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What tricks have you taught your cairn?


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Angus and I had started obedience and agility this winter, but only had the chance for a couple months of lessons before everything closed down.  He is an energetic dog, and he loves stimulation and action. We still work on obedience during our walks (not all the time - he gets his turns to "sniff"). But I have also started to teach him some "tricks" during two 20-minute sessions a day.  Before this, we had been playing "tug" and "fetch", and he loves both.  Sometimes, though, he would "nose" the toy (a ball or a rubber bone) back to me, so I decided to get him to do this on command.  I think we have it figured out now, including the command I use to encourage him. He is quite cute!

Now I am looking for some other tricks to teach him.  I need to know not only the trick, but how to teach him to do it.  Any ideas?

(Don't say "speak." It is loud enough around here already...)

Edited by Kathryn
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In his younger days, when I was teaching Ruffy the basics, (sit, down, leave it, roll over, etc.), I was told that an effective method was to repeat every command 15 times. It seemed somewhat tedious and I was skeptical, but I tried it and it worked. Wishing the same success for you and Angus!


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When we first got Murphy we decided on clicker training.  Before he was 4 months old he knew sit, down, rollover, we could say "bang!" and he would "die" and the best was (backstory, die hard. Arkansas Razorback fans and we were moving to Gator Country) we'd ask him if he would rather be a Gator or dead....he's always "die".  He also knows how to sit pretty and give a bump, give 5 and high five.  His "deaths" have become more dramatic the older he gets.  

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I think I posted something earlier about taking Greta, our senior citizen, to a basic tricks class last year. Upending the assumptions about training terriers, she was the star of the class, and even the Aussie owner kept asking “How did you get her to do that?” It helped that she is very interested in treats and loves to work.

After that intro class, I kept working at home and she now has her Trick Dog Intermediate title. You can download the lists of tricks from the AKC website. I used a clicker and treats to shape behavior, and you could almost see the wheels turning in her head when she was trying to figure out just what I wanted her to do.

It’s important to understand the right way to use the clicker method, so that’s a good place to start. There is a lot of info online, and the AKC has posted some trick tutorials. You can even get titles during the pandemic via video if that’s a good motivator for the human element. Greta says “Just give me the cookie!” 

By coincidence, I signed her up for an online trick training yesterday, but most of what she’s learned up to now we did on our own with a book of dog tricks and a million treats. Weave, ring a bell, turn on a light, touch, get on a stool, sit up, spin right and left, get in a box... She hates to crawl, and we’re having a tough time with taking something in her mouth, but plan to keep working on it. 

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