Heel – Part I

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In this video I start work on teaching the pup to heel.  For now, I just want him to come to me, walk around behind me and sit at my side.  Because I always walk him on my right side, I’m having him come around and sit on my right side.  I believe in showing the dog is usually on the left, but this is what works for me.  This one is definitely going to take some work.  Bentley likes to jump up at the treat rather than just coming around nicely, and he pulls back if I try to guide him with the leash.  But I’m sure he’ll get it eventually!  Just takes patience and practice!



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In this video I do a quick little review of some tricks I’ve taught Bentley so far, as well as teaching him the “Catch” command.  This is one of those tricks that requires a lot of repetition, so once again I’m doing it at dinner time and using his kibble as the reward.  When he does actually manage to catch a piece of kibble out of the air, he also gets a higher value treat as a reward. I’m aiming right for his nose to make this really easy for him.  Once he gets better at it, I can make it more challenging by making him jump for the treat, but for now, we’re just working on learning what this new command means.  He figures out quickly what he’s supposed to do, we just need to work on mouth-eye coordination!

Ring the Bell

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Continuing the progression of the “Touch” command, I’ve started working with Bentley on ringing a bell to go outside.  It takes him a little while to get the idea that he needs to touch the bell and not my hand though, as I forgot to bring the sticky note target with me.  But once, again, he catches on quickly.  It’s important to have patience when teaching a dog a new trick or command.  They have *NO* idea what you’re saying or what you want, and most of them don’t understand the concept of pointing.  All they know is that you have a treat and you want them to do something to get that treat.  Don’t get frustrated! And be sure to not let the dog get frustrated either!  Work on it for a bit, then take a break and try again later.




High Five

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After working with Bentley on the “Touch” command and being successful with it, I changed the command to “high five”.  He catches on pretty quick!  This was an easy trick for Bentley to learn because he already knew “Give Paw” and was already accustomed to touching with his paw rather than his nose.  Now we just need to work on his accuracy a bit!

Touch – Part I



I’m working on teaching Bentley the “Touch” command.  I like to think of this as a gateway command.  Once you can get your dog to reliably touch on command, you can change what he is touching and gradually change the command to get him to do things like ring a bell or turn on the lights.  In the video I use a sticky note as a target so that Bentley learns that he needs to touch the little piece of paper and not just my hand.

Treat Treasure Hunt!

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In my never ending quest to keep my puppy entertained (read: out of trouble) I try to come up with things for him to do that force him to think.  So he has Kong toys and toys that dispense treats when he rolls them around.

Our latest game is a treasure hunt. I close Bentley up in my room (which he protests most strenuously) and then I go around the house hiding treats.  Then I let him loose to go find them!  He’s got a great nose, so he can usually sniff out the first few very quickly.  And it is interesting to watch him follow the scent trail I left while looking for them.  It’s a fun and rewarding game for him and gets him using his brain as well as using his nose!


Leave It – Redux

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So I mentioned in an earlier post how I’ve started coupling correction with positive reinforcement when training Bentley.  This has lead to him understanding and learning much faster what I want from him, and I feel this has led to much lower frustration on both our parts.  Previously I was trying to teach him the Leave It! command.  We got to the point where he would stop licking and pawing at my hand and look up at me, but any sign of a treat and he would go for it.  Using this new technique though, we’ve achieved much better results!  I can now put the treat down in front of Bentley and remove my hand without him lunging for it.

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