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Showing posts with label Training dogs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Training dogs. Show all posts


Dog : Guarding Furniture

How can I stop my dog from guarding furniture? Why does my dog do this?

When a dog jumps up on a couch, chair, table, stairs (whatever it may be) and growls when you come near him, touch him, or protest when you ask him to get down, the dog is telling you he owns it. This behavior must be stopped or this will most certainly lead to biting.

First, let’s look at what it means to the dog. When a dog behaves like this, he is telling you he owns that particular spot. A dominant dog will often seek out high places to watch over his domain, claiming the place as his own. He's communicating with you that he is the boss and he is demanding you respect his space. As anyone approaches they must ask permission to be there. The dog will growl, and eventually snap and bite, in order to correct YOU. He is telling you, as his subordinate, to leave the area, or to get his permission to be there. First comes growling, and later will surely come biting, because this is how a dominant dog communicates; they set a "rule." Your dog is not doing this because he is mean, he is doing this because he wants and/or thinks, he is the boss of your house. The top dog owns everything and makes the rules. This is a primal instinct hardwired into your dog’s brain. It is because of this instinctual behavior, when one owns a dog, the dog owns nothing. Everything must belong to the human, from the furniture to his toys to his food bowl. You, as his leader, will make all of the decisions. You, as the human, own the furniture, and you, as the human, will decide who can and cannot sit on it, and when.

Dog Trick - Teach Your Dog The Bang Performance

Difficulty: Hard

Great work! You've made it to the final trick. Your dog has mastered the basics now, moved on to harder and more advanced ones, and now you're ready to attempt Bang, the final, hardest, most extraordinary trick combination in this book. Now don't get discouraged before you even begin—it's not going to be easy, it will take a lot of work to master, but this is the single best show-stopper that's sure to leave your friends speechless. Your dog must be incredibly smart to have made it this far, and now he's just one trick away from knowing all 52. You can do it! Don't stop now!

A dog shows its teeth and growls, staring unblinking into a gun barrel. He stands protectively before its wounded master lying on the floor of a wet ally. It charges towards the gun. A muzzle-flash bolts in every direction. A lead bullet whisks through the air and strikes home. The dog stops in shock and its teeth fades from view.

It limps retreating from the gunman. It trips to the ground and crawls, crawls to its master. It reaches his side and whines. Rolls on its back, belly upturned, then is still.

A moment's pause. A voice in the sky authoritative and commanding deep and resonate over all things: "CUT" it says. Everything around flips with action, speeding movements in a whirlwind of excitement. The voice speaks again: "Check the gate."

The dog jumps to its paws and looks around, panting. A man chants over a headset to a person invisible. He pets the dog and feeds it a large treat. "Good boy, Max!" he says, "get ready for the next take, buddy."

Step 1: Tell your dog to limp, crawl, and play dead, clicking and treating after he performs each action.

Step 2: Now, give him all three commands again, this time keeping the treat until the end. Repeat several times.

Step 3: Now say "BANG!" before giving the three commands and while he is in his "play dead" position. Click and treat.

Step 4: Continue to practice this, eventually getting rid of your three initial commands so that he does all three together as soon as he hears "BANG!"


The biggest challenge here is the individual tricks themselves. Caspian had to be well-acquainted with each of the individual tricks, and so we began by drilling them over and over again. The hardest one of these, by far, was limp. Once he was able to perform this consistently, we began to string them together. Once you have the individual tricks down, putting them together isn't as much of a challenge. However, repetition is key, and if you're working on a trick such as Bang as a performance trick for your next barbeque, make sure you drill it over and over again in different parts of the house. We found that Caspian can perform a trick perfectly in one room—but if we try it in a different part of the house, he has trouble. When teaching tricks such as this one, teach in a wide variety of places. Be creative: maybe train some at a local dog park. If your dog can perform amidst all the distractions and interesting things going on around him, you've been highly successful.


My dog will respond, but it takes him too long to get it.
Work with your dog to obey you right as you give this command for a great performance. But if your dog is too excited when you want to show him off, you can still make things fun. If he doesn't respond to "Bang" right away, just shrug and say, "So sometimes I'm not that great of a shot."

Tip: "You could also add 'Speak' as a yelp of pain to make the demonstration even more thrilling!"

Dog Trick - Teach Your Dog To Turn A Lightswitch On and Off

Difficulty: Hard 

This trick assumes that your dog is tall enough to reach a light switch when he jumps up to the wall. If you have a smaller dog, you can still do the trick, but will need a table or other platform for your dog to stand on while jumping up to reach the switch. I used a laser pointer to attract my dog to the lightswitch, but if you don't have a laser pointer, that's okay, the touch stick will work just as well. If you do use a laser pointer, make sure that it is a low wattage model, and keep it away from your dog's eyes. There are two parts to this trick: teaching your dog to turn on a light, and then teaching him to turn it off again.

The First Part: Turn On A Light

Step 1: Using either a laser pointer or touch stick, get your dog in the habit of jumping up to touch the light switch. It is best to have him jump up with his pads on the wall (instead of his claws) touching the switch with his nose. I used a laser pointer here, because I would play with it as a game, knowing that he would really go after it—even if it's on a wall.

Step 2: Using the clicker, begin clicking only when his nose pushes the light into the 'on' position. He will begin to realize the effect of his action, and expect a treat after Begin to only click when your dog begins and ends the trick by successfully turning the light on. He needs to understand that the trick is not two parts (jumping up on the wall, and hitting the switch) but one.

The Second Part: Turn It Off

Step 1: The first step is very similar to step one of teaching him to turn 'on' the light. Get your dog used to jumping up on the wall, but instead of his pads touching the wall, click when his paw hits the light switch.

Step 2: Begin clicking only when he successfully turns 'off' the light switch. Dogs will notice the change in light in the room, and will usually look expectantly when he successfully turns out the lights.

Step 3: Begin clicking only when your dog successfully completes the trick from beginning to end. He needs to learn that in order to be treated, he has to perform the trick in one sitting.


When I taught this trick, I used a laser pointer to get Caspian to jump up on the wall. Caspian loves to chase the laser around, and will drop everything to try to catch it. He now will even go after reflections and glints of light off of lamps, glasses, and other shiny objects. Because he gets excited like this, I thought it would be a good way to get him to do something that he wouldn't normally do.


My dog keeps tearing up my wall! 
To turn off the light, dogs are unable to do this with their nose, and must use their paw. Because of this, it is incredibly easy to receive scratch marks and torn wallpaper. If you use this trick a lot, you might want to consider installing clear plexi-glass around your light switch.

Tip: "Laser pointers are often a great way to motivate and excite your dog. It can also act as a reward."

Dog Trick - Teach Your Dog To Bring You A Tissue

Difficulty: Moderate 

This is a great trick to do immediately after —Fetch A Drink. After your dog brings you a drink, you can then ask him to bring you a tissue, to wipe down the bottle. After learning this trick, you dog should be able to carefully pull out a single tissue, bring it to you, and then throw it away in the garbage bin. This is an incredible trick on its own, but paired with Fetch A Drink, it makes quite the showstopper.

The First Part: Bring A Tissue

Step 1: Set a tissue box on the ground. Tell your dog to "Take It." He may want to take the whole box - but when he takes one tissue from the box and pulls it out, click and treat.

Step 2: Have him continue to do this until he starts pulling them out on his own. Then, have him "Bring it" to you and "Drop it" in your hand. Click and treat.

Step 3: Continue to do this until he does all three commands without hesitation. Start saying, "Bring Me a Tissue" when he drops it in your hand.

The Second Part: Throw It Away

Step 1: Get out your waste basket. Give the tissue back to the dog and have him "Bring it" to the waste basket, "Dropping it" in. Click and treat.

Step 2: Keep doing this until he takes it, brings it, and drops it without problems or hesitating. Then, use the command "Throw it away" while he is dropping it in.

Step 3: Continue to practice this, just saying "Throw it away" instead of the three other commands, until he is able to throw away the tissue at your command.


This trick wasn't difficult for Caspian to learn. First, I showed him the tissue box and touched the tissue. "Take it," I said. He pulled one out. I clicked and treated. I did this again. And again! But the next time I had him "Take it" and "Bring it" to me. When he had brought it to me, I told him to "Drop It" in my hand. When he dropped it, he received a big treat! We did this several times until he knew exactly what to do.

In another session, we worked on throwing the tissue away. I had him bring me a tissue. Then, I "used it" and gave it back to him. Pointing towards the trashcan, I told him to "Drop it." I clicked and treated. The next time he did it, I used the "Throw it away" command. Soon, Caspian was able to bring me a tissue, and then take it back and throw it away in the trash!


He won't pull out the tissue! Try pointing to it and say, "Take It." If that doesn't work, encourage any good behavior that is close to what you want. If he touches the tissue, click and treat. Then say, "Take it." He'll probably understand.

He pulls out the tissue fine, but then he wants to throw it away before he gives it to me!
If he does that, don't click and treat. Before he drops it in, say - "No - Bring it!" He'll then bring it to you. Soon, he'll remember to bring it to you every time.

Tip: "Just so you know, you're teaching your dog to pull out all the tissues from the tissue box! Make sure he can't get to them when you're away from home."

Dog Trick - Teach Your Dog To Jump Rope

Difficulty: Hard

This is a fun trick to teach your dog, and good exercise for him as well. Since this is a difficult trick, read the steps carefully and be patient with your dog. Soon he will be jumping rope, and loving it! If your dog is still young, you might want to wait before teaching him to jump rope: jumping too much may be hard on his hips. Before any jumping trick, always first check with your vet to see if your dog can handle it.

Step 1: Put your dog on the table. Ask him to jump. Click and treat. Your dog should stay in the same place so he won't fall off the table.

Step 2: Tie the jump rope to another object. Let your dog get used to the jump rope by moving it back and forth.

Step 3: Give the jump rope almost a full turn, stopping before it crosses your dogs legs. At this point, tell him to Jump. When he does, slide the jump rope underneath. Do this several times, clicking and treating.

Step 4: As your dog gets more accustomed to the jump rope, you will be able to have smoother rotations. Work with your dog until he can do it just right.


It took extra patience to teach Caspian jump-rope (and more than a few handfuls of treats), but hard work pays off. At first Caspian was distracted with the jump-rope, and he would get frustrated after long sessions, but as we practiced more and more he stopped thinking about the rope and started focusing on jumping. Once he did this, it became easier for us to work the rope, and soon the trick was working smoothly. Ever since Caspian's accident we haven't worked with this trick since jumping up and down stresses his back hip. If you have a larger dog breed or if your dog has any history of hip dysplasia, consult your veterinarian before attempting this trick.


My dog is scared of the jump rope. How can I get him more used to it? When does he bow? Is it when he gets up from his nap to stretch? Or when he is meeting other dogs? Notice when he gets in that position and use that to shape the behavior.
Tip: "Try putting the jump rope on the table and under the dog before asking him to jump. That way, he will get used to seeing it under him. Don't use any big motions when using the jump rope to start out with. Small motions work best, and you can do fuller turns as your dog becomes more comfortable with the rope."

Dog Tric - Teach Your Dog To Bow

Difficulty: Easy
Teach Dog To Bow 

By now your dog most likely knows a whole repertoire of tricks, from simple ones like Sit to more complicated ones like Put Toys Away. With good treats, your dog can perform a string of impressive tricks for your friends—but you are still lacking one thing: an ending. The perfect way for your dog to to end a performance is the same way any professional does: with a bow. If you follow these three simple steps, you will be set up for a perfect dog show.

Step 1: Start 'rough-housing' with your dog. Whenever he starts to get into the "bow" position, click and treat. Keep doing this until he starts doing it on his own.

Step 2: Start saying "Bow" whenever he gets into the Bow position; then click and treat.

Step 3: Keep doing this until he will bow at your command! Always give your dog a jackpot when he obeys your command for the first time.


My dog loves to play. Whenever I would play with him, and start to chase him, I noticed that he would "Bow" by laying his front two legs down before he ran from me. I decided to shape this behavior into a "Take a Bow" trick. I started by chasing him. As soon as his front legs touched the floor, I clicked and treated. We did this again and again until he understood that I was clicking for his "Bow" position. Soon, he started to do it more frequently. I used the command "Bow" whenever I clicked. Eventually, Caspian was able to obey my command when I told him to bow. And it all started by playing a game of chase!


My dog never bows when he is playful! When does he bow? Is it when he gets up from his nap to stretch? Or when he is meeting other dogs? Notice when he gets in that position and use that to shape the behavior.

Tip: "Although many trainers teach Bow by forcing the dog into a Bow position, we believe it is much easier and less frustrating to capture the natural behavior of your dog. We will use this way to teach "Take a Bow."

Dog Trick - Teach Your Dog To Count

Difficulty: Moderate

Here is a fun and impressive trick that proves that your dog is as smart as Einstein (mmm … or at least as smart as Einstein's dog). The trick is to get your dog to bark until a subtle cue causes him to stop. Then you can have him bark out any number of barks to answer various mathematical questions. This trick is not that hard to teach, but it does take patience and longer periods of time than most tricks in order to shape the behavior correctly. But it is really worth the effort because it shows that your dog really counts for something.

Step 1: Have your dog sit facing you.

Step 2: Hold a treat in your left hand and hold your right hand up. (Here we are getting the dog to associate the speak command with the visual command of holding your right hand up). Also look your dog in the eye (I look directly into his right eye).

Step 3: Have the dog speak, and treat when he barks.

Step 4: Repeat. But this time only drop your hand (also avert your eyes) and treat when he barks twice. (This may take some patience).

Step 5: Work on this several times a day until your little Einstein realizes he must continue to bark until you drop your hand.

Step 6: Gradually fade from holding your right hand up so that your dog will use your eyes as the cue to stop speaking.

Step 7: Keep refining this trick until he has a smooth flow of barks and stops as soon as you avert your eyes.


While teaching our dog to count, we started by re-familiarizing him with the speak command. While doing this, we introduced a small cue: looking down and staring at him directly into his right eye. When getting him to speak, we began with clicking right after he barked once, then once he was progressing well, we started clicking after multiple barks. Each time we wanted him to stop barking, we would immediately break our eye contact, and click and treat. Once this was accomplished, we could cue him to start barking by rotating our head down and looking at his right eye. Once he finished barking, we would break our eye contact, and reward him for a job well done. This is how Caspian can solve math problems given by friends, we keep him barking using this subtle cue. We just have to make sure we do the math right ourselves.


My dog doesn't always stop barking on time! Keep working with him. This is why this trick takes lots of patience! If your dog (or you) makes a mistake during a performance, put your hands on your hips and say, "Oh! Einstein, I'm ashamed of you," which cues his Act Ashamed trick— for a good laugh.

Tip: "Have your guests think of simple math problems for your dog to answer, but make sure you do the math right!"

Dog Trick - Teach Your Dog To Weave

Difficulty: Hard

When you watch dog agility competitions, one of the most spectacular sections has to be the weave poles. These championship dogs have trained hard and long to weave back and forth in between the poles at break-neck speed. Trainers say this is one of the hardest sections of agility competitions. Although there is difficulty involved, most dogs end up loving the weave poles. So even if you aren't trying to enter an agility competition, you can teach your dog this fun and exciting trick, using basic household products, and of course your clicker.

Step 1: Set up obstacles, such as orange cones (bought at Wal-mart), buckets, or even red plastic cups in a straight line. Start with three or four, and space them 24-30 inches apart. With your touch stick, guide your dog in and out of the obstacles, starting from the left side. When he goes in and out of one or two, click and treat. Continue to do this until he goes in and out of all of them.

Step 2: After getting your dog used to these motions, start saying "Weave" when he is finishing up his trick. Click and treat.

Step 3: Do this several times until your dog will weave at your command. This is a hard trick to teach, and it may take many training sessions. Fully expect your dog to go after the obstacles and try and play with them. Gently guide his attention back to your treats, and get him focused again on the touch stick.


Using the touch stick, I guided Caspian through each obstacle. At first, I clicked and treated as he went through two or three obstacles. Then, I would click and treat as he wove through each one. At the end, I would say "Weave!" and click and treat. We did this several times until Caspian could weave in a flowing tempo. Soon, I was able to use less touch stick and let him do it on his own.


He does it with the touch stick fine - but he won't do it on his own! If you think you have used the touch stick long enough and would like to have him do it on his own, but he's not responding, try using your finger to guide him. That will help him know what to do, and you can gradually get rid of the hinting.

Tip: "Encourage your dog to weave faster and faster! Make him excited by being excited yourself. Give him bigger treats if he goes at a fluent tempo."

Dog Trick - Teach Your Dog to Walk by Your Left or Right Side

Difficulty: Moderate 

Teach Dog to Walk by Left or Right Side
Does your dog know his lefts and rights? This is an easy trick to teach. When you take him out on a leash, does he tangle it around your legs? It may be useful to tell him "Left" or "Right" and keep yourself untangled from the leash. Not only is this a good trick to show off your smart dog, this is a useful command that professionally trained assistance dogs are expected to learn.

Step 1: With your touch stick, have your dog go around your right side and stand by your left side. Click and treat.
Step 2: Keep doing this, eventually saying, "Left" as soon as he stands by your left side.
Step 3: Repeat this action until he no longer needs the touch stick and can go to your left side at your command.
Step 4: Do the same thing, this time teaching him to go from your left side to your right side.


When teaching Caspian left and right, we began by using the touch stick. We would motion him to both sides, and clicking/treating. However, he easily became confused, and didn't quite get what he was being clicked for. Sometimes there are more than one way to teach a trick, so what we ended up having him first sit, then we would turn around, and pat our leg as to which side we wanted him to go to. When we motioned with our hand, he would come to that side. As he did so, we would say the command either 'right' or 'left.' We then started just saying the command, and leaving out the hand motion, and only clicking/treating for a correct performance. We would mix up the commands, just to see if he really knew the difference between right and left. Using the touch stick is a great way to teach this trick, but you may feel the need to tweak the steps a little to suit your own needs.


My dog is getting his left confused with his right! What do I do?
Try treating 'Left' and 'Right' as two separate tricks if this is happening. Usually, you want to teach both left and right so that your dog can differentiate between the two, but if he is getting easily confused, start with one, then move to the other. Try focusing on just one of them per training session. Hand cues are also important here: If your dog is paying attention and wants to find out what you're asking him to do, he'll look for hand signals, motions, or a direction from you to point him where he needs to go.

Tip: "You can gradually stop using the touch stick by guiding your dog with big hand motions. Then, you can make your hand motions smaller for a polished performance!"

Dog Trick - teach Your Dog to Act Ashamed

Difficulty: Moderate
teach  Dog to Act Ashamed 

Just as a comedian needs a handful of one-liners when his joke doesn't go over too well, it's good to have a trick to fall back on if your dog doesn't quite perform up to the level you were expecting. Lets say you have some dinner guests over, and you want to show off that new trick you taught Bella yesterday. You had taught her, and you're excited to show your friends how smart your dog is. Well, after telling her to retrieve your slippers, she's gone for a long time... after calling her, she comes slinking back with a slipper in her mouth, except it's completely chewed up. She drops the drool soaked mess of what used to be a comfortable slipper. Your dinner guests are trying their best not to laugh, they know you're embarrassed. Well, one trick that you did drill over and over is this one. "Bella! you should be ashamed of yourself!" Bella whines and lays down, puts her paw over her head. Your audience bursts into surprised laughter.

Step 1: Put some scotch tape or a sticky note on your dog's nose so that she paws at it. Click and treat.

Step 2: Repeat this a few times, but add in your command. Think of a short phrase such as "I'm Ashamed of you!" Use this command each time she paws at her nose.

Step 3: Take the tape off and give your command. Give her a jackpot if she paws at her nose!

Step 4: you wish, you can accompany this trick with her laying down. While teaching her, have her lay down before she paws at her nose.


This trick was so much fun to teach Caspian. I started with some scotch tape and put it on his nose. Since Caspian didn't want the tape on his nose, he naturally started pawing at it. Immediately I clicked and treated. Each time he did it, I would click and treat, saying "I'm ashamed of you!" After several times practicing with the tape, I gave him the command and he would paw at his nose. Soon, I was able to take the tape off his nose and give him the command again. He did it!


My dog won't rub his nose without the tape! Try cuing the behavior by gently scratching her nose with your finger. That should trigger a memory and she'll obey you. You can use this hint less and less to perfect the trick.

Tip: " A good hand signal would be putting your hands on your hips!"

Dog Trick - Teach Your Dog to Catch

Difficulty: Easy
Train your dog to catch treats when you throw them. Collect bits and pieces of your dog's favorite treat, and have him sit in front of you. Throw a treat at your dog. If he doesn't catch it at first, take away the treat so he won't eat it. Eventually, your dog will get desperate for that good treat you have, and will not be able to get it unless he tries to catch it in the air. When he does catch it, praise him and give him a good petting. Now, when your dog catches the treat, say "Catch." When your dog begins catching naturally, you may introduce new objects to catch-a tennis ball is one. Have your dog sit, and - with a few feet of distance between you - lightly toss the ball into the air, and give the command. When he does, click and treat.

Step 1: Start out with a short distance and a good treat. Throw the treat to your dog. If he doesn't catch it, take the treat away and try again. If he does catch it, praise him and give him another treat!

Step 2: Keep doing this until he is catching well. Start saying "Catch" while he is catching them.

Step 3: Give him the command - "Catch!" and throw the treat. Give him lots of praise if he catches it at your command!

Step 4: Use other objects like footballs, tennis balls, or toys to give him more experience with catching. The more he practices, the better he will get!


Since fetch is Caspian's favorite game, we use it every day for exercise. For a little variety, we started sending him out before we threw the ball. Because he had learned catch, he started catching the tennis ball while it was still in the air. He often makes some very spectacular catches. Make sure that you use a very soft ball if you try this with your dog. Also, if you notice that your dog is jumping to catch food treats and toys, check with your vet to see if jumping is good for your dog. You want to make sure your dog is in good health before attempting any jumping tricks.


He's not catching anything! Some dogs are spectacular catchers - others are not. It's an instinct that all dogs have, but some breeds more than others. Just be patient - it may take a bit longer for your dog to learn this trick.
Tip: "Practice makes perfect. Don't despair if your dog doesn't catch well at first. Reward good behavior even if he tries to catch it and misses. Give him praise and encourage him to keep on trying!"

Dog Trick - Teach Your Dog to Find Items

Difficulty: Moderate
This trick can be taught with any toy or item and could turn out to be very useful if you lost something. Besides the practical usefulness of this trick, this is a really fun game to play with your dog! Have your dog go out of the room and sit, then hide the object somewhere in the next room. The object could be anything: one of his toys, an article of clothing, but make sure he knows what he's searching for. For a more advanced performance, hide something with a less noticeable scent, such as the tv remote or a set of keys.

Step 1: Have your dog sit.

Step 2: Hold up an object that he is familiar with (he knows its name) and let him smell it.

Step 3: Place the object under something obvious (like a towel), and say "find it." You might add the name of the object if it doesn't do it quickly ("find it" bunny). Click and treat when he touches the object.

Step 4: Repeat several times, but each time you repeat move the object to a different location, getting progressively more difficult. Click and treat each time.

Step 5: Let him smell and then hide other objects that he is not familiar with and give the "find it" command.


When I first taught this trick, I was using an old Atlanta Braves hat that I used to wear. Because the hat had a lot of my smell on it, it was really easy for Caspian to pick up on. It started out basically by accident, I hadn't planned on teaching him this trick. I was just playing around with the old hat, playing keep away, putting it underneath things for him to dig it out. I had him go out of the room, and I stuck it partially underneath the rug, then called him. He sniffed around a few seconds before finding it. Although I had stumbled upon this trick by accident, I got my clicker and started rewarding him for finding the hat. Because he had learned the term find it, in relation to finding things with my scent on it, when I lost a set of car keys in the backyard one day, I told Caspian to "find it." Although he didn't know what he was looking for, he went to the thing that had our scent on it. In just a few minutes, he had found my keys.


My dog doesn't understand what I want him to do. Some dogs have great noses; others don't. But your dog doesn't have to be a bloodhound to learn this trick. When starting out, make sure the toy you use to hide is one he really likes. Also make sure he knows its name. Start out easy; you may not want to even hide it starting out. Put it in plain sight and encourage your dog to touch it. After that, then you can start to hide the toy in progressively more difficult spaces.

Tip: "Use the same terms each time! In other words, don't tell your dog to "Find it," while still using "Get it," "Where is it?" and "Search" intermittently. Consistency is the key!"

Dog Trick - Teach Your Dog to Put His Toys Away

Difficulty: Hard
So you've finally taught your kids to put their toys away—but what about your dog? This trick is helpful, and also impressive. Give your dog a simple command and watch him go around the house and gather up all his dog toys together and drop them in a basket or box.

Step 1: Get a large box or basket. Gather all your dog's toys and put them in a pile.

Step 2: Point to each toy and say, "Take it," then "Bring it" and "Drop it" into the basket. When he does this, click and give him a treat. After he puts all his toys in the basket, reward him with a treat, saying "Put your toys away."

Step 3: Do this several more times. After several training sessions, you should be able to just say, "Put your Toys Away" and he will put them all in. Give him a big treat each time. 

Step 4: Next put each toy farther away from the basket. Work with him to find all his toys and put them away into the basket when you give the command.


It was difficult to teach Caspian to put his toys away, but since he already knew to "Take it," "Bring it" and "Drop it," that was a big help! I spread an assortment of toys across the floor with a big basket in the middle. I told him to take one of his toys, to bring it and drop it in the basket. He wouldn't drop it in the basket at first, but I would go ahead and click for the effort. Eventually I became stricter in what I was looking for, and only clicked when he actually got the toy in the basket. As soon as all his toys were in the basket he got a big treat! I would always say "put your toys away" whenever he would put any toy - or all toys - in the basket. We did several sessions of this until he was able to put them all in the basket when I gave him the command: "Caspian! Put your toys away!"


He won't put them all in! Probably the hardest thing I had to work with for Caspian was grouping all his toys together in one command. Sometimes by the time they get all their toys in, they forget what they did at the beginning. One thing you can do is start out with only three toys. When your dog puts them in, click and treat saying: "Put your toys away!" Do this several times, then add another toy. When he puts all four in, click and treat saying: "Put your toys away," and so on until he can put all his toys away!

Tip: "Sometimes you'll feel like treating him for his good efforts, but only click and treat when your dog actually drops the toy into the basket. If it's only halfway in it counts, but it doesn't count if it's not in at all."

Dog Trick : Teach Your Dog to Bring You His Dish

Difficulty: Moderate

Another useful trick. When your dog brings you his dish, not only does it make him look smart but it saves you the effort of having to get it. How does your dog tell you he's hungry? Pawing at his dish, knocking it over, barking? Here's a simple and cute way for your dog to let you know that he needs to be fed.

Step 1: Use the "Learn the Names of Everything" to teach him to touch his dish on command.

Step 2: Teach him to hold the dish in his mouth using the "take it" command . Your dog may not like holding a metal dish in his mouth, but this trick is worth the extra effort. Take extra time with this step. 

Step 3: With the dish on the floor say the name "dish." When he starts to touch the dish say "take it." If he takes the dish in his mouth at all click and treat.

Step 4: Repeat steps 2 and 3 several times in multiple training sessions.

Step 5: With your dog holding the dish in his mouth say "bring it." Click and treat when he takes a few steps toward you with the dish.

Step 6: As you repeat step 3 introduce the command "get your dish." When he takes it, click and treat.
Step 7: Repeat step 6 in several sessions.

Step 8: Give the command "get your dish." Click and treat when he brings it to you. Gradually extend the distance from the bowl as you perfect this trick.


Teaching "Dish" wasn't too hard once I taught Caspian to learn its name. I first had him touch the dish, eventually teaching him that its name was "Dish." The next step was getting him to pick it up. This was more difficult because his dish is heavier than other objects we have trained with before. I clicked and treated for small advances towards the behavior I wanted. Eventually, he was able to carry it completely in his mouth. I then told him to "Bring it" to me. Since he knew these commands already, it wasn't very hard to string them together into this nice trick — "Get your dish."


What if my dog's dish is too heavy for him? Your dog will most likely be able to carry it. It could be that he's just not used to carrying something that bulky and heavy before. It's a good idea to start out small and click and treat for small advances toward the dish. You could even build up to this trick by having him learn to take lighter things in his mouth, then gradually teaching heavier things until he is able to hold the dish. Of course, if you have a small dog, it metal dish might be too bulky for him to pick up. You can try using a smaller dish. Another idea is to teach "Fetch a Drink" first to get him gradually used to carrying heavier things in his mouth by filling up the drink bottle a little at a time.

Tip: "After several training sessions, your dog may eventually bring his dish to you to tell you he's hungry!"

Dog Trick - Teach Your Dog to Bring You His Leash

Difficulty: Moderate

Like, Bring Slippers, this trick builds off of the Learn Names trick. In this trick, you will teach your dog to bring you his leash when you are ready to take him outside for a walk. This is quite an impressive trick, and makes your dog appear super smart. I remember my grandmother came for a visit one day, and I nonchalantly asked Caspian for his leash to take him outside. When he came trotting back with the leash dangling from his mouth, my grandmother laughed and pronounced him "the smartest dog." I'm sure your guests will do the same!

Step 1: Set the leash on the floor. Tell him to take it. Click and treat when he does.

Step 2: Go to the door. Tell him to take the leash, bring it, and drop it in your hands. Click and treat.

Step 3: Repeat the take it, bring it, drop it action several times, saying, "Leash!" when he drops it in your hands.

Step 4: Eliminate the "take it, bring it, drop it" commands and start only using "Leash." You can also use a hand signal to give him a hint.

Step 5: Command him to get his leash. Click and Jackpot if he obeys you, and take him outside for a long walk!


Although this trick took several training sessions to teach, "Leash" was a moderately easy trick for Caspian to learn. I started out with the leash on the floor. "Take it!" I said. He did, and I clicked and treated. The next time, I said "Take it, Bring it, and Drop it," into my hands. Each time he did this for me I would click and treat, saying, "Leash!" Many times, when he would successfully drop it into my hands, I would take him outside as a reward instead of a treat. Soon, Caspian was able to bring me his leash whenever I gave him the command. Whenever we go outside, he brings it to me every time!


He won't drop it in my hands! Be picky. If he doesn't put it in your hands, he doesn't get a walk, or a treat either. If he successfully brings it to you and drops it on the floor, tell him to take it again and drop it in your hands. Immediately click and reward when he does drop it into your hands.
Tip: "Put the leash somewhere so your dog has easy access to it, such as draped over a closet knob or in a basket near the door."

Dog Trick - Teach Your Dog to Bring Your Slippers

Difficulty: Moderate

This trick is a combination of Take it, Bring it, and Give . When you tell your dog to get your slippers, he will take them, bring them, and drop them right in your hand. What if you lost your slippers? Wouldn't this be a helpful trick! Just tell your dog "Get my slippers!" and off he'd go. In no time he would come back with the pink slippers and drop them by your feet. Some dogs can bring both slippers at the same time. But if you're having difficulty getting your dog to bring both slippers, keep your slippers together with a piece of velcro or string. You don't have to keep them together, however. Your dog will do just as fine getting them one at a time. (This is especially useful if you forgot where you left them!).

Step 1: Using the "Learn Names" trick, teach your dog the name of whichever object you want him to bring you (Slippers, for example).

Step 2: Now that he knows what the name of the object is, tell him to "Take my Slippers." Click and treat.

Step 3: Tell your dog to Take it and Bring it. If he does so, click and treat.

Step 4: Now, try combining all three tricks. First, say, "Get my Slippers!" Then, "Take it, Bring it, and Drop it." If he does what you ask, click and give him a generous treat. Repeat this until you have a polished trick.


This was one of our favorite tricks to teach Caspian, and one of his favorites too. He does really well at learning names of things—he knows his toys by each of their names for example. So we introduced the slippers in the same kind of way. Because he was really excited about this trick, the slippers themselves were the reward. We realized, however, that he thought of the slippers as a toy, and would get preoccupied and play with them when we asked him to retrieve them for us. He would eventually bring them, but he would want to play with them first. To fix this problem, we clicked/treated only when he brought them back faster. We then conditioned him to bring them right back as soon as we asked for them.


My dog can do each of the initial tricks (take it, bring it, give), but is having trouble blending them all together. What do I do? Repetition is the key to this trick. As you practice it more, it will flow together better and you won't have to use each command to get him to do what you want him to do. Eventually, you will have him learn that the command "Get my Slippers" means to take the slippers, bring them, and drop them into your hands (or at your feet!)

Tip: "When shaping this trick, have your dog take the top part, or toe of the slippers each time so that they're not soggy when you put them on!"

Dog Trick - Teach Your Dog to Yawn

Difficulty: Moderate

The clock says the time is eleven-thirty. It's dark out and you're tired, and the couple on the couch haven't stopped talking. They are your friends, or used to be—you're not so sure now. But the greyhound in the corner is your friend. "Come here boy," you whisper under the jabbering of the couple. He lays down by your legs and you look at him. You stare into his eyes and say, "Are you tired?" He smacks his lips and yawns, his great teeth revealing themselves, then disappearing again. "Yes, I know you're tired," you say and pat his head, "I am too." Your friends get the message.

Step 1: Most dogs will yawn when they are anxious. You can use that to help you catch the yawn. Look for your dog to yawn when he wants to go outside or wants a ball or toy that you are holding. When he yawns, click and treat. Because this trick has to be 'caught' with the clicker, it can be fairly difficult, and you have to time your clicks just right.

Step 2: When he starts to offer a yawn because he has been treated for it, go ahead and give the command you want to associate with his action. It could be yawn, tired, or sleepy, but in any case, be consistent with your command. Repeat three to four times per session.

Step 3: After several sessions of training your dog to yawn, give him the command and see if he will respond with a yawn.


Because we have to catch Caspian in the act of yawning, it can be frustrating when trying to get him to yawn multiple times in a training session. Caspian will lick his muzzle and yawn if he is anxious, so sometimes during our training session, we would turn around and not say anything for a few seconds. Caspian, not knowing what to do, would then get a little anxious. An assistant would either click or let the trainer know when to click if he yawned (you won't be able to see your dog if your back is turned). This trick was more frustrating for Caspian in general. He knew that he was being clicked and treated for something that had to do with his mouth, but didn't quite understand at first. If your dog gets frustrated during a training session, cut back on the amount of time for each session, but always try to end on a high note.


My dog doesn't understand that he's being clicked for yawning. How can I fix this problem? Since a yawn is a natural response that a dog might give for either being tired or anxious, he usually doesn't even notice when he's doing it. Making him aware that he is yawning is the key to this trick. It may take several training sessions, but eventually your dog will get it!

Tip: "This trick presents better if you use a cute command like "Are you sleepy?" or "It's bedtime."

Dog Trick- Teach Your Dog to Backup

Difficulty: Easy 

This is a very useful trick to teach your dog, and one that will condition him for more advanced tricks later on. A good practical use of getting your dog to back up is for tossing him a toy or treat to catch. You can also have your dog back out of the kitchen while you're eating, for example. Teaching your dog to back up will pave the way for more impressive tricks later on, such as incorporating it into a dance routine. Tricks like that are extremely hard to teach, and take lots of time, but the foundations for them start here. Think up creative ways to use back up with other tricks for a much more impressive show.

Step 1: With your dog standing facing you, walk forward toward him. When he takes a step backwards, click and treat.

Step 2: Continue stepping forward. When he takes multiple steps backwards, click and treat.

Step 3: Practice this until he understands that if he backs up, he deserves a treat. Start walking toward him less. You can use a signal instead (Try waving the back of your hand toward him, or taking a single step forwards).

Step 4: Once he has learned this, say "Back" as he backs up and as you give the hand signal. Do this several times until well learned. Remember to click and treat when he cooperates.

Step 5: Give him the command and see if he'll back up! Click and treat well each time he obeys. Reinforce with extra training sessions.


Teaching Caspian this trick was pretty straightforward. We would walk towards him, and click/treat when he would back up. Sometimes he would try and move out of our way instead of backing up, so we decided to relocate to our upstairs hallway—so the walls would constrict his movements. When we moved toward him in the hallway, he had no choice but to back up. He soon got the idea, and we then attributed the command back up along with the hand signal. We usually use the "back" command for him to backup and sit before tossing him a treat or toy.


My dog won't start backing up unless I advance toward him. That's where the signal comes in. Try using the signal as you walk toward your dog each time. Then, gradually stop walking forwards, but keep the hand signal. Be patient and give your dog time to think about it. Also, remember to take enough breaks and don't wear your dog out. Short sessions are the most successful!

Tip: "A narrow hallway or a place where movement is restricted can help in teaching this trick."

Dog Trick - Teach Your Dog to Fetch

Difficulty: Easy 

If your dog has mastered the "tug" game and the "bring it" command, then teaching him to fetch will be easy. Fetch comes naturally to some dogs, and to others it is a moderately easy trick to teach. Once your dog learns Fetch, he will enjoy doing it not only for treats, but simply because it's just a fun game. Follow the steps carefully with your dog, and soon you will have another fun game to play with him.

Step 1: Start by playing tug. Say the "take it" command when you want your dog to pick up the rope toy, and then the "give" when you want him to release the rope.

Step 2: Have your dog "give" the rope, but then toss it a few feet away. Say, "take it." Click treat when he picks up the rope.

Step 3: Generally, your dog should be excited about playing the tug game, and will usually come back to play some more. If he doesn't, repeat step two, this time getting him to bring it to you with the "come" command. Say "Give" and click and treat.


Since Caspian is part retriever, fetching came naturally to him. We would throw a tennis ball, and Caspian would be extremely excited—he knew that this was going to be a fun game. He would run down our hallway as fast as he could, and puppy-pounce on the ball. But then, he would get distracted, and not know what to do. He would chase after the ball fine, but he just wouldn't bring it back. We worked with him using the "come" command, and by clicking/treating, it didn't take him long to bring the ball back every time. Now playing fetch is his absolute favorite thing to do!


My dog has learned to fetch, but he always brings it back slowly. Three things: The first thing is to use great rewards. Yummy snacks, great praising, a nice walk...All these 'treats' are good to reinforce the dog's behavior. The second thing is your enthusiasm. If you're not at all excited about the game, how do you expect your dog to be? Go all out; be silly. If your dog sees you enjoying it, chances are he will enjoy it, too. The third thing is time. The more you reinforce this trick, the more your dog will learn to appreciate it! Keep positive and practice it several times per day. After a while, he will learn to love fetch and look forward to playing it.

Tip: "Practice fetching different objects and at greater distances. Be generous with praise and click and treat when he performs well."

Dog Trick - Teach Your Dog to Open and Close a Door

Difficulty: Moderate

You have a smart dog! He's learning all sorts of new tricks. One trick that takes two separate steps to learn is opening and closing a door. Keep in mind that dogs can only open certain kinds of doors; it's practically impossible for a dog to twist a doorknob. The way dogs open doors is by pulling a cloth or rope attached to a latch. When he pulls the latch, the door swings open. You can use this trick to teach your dog to let himself out, but only teach this if you have a fenced-in yard. You can use this trick for a variety of other uses, such as opening and closing the refrigerator door (pair this with "fetch a drink,), or opening and closing a mailbox (you can teach your dog to get the newspaper or deliver a letter).

Teaching Your Dog to Open a Door

Step 1: Tie a bandana or cloth around your door. Tell him to tug it. Wait until he tugs the door open, then click and treat.

Step 2: Keep doing this, eventually saying, "open" whenever he tugs the door open. Click and treat every time.

Step 3: After your training session, he should be able to open the door at your command.

Teaching Your Dog to Close the Door:

Step 1: Put your touch stick on the door.
Step 2: Each time he touches it and moves the door a little, click and treat.
Step 3: Start waiting until he has pushed the door closed. Click and treat.
Step 4: Do this until he will close the door each time. Click and treat generously when he does this!
Step 5: Start saying "close" when he closes the door. After repeating the action several times, he should close the door at your command.


This command is taught to assistance dogs to help disabled persons in opening and closing doors. You can see how helpful this would be to someone wheelchair bound. For us, we don't have a specific reason such as this for Caspian to open and close doors; and since we don't have a fenced-in yard, we definitely didn't want him to be able to open the front door to let himself out. Nevertheless, we use this trick to open and close the refrigerator door, in conjunction with the "fetch a drink" command , which might be the perfect trick for when company comes over.


My dog is tugging and pushing, but can't open or close the door. Do you have a small dog? Obviously, smaller dogs can't open or close heavy doors. If you want to teach your small dog this trick, give him a more lightweight door such as a toy cabinet to open and close.

Tip: "Make sure you understand that while teaching your dog to open doors, he may use his newly learned trick to escape from home on a rather boring day."

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