Trick Challenge

I was talking to someone today about my trick class. That person asked me how many commands my Doberman, DashDash, knows. She also asked me how many of the tricks listed in Kyra Sundance’s multiple books did my dog know – “101 Dog Tricks”, “Do More With Your Dog!”, “51 Puppy Tricks”, “10 Minute Dog Training Games”.
Most of the commands (tricks) she knows are included in the above books. A few of the commands were behaviors needed of a dog in commercials I had worked on. Listed below are the commands DashDash already knows.

1. Back up
2. Balance disc
3. Barrel Racing (run around a cone)
4. Basketball
5. Bow
6. Come
7. Crawl
8. Directed jumping
9. Directed retrieve
10. Doggy push ups
11. Down
12. Drop it/give
13. Fetch to hand
14. Figure 8 (through legs)
15. Find me
16. Find object with my scent (scent discrimination)
17. Front
18. Halt/Wait
19. Head cock
20. Head down
21. Hike Back leg
22. Hoop jump
23. Jump
24. Jumping Figure 8
25. Kennel up
26. Leave it
27. Nose touch

28. Nosework
29. Paw touch
30. Paws on arm
31. Paws up
32. Perch work (pivot with front legs on perch)
33. Pickpocket
34. Play dead
35. Ring toss
36. Settle
37. Shake hands
38. Shell game (find the toy)
39. Side step
40. Sit
41. Spin
42. Stack bowls
43. Stand
44. Stay
45. Teeter
46. Touch my hand
47. Tug (She’s a Doberman, after all.)
48. Tunnel
49. Walk
50. Walk on loose leash – heel
51. Watch me/focus
52. Weave through legs
53. Weaves
54. Which hand holds the treat

So I decided my goal is to teach DashDash 101 tricks. She’s already more than half way there. Most of the ideas of what to train I’ll get from one of the mentioned books. But, where Kyra Sundance uses luring to teach most of the behaviors, I’m going to use shaping. I’ll use luring where it is appropriate. But, I have found that if you are asking a dog to interact with something – touch my hand, climb on a platform, put toys in a basket – shaping is more effective. DashDash learned in less than five minutes to play basketball, stack bowls, and put her fetching sticks in a basket through shaping.

Some of the tricks in the books are not appropriate for my dog. No, I am not going to ask my 60 pound Doberman to vault off my back or legs. And there’s no way my arms are long enough for her to jump through. I also will not teach her anything that’s potentially harmful. Jumping through a paper covered hoop would be giving her permission to plow headfirst into something.
Look for upcoming blogs where I’ll not only list the new tricks she’ll learn, I’ll let you know which training method I use, and how long it took to train it.

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