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Reader participation: Where does this dog trick go?

February 7, 2012 18 comments

I had a lofty goal when I joined Pamela’s Train Your Dog Challenge last month. My goal was to get both of my more excitable pups (Jasper and Lady) to remain seated on a mat or designated spot in the living room every time someone comes to the front door. But alas! It appears I was a wee bit more lofty in my goal-setting than I first thought. A month won’t nearly be enough time to get this behavior down. My little pups, Jasper and Lady, feed off of one another’s energy no matter where they are or what they are doing. When one barks, so does the other, when one runs around, so does the other. It’s going to take a little more time for this one.

In the meantime, not wanting to look like a total schlub, I taught Jasper a very simple trick – “paws up.” Basically, he places his paws up on something (a bench, the coffee table, a ledge, etc.) whenever I say “paws up.” The problem is that it’s not really much of a trick.

Most dog trainers tell you that teaching a dog a complex trick requires you to break it down into a series of steps, and as you introduce each new step, you get closer to your final goal. The problem is that “paws up” seems more like a step to a final trick than an actual trick. But, what is the final trick I want to work up to? I have no idea. Do you? I would love to get some ideas on how I can use “paws up” to help lead Jasper to do a more complex trick. Any ideas?

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