Best of the Barking Butler

Posted on March 19, 2020May 7, 2021Categories Assistance Dog Skills, Great Tricks, Training Methods, Uncategorized, VideosTags , , , , , , , , ,

Have you ever wished your dog could pass your husband that wrench? Or that you could send your dog to the garden with a note for mother? One of the best tricks you can teach your barking butler is to deliver objects to targets. In this article, we will go through the 3 simple steps it takes to teach your dog to deliver an object to another person.

Roscoe learns to deliver an object between 2 people

Teach ‘take it to mom/dad’

Pre-requisite training: Retrieving is required, knowing names is helpful too.

Step 1: Stand 8 ft apart from your partner. The sender has the dog retrieve an easy item like a glove by handing it to them or tossing it on the ground. The sender cues ‘get it,’ but as the dog comes to deliver it, the sender points and says ‘take it to (name).’

Step 2: Now the sender must be quiet and let the receiver do the talking. Sender stands still and stares at the receiver while they ask the dog to ‘bring it here.’ The sender cannot offer any further encouragement, nor should they cue the dog again. This is key. If the sender keeps talking, the dog won’t stop looking at them and go off to the receiver.

Step 3: Fade the hint by waiting 2 full seconds after the sender says “take it to-” before helping. Your dog will already be on their way over most of the time, and will require less and less encouragement from the receiver.

Simple as 1-2-3! Now you can try new objects and locations. Increase distance until the dog can deliver to someone in another room without the receiver helping at all.

Troubleshooting

Near the end of the video I left some demonstrations of how to handle setbacks, such as the dog dropping the item either halfway there or just as they deliver it. At one point Roscoe simply trots off without ever getting the item.

The person who is to receive the delivery is the person who needs to encourage the retrieve. The sender must always remain silent after giving the ‘take it to’ cue.

If the dog drops the item, ask them to retrieve it again rather than picking it up yourself.

If the ‘get it’ is a complete fail to begin with (as in the case that they march off with nothing), then the sender will have to call the dog back to start over, but once the dog has the item, the sender must stay silent.

Enjoy your dog’s new skill!

Move over, Lassie, here comes my dog, and he’s got a message for you and my mom! (that he’s the bestest boy there is).

Peek-a-boo!

Posted on September 27, 2016Categories Dogs, Great Tricks, Please Share, VideosTags , , , ,

Peek-a-boo is such a cute dog trick! Your dog learns to pop up between your legs, which is a fun game some dogs discover on their own (typically, while in attendance at formal parties.) I’ve taught my dogs to ‘peek-a-boo-you’ so that  I can send them to goose someone else (while in attendance at informal parties, mostly.) Though, this trick can be classy; adding ‘chorus line kicks,’ so that your dog walks dramatically along with you will delight any dog dancing enthusiast. You can teach your dog to ‘peek-a-boo’ too, in just a 3 easy steps!

Teach ‘Peek-a-boo!’

  1. Cue ‘peek-a-boo’ by putting your hands on your hips, and popping both knees out.

  2. Lure your dog into position

  3. Say ‘yes!’ and reward

It’s smart to practice luring your dog through a few times before you add the cue. Begin with treats in both hands, holding one behind you so that your dog can see the teat between your legs. Once your dog is through and behind you, reach through your legs with your other hand from the front so that you can lure them forward and into position. Say ‘yes!’ when your dog is right between your legs, and reward. As you get better at luring, and your dog gets the hang of it, you’ll find that you can lure them easily with just one hand.

Don’t forget to release! I always release my dog from the peek-a-boo position with ‘okay’ so that I can have them hold that position as long as I want and perform the advanced peek-a-boo tricks.

Stimulus Control, for Safety’s Sake!

Getting this trick under stimulus control means that your dog won’t perform the trick absent of the cue. While you could choose almost any combination of verbal or hand signals you’d like as your cue, I recommend that bending your knees always be part of your ‘peek-a-boo’ cue. Don’t reward your dog’s peek-a-boo unless you bent your knees and asked for it. This will prevent your dog from trying to peek-a-boo people who may be knocked over, justifiably surprised by a large dog suddenly appearing in their crotch.

Bonus Tricks

The peek-a-boo walk: Feed your dog as you take steps forward, then start feeding after a step or two, then after 3 or 4 steps, increasing the time spent walking in the peek-a-boo position gradually. Always release your dog.

Chorus line kicks: Ask your dog to ‘shake-a-paw’ or ‘wave’ a few times before your next ‘peek-a-boo.’ Now, cue your dog to ‘shake-a-paw’ from the ‘peek-a-boo’ position. You may need to lean forward at first, but you’ll eventually fade your hand signal to just a quick flash of fingers at your hip. Kick out your right leg and cue your dog to shake/wave with your right hand. I like to use ‘right’ and ‘left’ because it is easy way to teach the meaning of those words while my dog is facing the same direction as me. Now, kick your left leg out and cue your ‘left’ shake. It still looks rough in the video, but soon this trick will look like my dog is high kicking along with me as I walk!

Add another dog: Once you have your first dog in position, pop your knees out again and ask your second dog to ‘peek-a-boo’ too! So cute!

Play ‘peek-a-boo you!’: This is a fun version of the ‘go to’ game that you can play with a friend or family member. Begin with just two people, standing just a few feet apart, facing one another. Cue your dog to ‘peek-a-boo you,’ (or name names), and point. Now, stand completely still and silent, and let your partner cue your dog to ‘peek-a-boo.’ Both people should have treats, luring if necessary. Ensure the dog is successful 90% of the time before increasing distance or adding more people.

Peek-a-boo makes a fun frisbee trick too! I like to let Doug grab the frisbee as he comes through, and I’ll reward him with a game of tug and another chance to catch the frisbee.

You may find that your dog is nervous to go through your legs at first. Let them eat as they go, and reward them with genuine enthusiasm. Soon, they will learn to love this trick, and their confidence in themselves, and trust in you, will have increased. If you’ve ever wanted your dog to stare up at you, wondering what fun thing you’ll do together next, then this trick is for you! Give it a try and have fun with your dog!

 

Change Your Dog’s Behaviour With This One Simple Step

Posted on September 26, 2016Categories Animal Behavior, DogsTags , , , ,

If I was ever held at gunpoint and ordered to give one piece of dog training advice to fix an unknown dog’s unknown behaviour problem, I know exactly what I would say.

No matter why I have been called in to see a dog, I always end up giving this piece of advice, because it solves such a wide variety of behaviour problems. Want to know what it is?

Reward Eye Contact


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Just give your dog treats, praise, pats, and play time every time your dog glances up at you.

Sound silly? Try it for a day and you’ll see what an amazing difference it makes.

For one day, carry your dog’s favourite treats, or better yet your dog’s entire day’s worth of meals, in your pocket. EVERY time your dog happens to glance at you, say “yes! Good!” and offer food, and then give him or her lots of love.

Every time.

At first you may need to encourage your dog to look at you. Most dogs are in the habit of looking at other things – trees, the food bowl, cats, fire hydrants. You might need to make kissy noises or jump around to get your dog to glance in your direction. But as soon as they do, no matter how quick of a glance it is, throw a party.

By the end of the day, your dog will be following you around, staring constantly into your face.

What does that mean?

Well, it means that your dog is not trying to chew your shoes or break into the garbage or urinate behind the sofa. It means that your dog is not pulling your arm off on walks. In fact, your dog is now walking in a beautiful heel position at your side.

That’s right – just rewarding your dog for looking at you will make them fall into a lovely heel position as you walk.

It makes sense if you think about it. When you go for a walk with a friend, do you walk one behind the other? Of course not. You can’t see each other’s faces, which is a huge part of normal human conversation. So if you and your dog are talking and walking and looking each other in the face, your dog is going to want to walk next to you.

Suddenly, your dog is walking WITH you instead of being walked BY you. Suddenly, your dog realizes that you are a friend who wants to talk. Suddenly, you become the most interesting thing around.

Eye contact doesn’t fix everything. It doesn’t fix separation anxiety, or a fear of nail trims, for example.

But if your dog is looking at you, your dog won’t notice the scary men with hats or the other dogs that normally cause havoc on walks.

If your dog is looking at you and eating from your hand, resource guarding the food bowl becomes a non-issue.

If your dog is looking at you and waiting for food, then your dog is ready to work, and ready to learn. And that is the first step for virtually every behaviour problem there is.

So reward your dog for looking at you, and keep it up. Because it’s the first step to a better, happier relationship

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Jump Over My Leg

Posted on June 24, 2016Categories Dogs, Great Tricks, Please Share, VideosTags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Got a leg? Then teach your dog to jump over it! This trick is easy, fun, and will burn energy almost anywhere.

Teach your dog to jump over your leg

Jumping over and over isn’t for puppies, wait until your dog is at least 1.5 years old, 2 for giant breeds before teaching this trick.

Begin with your foot against a wall, fence, or tree. Save your hamstring the trouble and keep your foot low, it will help your dog learn to go over, not under your leg. Lure your dog over your outstretched leg with a treat. Say ‘yes!’ and reward your dog with a tasty treat, be especially enthusiastic if they jump high.

Once your dog is happily jumping over, add the cue ‘hup’ or ‘jump,’ and begin gradually raising your leg up. You’ll need to ask your dog to ‘sit’ or ‘wait’ a few feet away so that they can take a run at it.

Do dozens of reps over at least a week’s time before slowly, gradually moving away from the wall, fence, or tree. You will know you’ve gone too far, too fast when your dog cheats and circles your leg instead of jumping over. Smart boy! He knows an easier route! Don’t laugh, you’ll only reinforce his cheating ways, just go back a little closer to the wall and do a few more reps. Your dog needs plenty of practice to set the pattern and learn the cue.

We think your dog will love this trick! Have fun!

Hoop Jump

Posted on June 22, 2016Categories Dogs, Great Tricks, Please Share, VideosTags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Teach your dog to jump through a hula hoop! You probably have one lying around, and if not, they aren’t hard to come by, which makes this trick an easy bet for summer fun!

What you’ll need: A hula hoop large enough for your dog to jump through, treats, and an adult dog. You can find hula hoops at toy stores and dollar stores. Make sure that the hoop isn’t designed to make noise,  drain any noisemaking beads if necessary so that your dog isn’t startled by the hoop. Jumping over and over isn’t for puppies, wait until your dog is at least 1.5 years old, 2 for giant breeds.

Step 1: Hold the hoop on the ground and lure your dog through with a treat. Say ‘yes!’ and feed them as they go through the hoop.

Step 2: Hold the treat on the other side of the hoop and ask you dog to make the first move. Say ‘yes!’ and feed them once they have made it through the hoop.

Step 3: Hold the hoop an inch or two off the ground, and repeat step 2 a few times, gradually raising the hoop.

Step 4: Once your dog is jumping through with ease, add your cue to ‘hup’ or ‘jump’ or ‘hoop’ to name their new trick!

Step 5: Have your dog ‘sit’ or ‘wait’ and step a few feet away, hold out your hoop give your cue to ‘hup!’ Stare at the hoop, not your dog, and show them the treat on the other side if they struggle.

Bonus Step 6: The double hoop jump trick! Add another hoop, and teach your dog to follow your eye by looking toward the hoop you’d like them to jump through. They will learn to jump around you in a continuous loop!

Bonus Hula Hoop tricks: You can also use your new hoop jump trick to teach your dog to jump over your back, your leg, through your arms, and much more!

Ring of fire: Cover your hula hoop in tissue paper and cut a hole big enough that your dog will still jump through it. Repeat the process with increasingly smaller openings until you have a dog that will jump through the covered hoop, with just a small hole at the centre! Draw some cool flames on it, or maybe your dog’s name, and let him jump through it to begin your show, even if it’s just for grandma and her friends at the nursing home. Your dog will delight and amaze!

We think you and your dog will love this trick!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canine Superstars!

Posted on May 31, 2016Categories Dogs, Great Tricks, News And UpdatesTags , , , , , , , ,

There are so many cool dog sports to choose from. Which do you pick? Agility? Treibball? Flyball? Disc Dog? Dock Diving? Musical Freestyle? Nosework? Surfing?

Why not do it all?

Welcome to the awesome world of Trick Dog Titles.

Trick Dog work is a non-competitive activity which focuses simply on the bond between you and your dog. It encompasses the skills of all of the sports mentioned above, and more! Dog-owner teams receive titles for achieving harder and harder levels of dog tricks, including some of the amazing feats that you may have the Superdogs do at the PNE!

tricktitle

http://domorewithyourdog.com/

In our new class, offered at The Bark Lounge in Coquitlam, you and your dog will achieve a Novice Trick Dog title through Do More With Your Dog. Your dog will learn elements of agility, such as going through tunnels and over jumps, as well as many other cool tricks that will amaze your friends and family. Even better, you’ll discover awesome new ways to bond with your dog and tire out your dog’s busy brain and body!

Class starts June 14th at 7:45 pm!

To Learn More, click here.

To Sign Up, click here.

Teach Your Dog To Dress Themselves

Posted on May 27, 2016November 23, 2020Categories Assistance Dog Skills, Dogs, Great Tricks, VideosTags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Your dog might not ever be ready to move out and go to college, but teaching this easy trick will make your life a little smoother, on a daily basis, which adds up. Most importantly, giving your dog this responsibility will make their life more pleasant.

Teach The ‘Dress’ Cue

Ensure your dog’s collar, bandana, harness, or backpack is oriented so that large or dangly parts hang down, rather than looming over your dog’s head, hitting them in the face as they dress.

Step 1)

Reach your hand through the neck hole, place a treat on your dog’s nose, and lure them through. Say ‘Yes!’ and allow them to eat as they ‘dress.’

Step 2)

Hold a treat on the other side of the hole and ask your dog to make the first move, this is sometimes a tricky step because you can’t hold it open wide with one hand as easily, enlist the help of a friend if you are struggling. If your dog is struggling, try holding the treat right in the center of the hole, and luring from there, saying “Yes!” once their entire head is through.

Step 3)

Hold the opening wide with both hands and say ‘dress.’ Mark with “yes!” and reward once they are fully dressed. If they hesitate to go through, show them the treat on the other side again to remind them.

Enjoy your dog’s new trick!

If your dog’s harness is the kind that it would help if they would just stand still on top of it, begin by teaching the ‘stand‘ cue on a pedestal.

 

This Is Why Your Dog Is Hooked On Treats

Posted on March 7, 2016June 7, 2019Categories Common Mistakes Owners Make, DogsTags , , ,

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We use a lot of treats when teaching dogs a new skill, for several reasons: Treats are highly motivating, quick to deliver, and easy to carry.

But once your dog has learned that skill, treats should be phased out. And yet we meet so many people whose dogs obey them “only when I have a treat in my hand”.

There are three main reasons why dogs get hooked on treats.

Reason 1: Your Dog Only Gets Treats If You Are Holding A Treat

Dogs aren’t stupid. Well, they aren’t the most intelligent creatures on the planet, but they do have brains. If you hold out a treat and say “sit” and your dog sits, and then gets a treat, your dog learns that a treat in the hand = a treat in the mouth. Then, you tell your dog to sit when you don’t have a treat on you. Ever hopeful, he sits anyway. No treat appears, because you don’t have a treat.

So what has your dog learned from this? Unless your dog is an utter moron, he has learned that there is no point in sitting if he doesn’t see a treat. Dogs quickly develop a “show me the money” attitude about obedience. They want proof of payment before they will do the work.

The Cure:

Always carry treats on you, but don’t always give them out. Show your dog a treat, tell her to sit, and then pat her on the head and carry on without handing down the treat. Then tell her to sit with the treat hidden away, and when she sits, give her the treat.

Your dog will quickly learn that the presence or absence of a treat has nothing to do with whether she will actually be paid for her work. So she starts thinking, “hmm… maybe it is the QUALITY of my work that matters…” and she will offer you faster, better, more eager obedience in the hopes that this time she will earn a treat.

Reason 2: You Give Out Food For Free

I see it all the time – I ask a client to get their dog to sit, and they pull out the Pupperoni to motivate their dog. Meanwhile, there is a bowl of half-eaten kibble lying on the floor.

I have to ask – why is that food there? A half-eaten bowl of food tells me several things:

  1. The dog doesn’t love the food.
  2. The dog is being given more food than the dog needs.
  3. The dog doesn’t respect the food because it is freely available.

The Cure:

Don’t free feed your dog. Give your dog a small meal that can be finished in a short period of time. If your dog doesn’t eat it, pick it up and put it away until next meal time. Better yet, make your dog actually earn meals. In an ideal world, your dog would work for every mouthful of food she gets. Breakfast can be doled out bite by bite in return for good behaviour on a walk. Dinner can be served kibble by kibble during a long down stay while you eat your own meal.

But some foods are easier than others. If your dog is on raw, it’s hard to serve piece by piece, unless you break it into frozen chunks and make your dog earn each chunk during a short walk.

Even so, your dog’s meal should be served after your dog has been required to work, and if your dog isn’t interested, pick it up. A few hours of hunger won’t hurt your dog and will certainly motivate him to work for the next meal.

Reason 3: Treats Are The Only Reward You Use

Treats only work when your dog loves them and feels hungry.

What if your dog is full, the treats you are holding are not particularly appetizing, and your dog would much rather play with another dog than come get that dry, tasteless treat that he isn’t even really hungry for? You guessed it: your dog will simply keep playing with his friend.

The Cure:

Too many owners rely  on treats to motivate their dog, and ignore a whole world of other motivations in their dog’s environment.

The best reward for your dog is whatever your dog wants most at the current moment. If your dog really wants to go play with his friend, he is going to pay approximately zero attention to your treats. Even if you do manage to get him to obey you and then reward with the not-so-motivating treat, you have just wasted your money in feeding a treat that your dog didn’t even really care about, when you had a much better reward at your finger tips. The real reward that your dog wanted was to go play with the other dog!

So USE THAT.

If you watch your dog for a day, you will see that there are lots of things that your dog wants in life. She wants to go outside, she wants to sniff that post where all the other dogs pee, she wants you to cuddle her, she wants to chase a squirrel, she wants to sleep on your bed, and she wants to play with her ball.

What is the point of chasing after her with treats when you have all of these other great rewards available?

Every time you let your dog go outside, or sniff a post, or chase a ball without asking her to work for it, you waste a reward. You might as well just walk around throwing chunks of steak on the ground for your dog to eat  – either way you are giving out free “treats” that your dog didn’t have to earn.

When your dog wants something, ask your dog to do some obedience, or a trick, to get it. Then, instead of fishing a treat out of your pocket, give your dog the thing that he wants!

This way, instead of requiring treats in order to work, your dog will work for you because he knows that it is the best way to get what he wants – EVERYTHING!800px-Mother_and_son_with_dog_playing public domain.jpg