In our opinion, dog training really is "all tricks." There's no distinction between "serious" work and "fun" work. It's all fun if you're doing it right!
Teaching tricks can, however, lead to huge and long-lasting benefits for your competition work. Far from being silly and inconsequential, tricks can be the building blocks for more advanced work. Trick training helps you form a strong and mutually enjoyable working relationship with your dog. Teaching tricks gives you valuable training experience by allowing you to practice a variety of techniques (shaping, luring and targeting), develop a training plan for a behavior from start to finish, improve your timing, and set criteria appropriately. And most importantly, trick training is just plain fun!
The tricks we will focus on in this class will have application to competition training and showing. Left and right spins, hand touches, backing up, weaving between your legs, sitting up, paw touches, chin rest, take a nap, go to bed, and play dead are some of the tricks we will work on. In addition to teaching these tricks, we will talk about how they can help improve your dog's focus, lower his stress level, and make teaching competition behaviors much easier.
Students will work at their own level and pace. If your dog already knows the basic trick behavior, we will add more challenges by working on distraction and stimulus control. There are also an infinite number of variations to each trick. Although this course is appropriate for dogs of all ages (puppies through seniors), and at all levels of training, please carefully consider your dog's physical and mental state awhen choosing and training tricks.
Here's a trailer showing some of the tricks we'll be working on:
For this class we have divided tricks into 5 major categories. Within each category are a variety of tricks at different levels of difficulty. We have indicated when a trick is considered foundation for more advanced tricks.
In addition to instructions and demonstration videos for the tricks you will also receive a series of "how to" lesson plans to help you develop training plans, get behaviors to happen, troubleshoot problems, move to partial reinforcement, and add verbal cues.
Go to bed (foundation)
Play dead (foundation)
Front Paw Tricks:
Sit up (foundation)
Paw touch (foundation)
Back Paw Tricks:
Two on / two off (foundation)
Back up (foundation)
Back up stairs
Back thru legs
Chin rest (foundation)
Take a nap
Head on lap/leg/foot
Pick up your toys
Left & right spins (foundation)
Perch work (foundation)
Go around (fly or wrap)
Prerequisites and Equipment
To get the most out of this class it will be very helpful to have some experience with clicker training and shaping. A food motivated dog is ideal. Dogs that train mainly for toys and play can certainly participate and learn tricks, but their progress is typically slower.
Once you have decided on specific tricks you may then need to acquire props. Many props are things you probably already have around the house. Most others are cheap and easy to obtain.