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!