Three Tricks to Teach Your Dog on a Rainy Day
Spring has sprung, which means rainy days are upon us. While my pack and I are not shy to a bit of rain, we seek indoor shelter if there is too much of it. So that begs the question of what to do on a rainy day? The answer is trick training! Here are three of my favourite tricks that you can teach your dog on your next rainy day inside.
Before we get started, you'll need a clicker (you can substitute this with your voice), some tasty treats, and an assortment of your dog's favourite toys!
The Enthusiastic Wave
Before we teach your dog to wave hello, your dog must know how to shake. You can teach your dog to wave in many ways, but here's how I trained the command.
Start your training session by asking your dog to "shake" and move your hand once the paw goes up. Click/say yes and reward. After a few reps, replace the word "shake" with "wave" and begin raising your hand higher to achieve a paw motion that resembles a wave. Do this gradually until your dog's paw has risen to the desired position. Once your dog understands what you are asking, remove the hand and ask for the command using the verbal cue "wave."
Ta-da! With a little more practice, your dog will be ready to wave hello to all their friends.
You'll need some of your dog's favourite toys to teach this fun and helpful command. An arrangement of objects that vary in size is best!
Start this command by grabbing your dog's favourite toy and moving it around, getting your dog interested in the object. Once you've got your dog's attention, offer the toy to your dog; if they touch/grab the toy, click/say yes, praise, and reward! Repeat this game with your dog, making them eager to grab the toy. Once your dog is grabbing the toy, you can start the verbal cue "hold." Offer the toy and ask your dog to "hold," keep the duration short, three to five seconds, ensuring they succeed. Pick a release word such as "ok," "drop," or "release," and reward your dog when you've asked them to drop the object.
This command takes a lot of practice with many short sessions to build up the hold duration. Once your dog has mastered hold with its toy, you can begin introducing new objects in various shapes and sizes! Just like that, your dog can hold onto numerous objects, but the possibilities are endless. Perhaps bringing you their leash is next.
Pose is one of my favourite tricks and is perfect for taking photos with your dog. The easiest way to teach this trick is by luring your dog onto your shoulders, but timing the rewards and breaking it up into steps your dog can understand is crucial!
To prepare for this trick, teach your dog "up" on different surfaces outside and inside the home. You can do this by luring your dog with tasty treats. If you've adequately prepared by getting your dog comfortable putting their paws on different surfaces, this trick should be a piece of cake!
Sit in front of your dog with your back towards them. Begin luring them just past your shoulders; click/say yes and reward when their head goes past your shoulders. Continue rewarding for paws on your back or shoulders until they are in position. Click/say yes, reward and repeat by resetting your setup. I like throwing treats away from me when resetting to keep them engaged and interested. Once they get the hang of the command, you can incorporate the verbal cue "pose."
You are now photo-ready!
Trick training is a lot of fun and mentally stimulating for both parties. It's essential to keep in mind that teaching new tricks should be done in short sessions to keep training fun and engaging. It's easy for both humans and dogs to get frustrated when trying to communicate and learn new tricks. Always end sessions on a positive note, and practice often!
- Jess, Stirling, Percy, Eris, and Pekoe
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