“Crossed Paws” and Next Trick!

It turns out, we picked a tough trick for the first week, at least for Dan.

We are getting very close, but the behavior isn’t quite on cue yet. We will keep working and have it soon.

Here is a photo of Dan practicing with the paw target:

Dan Crossed Paws

I thought for the follow up this week, it would be fun to talk about what challenges we ran into when practicing this trick.  So, here we go.

The first thing we struggled with was the target – Dan’s nose touch behavior is much stronger than his paw touch behavior. So, we had to go back and review the “paw” behavior before we could begin with this trick.

The second challenge was that the place I had to hold the target in him to touch with his paw looked very similar to his cue for “bang”. This was another place where we had to go back and review – “bang” vs. “paw”

Third was getting Dan to lie down in an upright position. We have done TONS of practice on his “relaxed down” where he rolls his hip and tucks one paw. This has helped a lot in situations where he needs to calm down a bit, but in order to perform the “crossed paws” behavior easily, he needs to have his hips square and both front paws out straight. To practice this, I simply worked with him on our ottoman. It was narrow enough that he had to do an upright down rather than a relaxed down or he didn’t fit!

As you can see, Dan’s training history really determined where we had to start. What challenges did you face when teaching this trick?

Don’t forget to share a photo of your trick on my Facebook page for an entry in the October drawing!

Also, it is time to announce the trick for Week #2:

I have been coming up with some themes for tricks and the first one I want to work on is carrying, putting things in, and picking things up.

I am going to start with Putting a Toy in a Basket (Can you see where this one is going? Hopefully we can get to “Dan…pick up your toys!”)