If you have been practicing obedience training with your dog (commands like stay, wait and leash training) you will probably already have mastered some of the basic dog training principles. However, it needn’t stop there. Both you and your dog can gain a lot of fun, satisfaction and quality bonding time by adding new tricks to the repertoire. If it has been a while since you have done any training or teaching tricks to your dog, here are a few reminders on what to do and what kinds of dog supplies you need.
- Stay calm and patient. Never punish a dog for not getting it right. Focus on praise, reward and positive reinforcement.
- Be prepared with plenty of his favorite treats or use a clicker if you have already trained your dog to respond to one. There are plenty of pet products to choose from.
- Practice first in a place with minimal distractions, it’s a good idea to be away from other pets until your dog has mastered the trick so that concentration isn’t broken
- Be consistent. Make sure you always use the same command, be it verbal, a hand signal or a combination of the two. Make sure that anyone else who is teaching your dog is also using the same commands
- Be quick with your reward! Your dog wants to know why and how he is getting his reward so make it clear by giving it immediately after he has done what you asked.
- Before any training, make sure your dog has had some exercise so that any excess energy isn’t distracting him too much. Take him to a good dog walking place in Hong Kong before you start.
Show your dog that you have a small, tasty treat in your hand. Then, with it held in a closed fist, bring it close enough for your dog to reach it with his paw. About four or five inches away from his nose is probably perfect for most dogs.
You dog might sniff and nuzzle at your hand but if you wait patiently, eventually he will paw at your hand. This is great! This is the first step so reward him immediately. From this point, you can introduce the ‘high five’ command. He will learn to paw at your hand when you say high five and get his treat. Once he has mastered this, you can use an open palm instead and treat him with your other hand when he paws your palm. Gradually, you can begin to replace the treats with verbal praise and affectionate fuss.
First, give your ‘down’ command and very gently roll your dog onto his side. If he is anything like our dogs, he will do this as soon as you touch him in the hope of a tummy-rub! Give lots of praise and repeat until your dog is comfortable with the first part of the trick.
Next, you can introduce the ‘sleep & stay’ command. If he pops his head up, just gently lay it back down and praise him for staying for a couple of seconds. You can gradually increase the time he stays with patience and plenty of rewards.
Once your dog has mastered the trick, you can use the ‘play dead’ command and have him perform the whole trick from start to finish.
This one is a nice follow-on from ‘play dead’ as he will already know most of the movements needed and be comfortable with them.
Start by giving your dog the ‘down’ command. With a treat in your hand, you can have your dog turn his nose to his shoulder and flop onto his side as he follows the treat. Reward this first step and repeat until he gets it right every time.
Next, keep your hand moving so that your dog follows the treat further and flops onto his other side. Once he has realized he needs to do the complete move, you can introduce the ‘Rollover’
command and start reducing treats in favor of praise and affection for his efforts.
As with any dog training, some tricks take more practice than others. Try and make each session last around 15 minutes to help your dog know exactly what you are asking him to do. He really wants to know how to get that praise so give him plenty of opportunity. It’s equally important not to go for too long. Most people have a short attention span, let alone our canine counterparts. Keep it fun and positive and you will both enjoy the process of teaching and learning for years to come.
Posted in Preventative Health By Vetopia