Friday, April 22, 2011

A new trick and a blog hop

My dogs are in the process of learning a new trick. This is a totally self indulgent trick, meant to allow me, the human, to be extra lazy. The trick? Close the door.

When I get up in the middle of the night to let the dogs out to potty, I leave the door cracked a little so the dogs can just push the door open and come right back inside. This does mean, though, that I have to stay awake and standing until the dogs come back in so that I can close the door behind them.

No more of that nonsense.

Today, I took this unbearable situation into my own hands, and, with a clicker, a black X of electrical tape, and handfuls of treats.

I put a black X on my door, about nose height for the dogs (or, a little over nose height for Pallo, a little under for Koira, since my dogs are no where near the same height). Using my touch stick, I got the dogs to touch their noses to the black X on the door. I faded the touch stick quickly, treating for nose touches on the X.

One trick training session down, both dogs will reliably touch their nose to the door. Koira snaps her head back to me right away after making contact, anticipating her treat reward, so we need to work on hitting the door harder and pushing. Pallo did really good, even adding in a foot to "slam" the door, but I pushed him too fast by opening the door a little for him to close, and the noise scared him a bit despite a HUGE jackpot of treats for it. By the end of the session, he was happily hitting the closed door again, and we will work our way up more slowly next time.

Other tricks learned this week include Pallo learning to Roll Over, which he now offers every time he gets confused, anxious, or doesn't know what I want him to do. Koira is learning "Speak" which might be a mistake, encouraging her to bark, but I am hoping I can get two different ones, a loud bark, for "Speak" and a soft bark for "inside voice". We'll see how far I get with that.

I have been wondering, do you teach the same tricks to all your dogs, or do each of them know different tricks? What is your favorite trick to train, and what trick is your dog's favorite to offer?

Pallo's default is the "roll over" now, but for Koira, default is "Wave", which often ends up being her thrashing her front leg around in the air.

While you are enjoying your Saturday, please stop by the Pet Blog Hop and visit some other pet bloggers! We will be spending our Saturday at Lure Coursing practice, and hopefully getting the camera back!


  1. That sounds like a very useful trick!

    Beryl's favourite trick is to bow, it's much easier for her to do than sit, so she usually tries that first:) Frankie's favourite trick is probably to 'do a shimmy' which is something fairly unique to him. It involves him lying down and moving his front legs back and forth, just something I shaped that he enjoys doing:) Of no use whatsoever except to make me smile!

  2. Loved to meet you this morning on the blog hop! I think you're a very smart dog owner to teach your dogs to shut the door behind them. I think this is great!

    I'm Pet Peeves. I'm dismayed at how people mistreat pets and today I'm participating in the HOWL Heard Around the World. Stop by my blog and leave a comment so that the huskies and sled dogs didn't die in vain.

  3. I think that is a genius trick to teach your dog. They seem very smart and I think they will learn how to do it quickly

  4. Love that trick! It's amazing how quickly dogs can learn. We've been teaching Sage "look" as a means of re-directing her when she's barking at a dog walking by.

  5. Thanks for the comments everyone! I will try to get a video of the final trick once they have it down to share.

  6. Great dogs. I'm a new follower can follow back at

  7. Really like your blog. Love the photos of the dogs. I'm your new follower, come on over and follow back at