These tricks, though not all that complicated, do require a little better planning and shaping on your part. You may find that your dog picks these up right away, but he may need several short training sessions to get him started in the right direction. Remember that the easier it is for the dog to be right, the more willing he will be to work with you.
Keep your shaping plan clear, and make it easy for the dog to be right. Don't be afraid to jump ahead if your dog is catching on more quickly or slow it down and review if he seems confused or frustrated. As with the easier tricks, you'll want to get these started in a quiet environment but move your training sessions around distractions as soon as your Golden shows that he understands what you want.
Practicing around distractions almost from the beginning will teach your dog to perform his tricks wherever you ask for them. If you wait until later to add in distractions, you will have to start from the beginning and rebuild the whole behavior to fluency.
Sit Up and Beg
This is a trick that requires some balance and muscle development on the dog's part. Though Goldens are athletic dogs, they are not always in good enough shape to balance on their haunches for long periods of time. Practicing this trick in small frequent sessions is ideal since your dog will need time to learn the skill of balancing and using muscles he doesn't normally use.
Here are the shaping steps for teaching sit up and beg:• Start with your dog in a sit.
Use a treat to lure your dog's nose in an upward direction.
If he tips his nose up, click and treat.
Keep several treats in your hand and let your dog nibble at them.
When you have your dog's interest, raise your hand slightly.
As your dog raises up from a sit, click and treat.
Leave your hand stationary so he has to hold the stretch, then click and treat.
Repeat this until your dog can successfully hold the sit and stretch his nose skyward.
Gradually increase the height of the stretch so that his front feet are off the ground.
If he rears up completely out of the sit, lower the treat and begin again.
If he holds onto your arm with his front paws, lower the treat until he regains his balance.
Once he can sit up without holding on, fade the food so it is not in your hand every time.
If the behavior falls apart, go back to using food for a time or two and begin again.
Click when the dog is sitting up with his front feet close to his chest, and deliver the treat.
Once the dog is sitting up, as you move your hand over his head begin to label it “Sit Up.” Remember, you want to label the behavior as the dog is doing it.
When your dog begins to anticipate your hand motion, go ahead and ask for “Sit Up.”232
This four-year-old male Golden is practicing the Honor exercise for Rally obedience competition. This exercise requires the dog to perform a sit or down on leash.
The skill of being able to remain in a sit with the front feet off the ground is a learned skill for most dogs. Each dog must be given time to build up the muscles in his lower back so that he can hold this position without falling over. It is important to use the food lure to accomplish this ability. At the same time, remember to fade it as quickly as possible so that the dog does not become dependent upon having it present in order to perform the trick. It may take a while to accomplish this, so be patient and accurate with your clicks.
Believe it or not, this can be a fairly difficult trick to teach your dog. One reason may be that some dogs do not like being on their backs. Another may be that many dogs don't like the sensation of being slightly out of control. Regardless, all dogs can learn this trick with the proper amount of patience and the right kind of tools.
Here are the shaping steps for teaching your dog to roll over.
Start with your dog in a down.
Use a treat to coax your dog so that his hip is out to the side, then click and treat.
Repeat this until he lies down and rolls onto one hip with a single motion, then click and treat.
Now move the treat a bit toward his neck and shoulder.
If he lowers his shoulder to the floor, click and treat.
Repeat this until he will easily lower his shoulder to the floor.
Once he is completely on his side, go ahead and coax him a little farther, then click and treat.
Gradually use the lure to have him reach farther and farther until he is on his back, then click and treat.
Gradually have him reach until he rolls all the way over, then click and treat.
Repeat from the start having him go a little further each time before you click and treat.
Eventually work it so that he will lie down and roll most of the way for one click and treat.
Fade the lure by having him start the behavior without it, then click and treat.
If you lose the behavior, go back to using a lure for a few times and then try it again without.
Once your dog is rolling over easily, label the behavior “roll over.”
Some dogs are more reluctant than others about wanting to get on their backs, but most dogs will do it in time if you give them a chance. It may be a good idea to practice on a soft surface, like a rug, so that your dog isn't uncomfortable when he rolls onto his back.
Roll over is a great trick to teach an active dog that loves to show off. It is important to fade out the use of the lure as soon as possible so that your dog doesn't become dependent upon it. Once he masters rolling, he may be so good at it that you'll want to teach him to roll multiple times or have him learn to roll in both directions.