a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Circus Dog Class!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Circus Dog Class!

SUMMARY: Tricks, week 1

Fetch Sam is a dog-training indoor facility near downtown San Jose. Main focus is dog agility, but that means that it's plenty big enough for a group of dogs to work on tricks, too.

Mackenzie and her Human Mom, Zorro in his crate. Mackenzie is a tres wee dog.

Saturday was our first class out of 5 spread over a month and a half. I had asked whether I could do both dogs at once (paying for both of course), but the instructor suggested that I could maybe alternate weeks, but not both at once. When class got going, I could see what that wouldn't have worked with 2 dogs, one handler.

Had to decide whom to take to week 1 and opted for Zorro.

He did very well even with other dogs around; only one brief HEY STOP LOOKING AT ME barking session, but mostly seemed comfortable to be there, not too overly stimulated, and briefly met a 6-month-old lab nose to nose. Mostly we were all maybe 20-30 feet apart from each other, working on the assigned tricks.

First week we did an intro to clicker training (which I've been using for ages) and the following:
  • Target training: (which this week was really "go to your mat" for which she supplied towels) I've been doing "go to your bed" with the dogs with a bit more than casual intent for a while, so they have the basic idea and Zorro had little problem with this from up to a few feet away.
  • Shake: Both dogs already do "shake" (with right paw) and "shake left" (with left) very well.  So in class I worked on getting him to give me both paws first with shake, then with shake left; he was reluctant to get both paws off the floor at the same time although lordy knows he does that often enough at hom.
  • Spin: Both dogs do "left" and "right" spins already; zorro has "right" on voice command almost all the time and "left" almost on voice command; Chip isn't there yet with just voice command, but the finger reminder is almost faded away. During class, I worked on having Zorro do 2 or 3 in a row before getting a treat (so, like 2/treat, 1/treat, 2/treat, 1/treat, 3/treat, 2/treat, 1/treat...)
  • Take it: Haven't worked on this with these dogs ever. Zorro of course will grab a toy in my hands when I tell him to Get It at home, but he has no interest in toys at all away from house/yard, so this will take some work; in class, he was starting to open his mouth instead of just butting it with his nose, yay.
  • Roll over: I think I worked with them a bit on this when Zorro first arrived, but not much and not since then, so we're really at square One, or maybe one and a half. But much more willing to go over than, say, Remington, with whom I had to start by first lifting one foot slightly and rewarding, and going very very very piecemeal.
  • Sit pretty: Definitely worked with them a few times, again, back when Zorro was new here, but not really since. He was getting it in class after initially wanting to stand up on his hind legs, not sit up.
Mackenzie and her Human Mom (friend Arlene) also already knew some of the tricks but were just learning others.  I think that some of our other classmates also knew one or two of some of these ahead of time, but we all have things to work on.

Like, for example, THIS vast display of naughtiness, Mr. Zee!!!, which I found this evening on my effing kitchen table, my beautiful all-white CLEAN kitchen table, after being gone all day:

So SOME of us have a few more things to work on outside of class than others.

Ya think we're dog people? With mostly nonpurebred dogs, both?


  1. Sounds like a lot of fun, and also good for the boys to have some one on one time with mom. I had an opportunity to take Katie back to scent classes, starting again tonight, but I really don't want to drive in the dark over hilly snowy country roads to get to a class at 7:30. I feel bad like I've let her down, but she seems fine with napping at home.

    1. I wouldn't want to drive under those conditions, either. If she complains, just tell her that she gets a lot more walks than my boys do.