinking Man’s Dog

Intelligence in animals has always been a topic of debate, but any dog

owner will tell you that they’ve been amazed by their dog’s cleverness. As

with humans, a dog’s brainpower increases with use. The more you

challenge your dog to use his comprehension, logic, and reasoning skills, the

quicker he will grasp new concepts.

The tricks in this chapter have two things in common: they require a high

level of thinking on your dog’s part, and they are dependent on effective

communication from you to your dog. Your dog is being asked not simply

for a behavior, but a behavior based upon a communicated criteria. He needs

to not just retrieve an object, but retrieve a specific one based upon a scent,

hand signal, or verbal cue.

These difficult concepts can be mentally tiring for your dog. Use ten times

more praise than negative feedback, as it is easy for your dog to become

frustrated and discouraged. Even after he has learned the concept, he will

occasionally make mistakes. Give him the benefit of the doubt as he is

probably not picking out the wrong scent article or retrieving bumper on

purpose. Learning is a lifelong process and these exercises will keep your

dog mentally sharp throughout his years!

advanced

My Dog Can Count

TEACH IT:

In this classic vaudeville schtick, your dog barks the correct number of times to

solve a math problem. The believability of your dog’s genius is dependent upon

the subtlety of your signals. Your dog will start barking on cue and continue to

bark until he receives another cue. You, I’m afraid, need to work out the math!

1 First, your dog needs to learn to bark multiple times. Signal your dog to bark

(page 30) and continue to signal until you’ve elicited two barks. Maintain eye

contact with your dog as he barks, and reward him after the second bark.

2 Your dog now needs to learn the signal to stop barking. This signal will

eventually be the subtle aversion of your eyes. After your dog’s second bark,

lower your signaling hand, bow your head, avert your eyes, and say “stop.”

Reward your dog quickly if he stopped barking.

3 Increase the number of barks required and decrease dependence on your hand

signal. You should be able to give the bark signal once, and have your dog

continue to bark until you bow your head and break eye contact.

4 The rest is up to you! You can ask your dog a division problem, or have him

bark once to answer “yes” and twice for “no.” He can tell you his age (or your

age if your audience has that much patience!) WHAT TO EXPECT: Dogs

are surprisingly astute at reading our body language. Be aware of your

movements and consistent in your signals. If you are performing this trick for

an audience, be aware that dogs in unfamiliar situations may be hesitant to

bark.

PREREQUISITES

Speak (page 30)

TROUBLESHOOTING

DO HALF BARKS COUNT?

Your dog’s barks need to be clear and countable. Use a crisp tone of

voice when you tell him to “bark” and only reward a good result.

I GET ONE TOO MANY BARKS

For enthusiastic barkers, you may need to avert your eyes a second

before that last bark to stop your dog in time.

BUILD ON IT! For a variation on this trick, ask your dog to count by

tapping his paw instead of barking.

TIP! Communication is a two-way street. Make an effort to understand your

dog’s body language.

STEPS:

1 Signal your dog to bark, and reward after his second one.

2 Lower your hand, head, and eyes and say “stop.”

Reward your dog if he stopped barking.

4 Ask your dog a math problem, and have him bark the answer!

intermediate

Discern Objects’ Names

TEACH IT:

VERBAL CUE

Find

[object name]

Your dog can learn to identify dozens of objects by name. Lay them all out on

the floor and ask your dog to indicate a specific one.

1 Start with a fun object whose name is already familiar to your dog, such as a

bumper or tennis ball. Lay it in a clear area alongside two other nonenticing

objects such as a hammer and hairbrush.

2 Point toward the objects and tell your dog to “find [bumper].” Praise him the

moment he grabs the correct object. Use your fetch command (page 24) to

encourage him to bring it to you. Reward him with a treat rather than by

playing with the toy, as the latter would encourage him to only select toys

from the pile of objects.

3 Add a second toy whose name is known to your dog. Alternate which one you

tell him to find. If he chooses incorrectly, don’t scold him, but rather don’t

acknowledge it one way or the other. Keep telling him to “find [object].”

WHAT TO EXPECT: This fun game really keeps your dog thinking. Practice

with different toys and in different locations. Dogs learn the same way we do—

by repetition—so keep practicing!

PREREQUISITES

Helpful: Fetch (page 24)

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG IS SO EXCITED, HE GRABS THE FIRST OBJECT HE

SEES

Hold your dog for ten seconds as you let the words sink in. Repeat your

object name several times and let him focus on the object from afar.

BUILD ON IT! Rico, a border collie from Germany, demonstrated his

knowledge of 200 object names!

TIP! Use objects names frequently with your dog. He can learn hundreds of

words!

“Bumper, tennis ball, Kong, hike, dunk, treat ball, stick, toot, pink ringy, frisbee, dumbbell, bonebone, squeak … I have LOTS of toys!”

STEPS:

2 Instruct your dog to find an object by name. Set one familiar object amongst

two unappealing objects.

Reward your dog with a treat for bringing the correct object.

3 Add a second familiar object to the set. Alternate asking your dog to find each

of the two familiar objects.

advanced

Directed Retrieve

TEACH IT:

Your directional hand signal indicates to your dog the course of travel to find an

object for retrieval. This exercise, using three white gloves, is part of the Utility

Level Obedience test. A wagon wheel configuration of bumpers is used to test

the abilities of a retrieving dog.

1 Set three plates about 15’ (4.6 m) around you in a semicircle with a small treat

placed on only one of the plates. With your dog sitting at your left and your

toes pointed toward the plate with the treat, indicate to your dog the desired

direction of travel—bend your knees slightly, open your hand, and run it from

behind you straight toward the plate and alongside your dog’s head while

telling him “mark.” Don’t make eye contact with your dog, as you want him

to look ahead to the plate rather than at you. Watch his head, and at the

moment he is looking in the correct direction, send him with “get it!” This is a

self-correcting training method, as your dog will only get the treat if he goes

to the correct plate. If he veers in a wrong direction, do not let him finish the

exercise, but call him back to your side. If your dog makes the same mistake

twice in a row, move a few steps closer toward the correct plate.

2 Now that your dog is reading your mark, replace the plates with three identical

objects, such as white gloves or retrieving bumpers. This time your dog will

be asked to fetch (page 24) the object. Remember to point your toes in the

correct direction and send your dog only when his gaze is correctly directed.

3 Try a four-bumper wagon-wheel configuration—after a successful retrieve,

toss the bumper back to its spot and select a new direction for the next

retrieve. Try this configuration with eight or sixteen bumpers, or try a

staggered configuration with bumpers at varying distances. Most difficult of

all is a blind retrieve, where the bumpers are hidden in tall grass or behind a

bush.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Sporting dogs generally have an easier time holding their

mark (direction), while herding and toy breeds can have a harder time. The skill

behind this exercise is your dog’s ability to set out in a straight course in a

designated direction. Once learned, this skill can have a variety of uses.

PREREQUISITES

Fetch (page 24)

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG RETRIEVES THE OBJECT TO THE LEFT OF THE ONE

INDICATED

Some dogs shy their head away from your hand, causing them to look

left. Slip your hand through your dog’s collar as you indicate the mark.

BUILD ON IT! Ready for the pros? Send your dog on a long-distance blind

retrieve. If he veers off course, blow your whistle (to indicate him to look

toward you and sit) and raise your right or left arm to indicate a new course

of travel.

TIP! Spend at least twenty minutes every day training your dog.

“My very very very favorite toy is Bumper. Bumper goes everywhere with me. I love Bumper.

Bumper, Bumper, Bumper!”

STEPS:

1 Indicate a “mark” to your dog with your open hand.

Your dog will be rewarded by finding a treat on the plate.

2 Substitute retrieving objects for the plates.

Have your dog fetch the object.

advanced

Directed Jumping

TEACH IT:

Directed jumping is one of the tests in sport of Utility Level Obedience. Set in

front of two bar jumps, your dog jumps the one indicated by your hand signal.

1 Set your dog in a stay (page 18) directly in front of one of two side-by-side bar

jumps. Position yourself on the other side of the jump and call your dog over

(page 147). Repeat this exercise with the other jump.

2 With your dog still positioned directly in front of one of the jumps, make it

more difficult by standing centered between the two jumps. Signal your dog

by raising the arm closest to the desired jump. In the beginning, you may wish

to wave your arm or hold a treat bag or toy in your hand to focus your dog’s

attention in the correct direction.

3 Work incrementally until both you and your dog are centered between the

jumps, facing each other. Use a verbal command and hand signal to indicate

the desired jump.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Although this trick doesn’t appear difficult to teach,

there are often a variety of problems that crop up. This is a great exercise for

building attention in your dog.

PREREQUISITES

Stay (page 18)

Jump over a bar (page 108)

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG GOES AROUND THE JUMP

If your dog attempts to go around the jump, stop him before he gets all

the way to you, and take him back to his starting position. Position

yourself a little closer to the desired jump until he is successful.

BUILD ON IT! Starting with your dog at your side, send him to a target

(page 145) past the jumps, and direct him to jump on his way back to you.

TIP! A slim, trim dog is a healthier dog—say no to table scraps and yes to

exercise.

1 Set your dog directly in front of one of the jumps.

2 Stand centered between the jumps.

3 Finally, start with both you and your dog centered.

intermediate

Pick a Card from a Deck

TEACH IT:

VERBAL CUE

Take it

Your dog will learn to pull a single playing card from a fanned-out deck. Make

your pooch a sensational part of your magic act!

1 Extend a single playing card toward your dog and tell him to “take it” (page

25). Hold it steady in your hand, without pushing it toward his mouth as the

edges can be sharp.

2 Now hold three cards in a wide fan as you instruct your dog to take one.

Reward him for any card he takes.

3 When you are ready to add a fourth card, extend one card in front of the others

so your dog can take it easier. As your dog improves, extend it less and less

until it is even with the other cards. If your dog is pulling out more than one

card at a time, coax him to be gentle by slowly saying “easy.” If two cards are

pulled out, say “whoops!” and try again without rewarding.

4 Are you ready to try an entire deck? Fan the cards as wide as you can and

extend several slightly beyond the others.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Small dogs tend to learn this trick easier, but any dog can

be picking a card within a week. Keep refining his skills until he does it like a

pro. Don’t be surprised if you come home early to find a dog poker game in your

living room!

PREREQUISITES

Take it (page 24)

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG TAKES THE TINIEST EDGE OF THE CARD

Your dog should take the card firmly so as not to risk dropping it. Give

some resistance as he pulls a card, causing him to grip harder.

BUILD ON IT! Your dog will be a magician with the help of a “stripper

deck,” which has a slightly tapered side. If a card is removed and inserted

back into the deck in the other direction, it will be the only card tapered in

the opposite direction.

2 Hold three cards in a wide fan.

3 Extend on card above the others.

4 Fan the whole deck, staggering some.

intermediate

Food Refusal

TEACH IT:

VERBAL CUE

Yuck

In this this trick, your dog turns his head away from food offered from your

hand. Add humor to this trick by explaining “my dog only eats kosher hot dogs,”

or asking “what do you think of my home cooking?”

1 Facing your dog, extend a treat toward him.

2 When he shows interest in the treat, tell him “yuck” in a disapproving tone and

pull your hand away or lightly bop him on the nose.

3 Repeat this process until your dog looks away from your hand. Watch closely,

and mark this instant by saying “good!” Release him from this exercise with

your release word “OK” and give him the treat.

4 Accept small aversions of his eyes at the beginning and gradually require him

to turn away for longer periods of time. Once he has the hang of it, use your

release word to signify that he may now take the treat from your hand. “My

mistake, it is a kosher hot dog!”

WHAT TO EXPECT: Most dogs can learn this trick within a few weeks. Dogs

are prone to cheating, so be consistent with your criteria for success. You can

move your hand from left to his right, and require him to change his head

position to continue to look away from the treat.

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG NEVER LOOKS AWAY FROM THE TREAT!

Patience … he has to look away eventually! Don’t let him obsess on

your hand. If he is nosing it a lot, bop his nose. Reward the slightest

glance away. Timing is crucial.

TIP! Dogs have greater peripheral vision than we do. Don’t be fooled—he

can still see your treat!

“What’s an oxymoron?”

STEPS:

1 Extend a treat toward your dog.

2 When he shows interest, pull your hand away.

3 Watch closely for the moment your dog looks away.

4 Use your release word to signify that he may now take the treat.

expert

Find the Object with My Scent

TEACH IT:

VERBAL CUE

Find mine

Utility Obedience competition requires your dog to search twelve identical

objects and retrieve the one with your scent. Leather and metal dumbbells are

commonly used for this exercise, but wooden dowels, metal jar lids, or even

clean silverware can be used.

1 It is vital to this exercise that the articles used are free of your scent. Air them

out for several days between uses and handle them using tongs. Mark them

with unique numbers so you can tell which is the scented one!

2 Using pegboard or a mat with holes poked through, tie down two out of three

identical articles. Scent the third by rubbing it in your palms for ten seconds,

and also with a little of the treat you are using. Place the scented article with

the other two, and instruct your dog to fetch (page 24). Be very gentle when

training scent work. Avoid saying “no,” but instead let your dog figure out on

his own that only one article is retrievable and not tied down. Praise him the

second he takes the correct article in his mouth, and reward him for bringing it

to you.

3 Tie additional unscented articles to the mat. If your dog has trouble finding the

free one, encourage him to keep looking. Phase out the scent of the treat, and

use only your scent on the object.

4 Now try it with all the objects not tied down. If your dog picks up a wrong one,

just ignore it as he may change his mind on his own. If he starts to bring an

incorrect article back to you, use an encouraging tone to tell him to keep

looking. Do not accept the wrong item.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Scent work is one of the most difficult exercises to train,

and dogs can be particularly sensitive to criticism in this area. If your dog feels

he has been reprimanded for choosing an incorrect article, he may doubt his

understanding of your wishes and use an avoidance technique to get out of doing

the exercise.

PREREQUISITES

Fetch (page 24)

Helpful: Easter egg hunt (page 98)

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG IS SUDDENLY HAVING TROUBLE

Have you changed your soap, hand lotion, or laundry detergent? How

about your diet or medication that may affect your scent? Was someone

smoking near your articles? New flea spray? Carpets cleaned? Visitor at

the house? Changes in scent can temporarily confuse your dog.

BUILD ON IT! Continue scent training with track a person’s scent trail

(page 194).

“Things I don’t like: fire ants, waiting in line, pineapple.”

STEPS:

1 The articles should be free from your scent and marked for identification.

2 Tie down two out of three articles. Scent the third, and place it alongside the

others.

Your dog will not be able to retrieve the unscented articles.

Praise your dog when he picks up the scented article.

3 Tie additional unscented articles to the mat.

4 Have all the articles not tied down.

Do not accept a wrong article from your dog.

Encourage your dog, and soon he’ll be sniffing out your article reliably!

expert

Contraband Search

TEACH IT:

Similar to a drug-detection dog, your K-9 will sniff out contraband. Three

volunteers participate, one of whom is given a tea bag. Your dog searches for the

“contraband” tea bag scent, and indicates the possessor. Train your dog to

indicate the find with a signal such as sitting, lying down, or nuzzling the tea

bag.

1 Build on your dog’s knowledge of finding hidden treats (page 98), by

transitioning to finding a tea bag. Hold the tea bag to your dog’s nose, and use

the word “scent” to indicate this is the scent to seek.

2 Hide the tea bag in an obvious spot, and place a treat on top of it. Instruct your

dog to “find it” and let him eat the treat when he does.

3 After several repetitions, rub the treat on the tea bag, and hide the tea bag only.

Encourage your dog as he searches, even pointing and running alongside him.

He will probably come close to the tea bag, but not know what to do. At this

point, place a treat on top of the tea bag, and praise him when he gets it. This

transition period will be a little confusing, as your dog learns that he is

searching for the tea bag, and not the treat. Eventually, you will hide the tea

bag only, and when your dog finds it you can toss him a treat.

4 Once your dog has the hang of searching out the tea bag in hidden spots, try

placing in on a person’s knee, as they sit on the floor.

5 Now try the real thing; three people sitting in chairs, one of whom is hiding a

tea bag. Leave enough room between them for your dog to search from the

sides. Hold a duplicate tea bag to your dog’s nose and tell him “scent.” Send

him on his search with “find it!” At first, help your dog by guiding him to

search each person, as he may think the tea bag is somewhere else in the

house. When he indicates that he has found the tea bag, praise and reward!

WHAT TO EXPECT: This is an advanced skill that requires not only

intelligence and a good nose, but discipline and diligence. A quick learner can

master this skill in four weeks.

PREREQUISITES

Easter egg hunt (page 98)

TROUBLESHOOTING

WHAT KIND OF TEA SHOULD I USE?

Many dogs are crazy about mint!

CAN MY DOG FIND A TEA BAG IN SOMEONE’S POCKET?

Yes, but it will be more difficult, as the scent will be confined to a

smaller area. The longer the tea bag sits in their pocket however, the

easier its scent will be to detect.

BUILD ON IT! Now that your dog is familiar with scent work, try find the

object with my scent (page 190).

TIP! To perform confidently and happily, your dog must have a clear idea of

expectations.

STEPS:

1 Hold a tea bag to your dog’s nose as you tell him “scent.”

2 Place a treat on top of the tea bag and have your dog “find it.”

3 Rub a treat on the tea bag and reward your dog when he finds it.

4 Place the tea bag on a person’s knee.

5 Have your dog search several people for the “contraband” tea bag.

expert

Track a Person’s Scent Trail

TEACH IT:

VERBAL CUE

Scent

Track

Your dog has an extraordinary nose and can track the path traveled by you or

another person.

1 Lay your track in moist grass, where the scent will be easiest to detect. Scuff

your feet at the beginning of your track to create a “scent pad,” and continue

scuffing as you walk about 50 yards (46 m) in a straight line. Drop odoriferous

treats, such as hot dog slices, along your path every few yards and use small

cones or flags to remind yourself of your path. Leave an object with your

scent, such as a sock, at the end of the track. Stuff some treats inside the sock

to capture your dog’s interest.

2 Outfit your dog in a harnesses and 12’ (3.7 m) lead and bring him to the scent

pad. Tell him to “track” and let him find the first treat left along your trail.

Unlike in obedience, when tracking your dog leads—showing you where to

go. Walk slowly, allowing him to pull forward. Do not reprimand him for

veering off track, but do not let him pull you off course.

3 When a working tracking dog finds a scented object, he is trained to signal the

handler by lying down. When your dog gets to the end of your track and

nuzzles the sock, tell him to lie down (page 16) and reward him with a treat

from inside.

4 Now try a gradual 90-degree turn in your track. Note that your track holds its

scent for a day or more, so use a variety of training locations. Take note of the

wind direction. If your dog is traveling downwind from your track, it may be

that he is airscenting. Graduate to a 20’ (6.1 m) lead and farther spaced treats

as your dog becomes more independent. Increase difficulty by aging the tracks

before following them.

WHAT TO EXPECT: It is often hard to distinguish between a dog off-track

and a dog picking up scent that has blown downwind. Have trust that your dog

knows his job and assume your role as coach rather than teacher. Dogs enjoy

scent work and can be tracking a trail of hot dogs within a few weeks.

PREREQUISITES

Down (page 16)

Helpful: Easter egg hunt (page 98

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG STAYS CLOSE TO MY LEGS INSTEAD OF LEADING

Keep your lips zipped and let his instinct take over. The more you talk

to your dog, the more he will look to you for direction.

I’M BUNDLED UP FOR COLD WEATHER—AM I LEAVING ENOUGH

SCENT?

Yes, your scent will come through your clothes. Your dog can also

smell the scent of the smashed grass blades under your feet.

BUILD ON IT! Expert trackers can follow aged tracks with several turns

and over a variety of surfaces.

TIP! A dog’s sniffing behavior involves taking short, deep inhalations that

pass air over olfactory receptors deep in the dog’s snout.

“Track a person? I thought I was tracking hot dogs!”

STEPS:

1 Lay a 50-yard (46 m) straight track. Use cones to mark your path.

Drop a scented sock filled with treats at the end of the track.

2 Have your dog sniff the scent pad at the beginning of the track.

Let your dog lead as he searches for the treats left on the track.

3 When your dog finds the sock, have him lie down to indicate the find.

Chapter 12 Love Me, Love My Dog

Puppy dog eyes can melt the hardest of hearts and unravel the strongest of

wills because we, after all, love our dogs. Obedience trainers and dog

behaviorists may scorn as we sleep with furry foot warmers or perch our

pooch on our lap and (heaven forbid!) kiss him on the lips. But rules are

made to be broken, and we promise … we won’t tell!

“Quo me amat, amat et canem meam.” Love me, love my dog. This Latin

proverb quoted to Saint Bernard has been repeated in almost every language

throughout the centuries.

Go ahead and celebrate the close bond between you and your dog with the

intimate tricks in this chapter. These expressive behaviors will endear him to

all!

easy

Kisses

TEACH IT:

Your dog licks or noses the lips or cheek of you or another person.

1 Sit at “doggy-level.” Give the verbal cue and place a treat between your teeth

as you lean forward. Allow your dog to take the treat, and praise him with

“good kisses!”

2 If you do not wish your dog to kiss you on your lips (although I can’t imagine

why!), put some peanut butter on your cheek, point to it while saying “kisses,”

and let him lick it off.

3 With a treat held behind your back, point to your lips or cheek and tell your

dog “kisses!” When he licks or noses you, mark the instant with “good!” and

reward him with the treat.

4 Now try it with someone else. Have a helper apply some peanut butter to their

cheek. Point to it and cue your dog. When he licks your helper’s cheek, tell

him “good,” and reward him. Step back and send your dog a farther distance

to give kisses. Phase out the peanut butter and have your dog return to you for

his treat.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Dogs will often learn this trick within a week, although

shy dogs may require more coaxing.

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG BITES MY LIP

Address this issue separately by telling your dog “easy” as you allow

him to take treats. Bop him on the nose if he bites, and say “ouch!”

MY DOG IS SCARED NEAR MY FACE

Your dog is putting himself in a submissive position by coming close to

your mouth (which in dog culture could lead to a bite). This trick

requires trust. Try holding the treat several inches from your mouth, and

as he reaches for it, bring it closer to your face.

TIP! In dog packs, a dog will lick the lips of a more dominant dog, as a way

of showing subservience

1 Let your dog to take a treat from your teeth.

2 Put peanut butter on your cheek.

3 Point to your lips for a kiss.

intermediate

Paws on My Arm

TEACH IT:

If your pet peeve is a pet that jumps on guests, teach him to welcome visitors

with paws on their arm to give him a safe and manageable way to show his

enthusiasm.

1 Sit on the floor with your dog on your left. Raise your left arm in front of him

and lure his head upward with a treat in your right hand. Your dog will

probably place one or both paws on your forearm, in an effort to reach the

treat, but if he doesn’t you can coax his paws onto your arm with your hands.

Once your dog is in the correct position, with his paws resting on your arm,

allow him to nibble treats from your hand.

2 Try this exercise while standing up. Use the verbal cue and hand signal. You

may wish to hold the treat in your mouth until you are ready to give it to your

dog to keep him from becoming distracted by it (hot dogs or cheese work

well).

WHAT TO EXPECT: Dog’s can often learn this trick within a few training

sessions. Your guests are sure to thank you!

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG PUTS ONLY ONE PAW ON MY ARM

To start, you may have to use your hand to guide his second paw up.

MY DOG IS STILL JUMPING ON PEOPLE!

This hand signal will become an invitation for your dog to raise himself

to your arm. Be clear with your rules—without an invitation, your dog

should be reprimanded for jumping on people (assuming that is your

rule).

BUILD ON IT! Once you’ve mastered paws on my arm, use a similar

action to learn say your prayers (page 42)!

TIP! Position your arm perpendicular to your body and have your dog

approach from the outside so as to prevent him from knocking you over or

overextending your shoulder.

1 Lure your dog onto your arm and allow him to nibble a treat.

2 Repeat this exercise while standing.

intermediate

Head Down

TEACH IT:

From a down position, your dog lowers his head to rest upon the floor. This is a

common trick for movie dogs. “Aww, the doggy looks sad!”

1 Kneel to the side of your dog as he rests in a down position. Hold a treat on the

floor, out of reach in front of him. Cue “head down” while using your other

hand to gently push his head to the floor using pressure points behind his ears.

2 Hold him for a few seconds with his chin resting on the floor between his

paws, then praise and slide your treat toward him. Allow him to take the treat

and then give your release word “OK” and release his head so he can chew. If

your dog is very resistant to your physical manipulation, reward the instant his

chin touches the floor, so as not to cause him to struggle.

3 Gradually lighten your touch on his head, so that you do short taps rather than

constant pressure. Once his head is down, instruct him to “stay” a few seconds

before rewarding. Always present your reward on the floor, so your dog isn’t

tempted to look up for it.

WHAT TO EXPECT: In its final stage, you should be able to stand some

distance from your dog and point on the ground while giving the verbal cue.

Submissive dogs will have an easier time with this behavior than dominant dogs.

Train calmly and gently, and gauge your dog’s anxiety level so as not to push

him past his comfort zone.

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG RUNS AWAY WHEN I TRY TO TRAIN THIS TRICK

Physically manipulating your dog is a slippery slope. He may think you

are dominating him or punishing him by pushing his head down.

Progress slowly and gently with this trick, and only practice two or

three times per session. Praise lavishly!

BUILD ON IT! Lift your pointed finger up from the floor to teach “head

up.”

TIP! Old dogs want to make you proud as well! Ask them for a behavior

they can achieve, and praise lavishly!

1 A combination of a food lure and your hand pressure will guide your dog’s

head down.

2 Slide the treat to your dog while keeping him in the proper position.

3 Use your hand signal to focus your dog’s attention downward.

advanced

Cover Your Eyes

TEACH IT:

Your dog hides his eyes by hooking his paw over his muzzle.

1 Stick a sticky note or piece of tape to your dog’s muzzle and encourage him to

“cover, get it!” One swipe at his face should be enough to dislodge the paper.

Praise him with “good cover!”

2 With your dog laying down, stick the note to the center of his head, just above

his eyes. He will have a harder time swatting at this spot and will eventually

poke his head under one wrist. Perfect! Be ready to reward him in the spot

where his head pokes under his paw.

3 Alternate between using the sticky note and just tapping his head in the spot

where you normally stick the sticky note. Use “stay” to get your dog to hold

the position for a few seconds.

4 Try it from a sitting position. Place the sticky note on the bridge of your dog’s

nose and when he raises his paw to swat at it, reward him under his arm. As

you wean off the sticky note, he may try to get away with merely waving,

without touching his face. In this case, go back to using a sticky note.

Eventually, stand up while giving the cue to encourage your dog’s head

higher. Try it with your dog in different positions: sit, down, or bow.

WHAT TO EXPECT: This method of training is so natural that your dog

should be swiping the note right away. After about a month, or 200 repetitions,

your dog should have the hang of an eye cover with the aid of the sticky note. It

could take a lot longer, however, until he has it mastered without that aid.

TROUBLESHOOTING

MY DOG SHAKES HIS HEAD INSTEAD OF PAWING AT THE

STICKY NOTE

Use a stronger adhesive tape so your dog can’t merely shake it off. Cue

him to shake hands (page 22) to give him the idea to use his paw. Stick

the note in different places: above or below his eye or on top of his

head.

MY DOG JUST SITS THERE WITH THE PAPER STUCK TO HIS

NOSE!

Your dignified dog needs to be encouraged to attack the object, as he

would a bug on his nose. Touch the paper to make him aware of it and

use your voice to excite him.

TIP! Take your dog on a trip or errand. It will be good for his social skills

and he’ll enjoy the change of scenery.

STEPS:

1 Encourage your dog to swipe at a sticky note on his face.

2 While laying down, your dog will poke his head under his paw.

3 Just tap the spot on his head instead of using a sticky note.

4 Go back to using the sticky note, but this time in the sitting position.

Stand up to encourage your dog’s head higher.

Try an eye cover in a bow position.

intermediate

Wave Good-bye

TEACH IT:

Your dog waves his paw high in the air.

1 With your dog sitting, face him and have him shake hands (page 22).

2 Say “shake, bye-bye” and extend your hand a little higher than you normally

would to shake hands. Your dog won’t be able to hold his paw that high, so his

motion will look like he is pawing at your hand.

3 Draw your hand slightly away from your dog, so he can just barely reach your

fingers.

4 Pull your hand back at the last second so he is not touching it at all, but merely

pawing the air. Be sure to praise him, so he understands that the desired

behavior is the waving motion, as opposed to the actual touch.

WHAT TO EXPECT: With a solid shake, your dog can transition to a wave

within a few training sessions.

PREREQUISITES

Shake hands (page 22)

TROUBLESHOOTING

AS I MOVE AWAY FROM MY DOG, HE KEEPS MOVING TOWARD

ME, TRYING TO TOUCH MY HAND

Stand a few feet away from your dog with your hand outstretched

toward him as you cue him. At the last second, pull your hand away so

that he is pawing the air. Reward this!

MY DOG STANDS UP

Put him back in a sit before continuing to train. He will have higher

extension from a sitting position.

BUILD ON IT! Sit alongside your dog as you both wave good-bye

together.

TIP! Sometimes, your dog offers an unexpected, but cute, behavior. Don’t

miss that opportunity! Reward it and try to elicit it again.

STEPS:

“Bye, bye!”

1 Have your dog shake hands.

2 Extend your hand higher than normal.

3 With your hand farther away, your dog can just barely reach your fingers.

4 Pull your hand back at the last second so your dog paws the air.

Transition to the hand signal.

“Bye, bye!”

APPENDIX A: TRICKS BY SKILL LEVEL

EASY

3-2-1 let’s go! 105

back up 161

beginning disc dog 120

come 19

crawl 144

doggy push-ups 54

down 16

drop it/give 26

fetch/take it 24

get your leash 37

hockey goalie 92

hoop jump 125

jump for joy 175

jump over a bar 108

jump over my knee 109

kennel up 43

kisses 197

peekaboo! 52

place (circle to my left side) 166

pull on a rope 73

shake hands—left and right 22

side (swing to my left side) 168

sit 15

speak 30

spin circles 162

stay 18

take a bow 164

touch a target 145

tunnel 143

walk the dog 38

ADVANCED

act ashamed 56

baton jumping 116

chorus line kicks 176

climb a ladder 152

cover your eyes 200

directed jumping 186

directed retrieve 184

disc vault off my leg 122

disobedient dog—under the hoop 134

double hoop sequence 128

figure 8’s 172

find the remote/car keys 78

football 88

get the phone when it rings 67

go hide 96

jump over my back 110

my dog can count 180

play dead 32

play the piano 62

say your prayers 42

turn off the light 68

INTERMEDIATE

balance and catch 27

carry my purse 44

discern objects names 182

dog on point 104

easter egg hunt 98

fetch my slippers 36

food refusal 188

head down 199

heel forward and backward 160

hide and seek 94

honk a bike horn 51

jump into my arms 112

jump through my arms 126

leg weave 170

mail carrier 76

moonwalk 174

newspaper delivery 40

paper-covered hoop 140

paws on my arm 198

pick a card from a deck 187

ring a bell to come inside 72

roll over 31

sit pretty/beg 28

soccer 86

teeter-totter 148

through a hoop lying on the ground 138

under/over 146

wave goodbye 202

which hand holds the treat? 97

EXPERT

basketball 90

bring me a beer from the fridge 74

bring me a tissue 82

contraband search 192

find the object with my scent 190

hoop jump over my back 132

jump rope 118

limp 58

open/close a door 70

pickpocket pooch 60

push a shopping cart 80

ring toss 100

roll a barrel 154

roll yourself in a blanket 48

rolling hoop dive 136

shell game 102

summersault/handstand vault 114

tidy up your toys 46

track a person’s scent trail 194

weave poles 150

world’s dumbest dog 64

APPENDIX B: TRICKS BY SPORT

AGILITY

hoop jump 125

jump over a bar 108

teeter-totter 148

touch a target 145

tunnel 143

under/over 146

weave poles 150

DISC DOG

beginning disc dog 120

disc vault off my leg 122

jump into my arms 112

jump over my back 110

jump over my knee 109

jump through my arms 126

summersault/handstand vault 114

DOG DANCING/FREESTYLE

back up 161

chorus line kicks 176

figure 8’s 172

head down 199

heel forward and backward 160

jump for joy 175

jump through my arms 126

leg weave 170

moonwalk 174

paws on my arm 198

peekaboo! 52

place (circle to my left side) 166

rollover 31

side (swing to my left side) 168

sit pretty/beg 28

spin circles 162

take a bow 164

wave good-bye 202

HELPER DOG/SERVICE DOG

bring me a beer from the fridge 74

bring me a tissue 82

carry my purse 44

discern objects names 182

fetch my slippers 36

find the remote/car keys 78

get the phone when it rings 67

get your leash 37

kennel up 43

mail carrier 76

newspaper delivery 40

open/close a door 70

pull on a rope 73

push a shopping cart 80

ring a bell to come inside 72

tidy up your toys 46

turn off the light 68

HUNTING/RETRIEVING

directed retrieve 184

dog on point 104

drop it/give 26

fetch/take it 24

OBEDIENCE

come 19

directed jumping 186

directed retrieve 184

doggy push-ups 54

down 16

drop it/give 26

fetch/take it 24

find the object with my scent 190

heel forward and backward 160

jump over a bar 108

place (circle to my left side) 166

side (swing to my left side) 168

sit 15

stay 18

SEARCH AND RESCUE/POLICE DOG

climb a ladder 152

contraband search 192

crawl 144

easter egg hunt 98

food refusal 188

hide and seek 94

roll a barrel 154

track a person’s scent trail 194

THERAPY DOG

cover your eyes 200

head down 199

kisses 197

paws on my arm 198

say your prayers 42

shake hands—left and right 22

speak 30

TRACKING

find the object with my scent 190

hide and seek 94

track a person’s scent trail 194

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Five year old Weimaraner, Chalcy, is the most recognized dog in the country.

She and her owner and trainer, Kyra Sundance, have entertained audiences

worldwide with their trick dog show, performing at fairs, circuses, schools, and

sporting event halftime shows. Audiences have been amazed by television

performances on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, Entertainment Tonight, Best Damn

Sports Show Period, and the Tonight Show where Jay Leno deemed Chalcy

“World’s Smartest Dog!” Complex routines, comic antics, and obvious love for

each other are an inspiration to animal enthusiasts.

In addition to tricks, Kyra and Chalcy spent years achieving expert ranking in

the competitive dog sport of obedience, agility, jumping, hunting, retrieving, and

versatility.

Kyra’s step-by-step approach to dog trick training has benefited hundreds of

students as they rediscovered the joys of their dog. Kyra utilizes positive training

methods that emphasize bonding, collaboration, reward, and instinctive dog

communication styles.

Kyra and Chalcy live with Kyra’s husband, Randy Banis, on a ranch in

California’s Mojave Desert.

ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Nick Saglimbeni moved to Los Angeles in 1997

to pursue cinematography at the top-ranked USC School of Cinema. After

shooting several commercials, music videos, and short films, Nick was

recognized in 2003 by the American Society of Cinema-tographers with a

Heritage Award. That same year, after hearing countless stories from frustrated

actors and models who were unable to find good photographers, Nick opened

SlickforceStudio, a cutting-edge photo studio in downtown LA. Clients

immediately responded to the cinematic nature of Nick’s work, and the studio

quickly gained international recognition. Nick’s work has been featured in many

major magazines, and he continues to shoot for film and television. You can see

more of his work at www.slickforce.com.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Thanks to Heidi Horn (production assistant, bandanna coordinator, dog petter,

and Kyra’s mother) and Claire Doré (assistant trainer, consultant, and dog

motivator), and especially to all the beautiful, talented, and hard-working dogs:

Dana (Aussie mix), Kwest & Kwin (Alaskan malamutes), Sutton (yellow Lab),

Gina (rough collie), Skippy (parson russell mix), Cricket (Chihuahua), and

Chalcy (Weimaraner).

IN MEMORIAM

A short time before this book went to press, Dana’s life was tragically taken

when she was hit by a car and killed instantly. Dana (below, far right) had an

esteemed career as an animal actor, where she performed for film and television

as well as live shows. She was an extremely intelligent dog with a kind and

gentle soul. She will be missed by all those who knew and loved her, and

especially by her owner, Claire.

WHAT’S NEXT?

50 MORE TRICKS!

1 ABCs identification 2 Baseball

3 Breakdance: rub your back on the floor 4 Chase your tail

5 Cock your head to one side 6 Cross your paws

7 Dangling rope: use mouth and paw to pull up 8 Deposit coin into piggy bank 9

Dig

10 Drink from a fountain 11 Find a lost object 12 Guard an object

13 Growl/bare teeth

14 Hi-ho silver away/rear on hind legs 15 Jump into the car 16 Lead a person by

the wrist 17 Lick lips/act hungry 18 Nod in agreement

19 Nose touch to hand 20 Object placement

21 Paws up

22 Pony ride: stand on my back as I crawl 23 Pull on harness/pull a cart 24 Push

things with paw (doors, drawers) 24 Ring around the rosy 26 Ring bell by

pulling string 27 Ring bell with nose 28 Ring bell with paw 29 Roll over with

ball between front paws 30 Rub muzzle on floor 31 Scratch yourself

32 Shake an object

33 Shake head in disagreement 34 Shake yourself

35 Sing

36 Skateboard

37 Sneeze

38 Soft mouth: carry a raw egg 39 Spin with front paws on a stool 40 Stop at the

curb

41 Stop at the front door 42 Stop dead on cue

43 Swim

44 Take money and bring it to you!

45 Tap your paw to count 46 Toss a toy in the air 47 Volleyball with a balloon 48

Walk backward up stairs 49 Walk on forequarters 50 Yawn

This page was supposed to be called the “conclusion.” But this is not the

conclusion to your dog training at all, but rather the first steps in a lifelong

endeavor. Now that you have some skills under your belt and ideas and guidance

for training, your adventure is just beginning!

As you’ve read through the tricks in this book, you’ve probably noticed

similarities in training techniques—give a cue, lure your dog into position, give

the reward, up the ante. As you get ready to train new tricks, original tricks,

tricks that are unique to you and your dog, use the strategies you’ve learned to

figure out the methods.

Test your training creativity by running down the list to the left, and thinking

about how you would train these tricks. How would you get your dog to lick his

lips (number 17 in the list)? Why, you put peanut butter on his nose, of course!

How about to use a soft mouth to carry an egg (number 38)? Train with a stick

wrapped in wire, which would hurt his teeth if he bared down. Cross your paws

(number 6)? Have your dog do a paw shake while in a down position. Gradually

move your hand to the side, until his shake crosses over his other paw. Sing

(number 35)? When does your dog normally howl? At a siren or other noise?

Most dogs will sing to a harmonica if you hit the right note. I’m sure you get the

idea.

Our dog’s lives are far too short, and the time we have to enjoy with them passes

quickly. Make the most of it!

www.101dogtricks.com

© 2007 by Quarry Books All rights reserved. No part of this book may be

reproduced in any form without written permission of the copyright owner. All

images in this book have been reproduced with the knowledge and prior consent

of the artists concerned and no responsibility is accepted by the producer,

publisher, or printer for any infringement of copyright or otherwise, arising from

the contents of this publication. Every effort has been made to ensure that credits

accurately comply with information supplied.

First published in the United States of America by Quarry Books, a member of

Quayside Publishing Group

33 Commercial Street

Gloucester, Massachusetts 01930-5089

Telephone: (978) 282-9590

Fax: (978) 283-2742

www.quarrybooks.com

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data available ISBN-13: 978-1-

59253-325-1

ISBN-10: 1-59253-325-6

Digital edition: 978-1-61673503-6

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

101 Dog Tricks contains a variety of training recommendations for your dog.

While caution was taken to give safe recommendations, it is impossible to

predict an individual dog’s reaction to the recommended handling or training.

Neither the author, Kyra Sundance, Sundance MediaCom, nor the Publisher,

Quayside Publishing Group, accepts liability for any mental, financial, or

physical harm that arises from following the advice, techniques, or procedures in

this book. Readers should use personal judgment when applying the

recommendations of this text.

Cover Design: Rockport Publishers

Design: Sundance MediaCom

www.sundancemediacom.com

All photography: Nick Saglimbeni/www.slickforce.com, with the exception of

the following: Kyra Sundance, 10, 11, 12, 13, 20, 21, 34, 50, 84, 104, 106, 142,

159, 178, and 208.

“Do More With Your Dog!” is a registered trademark of Kyra Sundance.

Printed in Singapore

www.101dogtricks.com

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