This month we’re getting back to some fun stuff – Tricks! Dog tricks are fun to teach, fun to learn, and you can sneak in some great foundation skills training while you’re at it. During the play groups in March we’ll be working on a variety of dog tricks, focusing on teaching the dogs to “peek” (to put their head between your legs and look up) and “back up”. To teach both of these dog tricks we start with the same basic sequence:
- 1. Use food to lure the behavior.
- 2. Transition to a hand signal with an empty hand (no food lure).
- 3. Once the dog has a reliable hand signal cue, add the verbal cue.
To start training “Peek”:
- 1. Stand a few feet away from your dog, with your back to them and your legs a couple feet apart. Drop your hand between your legs at your dog’s nose level. At this point, use a piece of food to lure your dog’s head through your legs.
- 2. Once your dog’s head is through, click and treat. Try to deliver the treat where you’d like them to stop and stand between your legs. Pull your hand up to encourage them to raise their head and make eye contact, and when they look up click and give them a second treat.
To start training your dog to “Back up”:
- 1. Start by facing your dog, if they’re sitting, cue them to stand or take a step back and use a piece of food to lure them into a standing position.
- 2. Once they’re standing, put a piece of kibble in your hand, close it into a fist, and put your fist slightly below your dog’s nose.
- 3. Lean into your dog slightly and watch their feet. As soon as they move a paw back, click and give them a treat. Try not to physically push them back with your hand, we want them to make the choice to move back on their own, if possible.
- 4. If your dog sits when you try this instead of backing up, move your hand down lower – towards their chest – so that their head bows down a little, and try again.
Check out a video of dogs learning these skills in our Doggy Business LLC play groups on our web page, www.doggybusiness.net. Remember the most important part of teaching dog tricks – have fun and keep training!