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A nice, easy trick to start with is "spin" because it is pretty much a single action behavior. And any dog can do it, within reason. Your dog can be young, old. It's not a physically challenging thing for your dog to do. The way I'm going to start is by placing a treat right on Walter's nose and moving it slowly around in a circle and clicking and rewarding him for that. Then, I'm going to do a hand signal. I still have food in my hand. Then the next step is, I'm going to cue it, click it, reward it. So again, you're going to be watching what your dog does and rewarding it.
Spin is great for dogs of all sizes, all ages. It's not too complicated to train, so it's a good one to get started with. Another trick that is pretty good to get started with is the paw behavior. Some people call it "shake", I refer to it as "paw". And the way that I'm going to get started with that with Walter, in this case I'm not going to use the clicker, because my hands are going to be full. I'll use a verbal marker instead. I'm going to put a treat right up to his nose. I'm going to explain something that's going to happen before I do it. Chances are, if he can't get the treat out of my hand, he's going to try to bat it out of my hand, so I'm going to have my other hand ready. Yes. And the minute he brings his paw up and makes contact with my hand, I mark it. Yes. Then, I reward it. And then, I want to fade out the food. Yes. Perfect, sweetie.
Now in shaping a behavior, Walter knows these steps pretty well, but some dogs don't raise their paw up that much that quickly, so you want to break all of your training down into small, achievable steps. As your dog's teacher, you want to know what the end result you're looking for looks like, and that way you can look for any successive approximation towards the final result. So if he had just moved his paw up a little bit, I would have rewarded that, and then I would have looked for larger, more higher arm movements, good, until I get that end result there. You want to break your training up into small, achievable steps, so that you and your dog are having fun and being successful.
The greatest thing about "paw" is that once you've got that, it's pretty easy to get high five. It's just a variation, really, in how you hold your hand. We'll just see what that looks like. Good, let's try that again. High five. Good. Sit. Paw. Good. High five. Good. And those are three tricks that I think are really great for getting started with your tricks training program.
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