a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Silly Rabbit, Tricks are for Dog Kids

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Silly Rabbit, Tricks are for Dog Kids

SUMMARY: In which we start pursuing tricks real serious-like (or is that Sirius-like?).
I signed up for 2 days of auditing a Sylvia Trkman tricks seminar in December. I started thinking about how pathetic my dogs' tricks repertoire is, especially after having Remington who was quite the trick dog in his time. (Nowadays, especially with internet videos showing how to train your dogs to do all kinds of things, his tricks would be mostly considered pretty basic.)

So for the last 3 days I've been working on improving some tricks and adding some new ones. There must be something to karmic communication, because my parents showed up today with the book "Dog Tricks - 40 fun activities for you and your dog" for me. It's always fun to get a new tricks book to see what variations on a theme they might have, or new ideas I haven't tried before.

So--let's run down the list of tricks as introduced in this particular book.

(the late great)
Sit yes--could do a long obedience sit-stay yes--start-line stay is a little iffy yes--good start-line stay
Stay for my dogs, "Sit" and "Down" automatically incorporate "stay until released"
Down Yep, always a little slow Yep, getting slower Yep, very fast usually
Come Well... kinda... usually...
Drop it pretty good erm, not really iffy
Fetch something you throw Never liked it much Getting better on command. Pretty dang good.
Shake hands Yes Yes, also shakes left hand on request Yes
Speak Yes No Yes
Take a bow Yes sometimes "stretch" on command sometimes "stretch" on command
Kissyface No, but tried. Not really a licking dog. No No, but hmm she licks a lot, could be taught.
Jump for joy No Does it on her own; maybe could teach it. No
Roll over Yes Yes, fairly well Yes, fairly well
Jump over your legs never tried Hmmm--could do this ditto
Get your leash No No--worked on it for a while and quit Yes
Beg/sit pretty Yes just learning just learning--getting it
Fetch a specific item Not really Worked on it some Will look for some specific items: Dish, leash, lattice, tennis ball--
Leave it Decent Never worked on it Ditto
High five Yes Yes just learning
Spin "left" or "right" on command ditto ditto
Wave Yes just learning No
Dance Reasonably good No No
Carry [something] not a chance not really Not bad with frisbee
Figure 8 around legs Yes Yes just starting
Jump up (on a chair etc) Yes yes yes
go to your bed (and stay there) Yes Yes OK with direction
Put away your toys No just started One at a time with encouragement
balance biscuit on nose/catch Yes Decent just started
Act shy (hide face) Yes No No
Find the keys No No No
Close the door No No No
Crawl Forward and backward Just started No
Follow a scent trail (drag treat along floor) Took some tracking classes to follow my scent trail No No
Pull cord to turn on light/fan No No No
Achoo No No No
Run through a tunnel Duhhh! Duhhh! Duhhh!
Jump through a tire Duhhh! Duhhh! Duhhh!
Touch a nose target Yes Yes Yes
Run down a ramp and touch a nose target Pretty much Pretty much Pretty much
weave poles Duh! Duh! Duh!
jump over hurdles Duh! Duh! Duh!
jump onto a table, lie down, and stay until released Yes Yes In theory--

OK, how cool is it that they include a chapter on agility obstacles in the book? Looks like there are a few basic ones in there that I could work on. But here are some others that we do:
(the late great)
Find a treat (hidden) Yes Yes Yes
cha-cha line No just started ditto
Back up Yes Yes No
Bang! Yes Yes Just started but already she's added her own flavor to it.
Get in the box (like a cardboard box) No Pretty much Pretty much
Lie on one side Yes Yes No
balance biscuit while sitting pretty or walking Yes No No
Say your prayers Yes No No
Hang ten (paws on your arm) Yes No No
Where's your nose? Yes No No
Limp Yes Just started No

And probably more that I'm not thinking of at the moment.

Sooo--I want to fill out my table with more yesses, and add more interesting, more up-to-date tricks. Like, I love the one where the dog blows bubbles in a bowl of water. I actually started that once with these gals and they were doing great and I forgot about it again. Agility, you know.

Or standing on two legs--one SIDE's legs! That's got videos online, too.

Or balancing on my big yoga ball--started with both of them and abandoned. That takes a lot of work. But would be very good for their muscles.

So--onward, like I don't have enough to work on with cleaning up boost's rear crosses or serpentines or bar knocking, or tika popping out of the weaves when they run into a wall, or like that.


  1. You know how much we love Silvia :) Will be anxious to hear all about it!

  2. I've lapsed teaching Katie tricks too...maybe need to look in the book. She likes to learn stuff. If it includes getting food.

  3. Yeah, Tika is especially motivated with food. Unless she gets too excited about the food to hold still for half a second and pay attention.

  4. I teach a separate stay because it's pretty essential in herding where you have the dog pausing briefly a lot (I usually use "stop," but others use down, lie down, or sit) but sometimes need the dog to stay.

  5. I'm jealous of the Sylvia seminar. She came here over a year ago but I was having foot surgery and couldn't go.

  6. Signed up for one day of Masters handling and auditing 2 days of tricks. Should be interesting. I've watched a lot of her videos.

  7. Cool. Probably like most people I go through waves of inspiration and longer waves of uninspiration with trick training. Reading about other bloggers teaching neat tricks usually gets me inspired. Hmmm... lemme go have another look at that list you posted. :)