In the Citizen Canine blog on June 12, (Tricks for Trainers) I talked about how instructors could add trick training to their skills and courses. Since then, we’ve had several questions about teaching tricks to puppies.
* if you make your lessons reinforcing, the puppy will come to pair you and training with fun
* simple tricks can be learned quickly so that both you and the puppy will have training success
* learning tricks teaches your puppy attention. This is a critical skill for training that will come later.
An easy trick is “Shake” as in shake hands.
1. Get your treats handy.
2. With your puppy sitting in front of you, get her attention.
3. Pick up her paw, and as you do, say, “Shake.”
4. As soon as you are holding/shaking the paw, say, “Good, shake!” and give the puppy a (food) reward.
5. Repeat–take the paw, say shake, praise, and reward.
Do this several times. Then, as you proceed, wait for the puppy to respond when you say, “Shake.” Before long, most puppies will life their paw to shake without your help.
For the puppy who just isn’t catching on, here’s a trick: Lightly push the puppy’s shoulder. The puppy will adjust her weight by shifting it all to one side. As she does this, she will most likely lift one paw. As soon as she does, take the paw, say, “Shake”, praise and reward (at the same time).
Do you have any tricks of your own for teaching ‘shake?’