a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Dogs Try Hard

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Dogs Try Hard

SUMMARY: Just sayin'--they're usually good pups.

I have not yet moved the dogs into sleeping off the bed at night. Chip isn't the problem. You know who is.

At least now Señor Z moves off my side of the bed when I tell him to Move. Firmly. Maybe even only 2 or 3 times.  I thought we'd never get there.  Even Tika, who was stubborn about it, was moving on command within a month or so of starting on the bed (as I recall--certainly didn't take 2 years!).

They really do try hard when I give them a chance. And they both know so little. They’d love to spend more time with me. I’m still just feeling meh about it.

AKC has just announced a new Tricks titles progression, and a friend (Sparkle's/Ben's/McKenzie's human mom) has announced that she's going for it and is teaching tricks.

This half motivated me.1 So in the last few days I've done teeny tiny bits of tricks work:
  • (a) Hold biscuit on nose. (b) Then toss it up and catch it.
    This is new for the boys. Chip wants to lower his nose. Zorro wants to raise his.
  • Crawl or walk backwards (Z & C, respectively).
    Have worked casually at this for a while. Very casually. Almost invisibly.
  • Shake left, shake right depending on which human hand is offered.
    (C has done this for a while. Z is not completely solid, but almost.)
  • Spin Left or Right on command.
    (Have been working on fading the hand/finger swoop assistance. Getting there slowly.)
  • Touch nose to (a) hand (b) target.
    (Both do hand very very well. I've lackadaisically worked on a separate target.)
Others that we've worked on in the past:
  • Find It.  I hide a treat in the other room, dog has to find it.
    Also part of this--dogs have to stay in Down in first room while I'm out of sight hiding the treat.
  • Paws Up. Front paws on whatever I indicate.
    Z does this naturally pretty often. When I practice, I combine with "Off" (as another "trick") . As in, Off (treat) Paws Up (treat) Off (treat) Paws Up (treat) Off (treat).
  • Roll over.
    Jeez, I started this with them once and never went back to it. I should. This is in the basic half dozen things that every dog should know. IMHO.
  • Blow bubbles in a bowl of water
    (I got stuck on making progress and so stopped working on it)
Things my previous trick dogs (Remington, Tika, Boost, Jake, Amber, in that order) have done that I would add to the list if I were really working on tricks:

  • Figure 8 around my legs (a) standing still, (b) with me walking.
  • Speak.
    (Well, actually only Rem ever knew this. Only thing I succeeded in this with Tika and Jake was that they no longer barked at things that used to make them bark. Opposite of what I was trying for.)
Everything we work on, they behave so differently from each other!  Style differences in napping--

Both cute, though.

1 Not that I'm likely to ILP these boys with AKC. But, who knows--a couple of years back I bookmarked this other organization that started offering tricks titles. Just didn't want to pay the fees for them, either.


  1. Around here there are a few other options besides AKC, friends are doing barn hunt, or nosework, or tricks. Sometimes a particular sport fits the dog best, and it's not all running and jumping for the human. Katie loves nosework, but I haven't been home enough to get her past the very initial classes.

    1. Yep, we have all of that. After some experimenting with barn hunt & nosework, they're interesting to watch a little but that's pretty much all I'd be doing is watching. At least with tricks there's constant engagement between dog & handler.