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30-day challenge: Teach your dog five new commands (day 7)

It must’ve taken Ace 100 repetitions to understand bang (play dead), but he finally has it down, pretty much. Seriously, how hard is it to just lie on your side?

I don’t know how I could’ve made it any easier for the mutt, but he was slow to pick this one up. I taught him by telling him “down,” then making a gun shape with my hand, pointing at him and saying “bang.” Then I moved him to his side and praised him. It took several short training sessions over a few days to teach him this command. He still won’t do it 100 percent of the time, but probably 50 percent. We reached that point where it seemed to really click and he did it several times. He still seems to forget it sometimes, and I have to push him over to his side. Now I am working on getting him to stay like that because he likes to pop right back up and get his treat. Not going to happen! He also likes to keep his head up and tail wagging. We have work to do.

We have also started to work on “bucket,” where Ace puts his tennis ball in a bucket. This is a hard one for the mutt because he is so ball obsessive that all he will focus on is getting me to throw the ball. He stares at it and then picks it up and drops it again and again. What I think is happening is he is dropping the ball in the bucket by coincidence. I am trying to teach him that I will not throw the ball unless he puts it in the bucket first. So, sometimes he puts it in the bucket, but it hasn’t clicked yet or he would do it every time. He seems to think he can get me to throw it without putting it in the bucket first because that’s what I’ve down for a year!

When I’m teaching Ace new things, it works best to work in short sessions of five minutes or less. If we try to work longer, one of us will get frustrated. Either I’ll start to lose my temper because he’s not getting something or he will lose his temper. He will bark at me, like “What are you saying, Human?” That’s when I know I’ve worked on something too long, so we just end with a command he knows and try again later.

Today is day 7 of my 30-day challenge to teach Ace five new commands. We have a long way to go and haven’t started on go long, crawl or roll over yet. Click here to see all my challenge posts.

Lindsay Stordahl

Monday 7th of July 2008

If Ace can learn bang, Biggie sure could.

Marie, Ace and I get frustrated with each other! That's when we know it's time to quit.

Apryl, Ace likes to play dead now that he realizes it's an easy one.

It's not that he's smart, Saintlover, he will just do anything to have a ball thrown.

Amiga, you should post a video of Stranger!

Castocreations, I am not the best at ending Ace with a positive note at agility if he's had a bad night. But usually he's so happy anyway at agility, that I guess it's not really a big deal.

Dawson, Ace just wants me to throw the ball constantly. So that means dropping it over and over until I'm so annoyed I throw it. He doesn't care about treats when a ball is involved either. I'll try your method and see how it works. He is so focused on a ball that it's hard for him to concentrate on anything else.


Monday 7th of July 2008

I am a ball obsessed dog who has learned to put my toys AND ball into the bucket. Now I have one of those godoggo ball throwers and can load it myself (usually). My person started by teaching me to put my other toys into a box. She would drop something noisy into the box and when I came over to check it out, I would drop my toy into the box (for this I got a click and a treat). Then I progressed to dropping my toys into the box on command THEN we progressed to balls. This was tougher. I do NOT like to give up the ball. But I finally got it in about 2 days. Probably Ace is smarter than I am (not that I am stupid), but, you can try our method if you want. Balls are SUCH high value, its hard to think about doing something new with them. I want them to be thrown not put away. Plus I like balls as much as treats so trading the ball for a treat is kind of lame to me. But thats just me.

castocreations (hzk)

Monday 7th of July 2008

One thing I've learned at Agility is how important it is to end on a POSITIVE note. :) Even if we've had a bad session we always end on something good. It makes us both feel better. lol =D

castocreations (hzk)'s last blog post..Out of Their Misery

K9 Amiga

Monday 7th of July 2008

lindsay, this is adorable, ace reminds me a bit of stranger, his expressions

K9 Amiga's last blog post..Roller Dog


Monday 7th of July 2008

what a smartie pants! I sooo need to teach my labra-dorks the bucket command. When I throw the ball for them they drop it like 10 feet away and start barking at me to throw it away... uggg.

Great tricks!

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