Thursday, February 7, 2013

Star the budding circus dog

Amidst all the upheaval lately, I was trying to maintain some constancy by continuing to work with Star on building her skills. 

Actually, the real reason I work with her is that its the only way to get her tired so she leaves me alone and I can attend to something besides her, like researching new vehicles and corresponding with all those thousands of new clients just breaking down my door. 

Star really loves her training. No matter whether we're working on Go to Bed, other impulse control activities, or a fun new trick, she is ready to learn and behaves almost like she is a good little dog!

As I've written about before, I really think trick training is as important and practical for dogs with issues as training in the more basic skills. Trick training, like all positive training, teaches dogs to always be thinking about cool things to try in order to earn a reward. 

In addition to learning a new trick, dogs learn to think for themselves, they learn independence, they learn problem-solving, and they gain confidence in using their bodies and empowerment in using their minds. 

For foster dogs and shelter dogs, trick training gives them new skills and ways of looking cute for potential adopters.

I am trying to get both Fozzie and Star to learn both Stand (on two legs) and Sit Pretty (sit up and beg). They love to do both, although we haven't refined the difference between the two. 

For Stand, I just hold the treat calmly above her head. "Calmly" being a key component so she can just focus, concentrate her energy into her butt, and elevate the front half of the dog off the floor. 


For Sit Pretty I hold it closer to her face, and I hold out my other arm for her to put her paws on it so she can balance--like Fozzie and I learned in our dance class

It takes a bit more self-control than Star has to remain seated on her butt and elevate the front of the dog, without coming all the way up. 

At first, when I held a treat up high for Star, she would stand for a second then spin around so she was facing away from me and fall back onto all four paws. 


Gradually, she's been getting the hang of it and now she can stand steady in one spot on those two back paws, and even take a few steps. 

Fozzie's getting really good at both tricks too, though he still seems to get really tired when he does them.
Which is not a bad thing.


  1. What a good job they're doing, and I always appreciate a tired pup.

  2. Good job! Agree a tired pup is a good pup and much happier.
    Ernie and the rest of the furkids

  3. I LOVE YOU, FOZZIE!! There I said it!


  4. I like any activity that tires out the dog before it tires out the human. Tired dogs are good dogs. Tired humans can be bitchy in the human sense.

  5. We like learning tricks and stuff too. Great job
    Benny & Lily

  6. Good job Fozzie & Star! Now if only you lived closer to us.......

  7. Hmmm....must be all that thinking that's tiring them out. That's a good thing - have to exercise the brain. Now pass that treat Kirsten.

  8. totally agree, I needed to give Barbie some tricks to learn because she is easily bored - you can only do the same thing 3 times and she loses interest, so she has a few party tricks... I really should teach her more though :)

  9. I don't do much trick training, but sounds like a thing to start - little by little. I can see progress in the photos - terrific!

  10. One day Braylon started doing "Sit Pretty" by herself. We were thrilled! Then the second we tried to reinforce it so it was an actual trick she was aware she was doing she totally stopped. This motivates me to try again. I love what you said here,
    "In addition to learning a new trick, dogs learn to think for themselves, they learn independence, they learn problem-solving, and they gain confidence in using their bodies and empowerment in using their minds."
    All very true! I think people forget that sometimes!

  11. Tired is good! I love teaching them tricks, I think it helps stimulate their minds. :-)


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