Uncle Frank's New Tricks

Today is Frank's six month birthday. Happy birthday puppy!

Teaching Frank a new trick goes as follows;
  1. Get him to do it. This involves a lot of man handling, holding, tutting, scraping, injuries and shouting, but he will calm down.
  2. Obtain treats and bribe him. This step is essential for the future ones. Once he is on board and understands what is at stake (treats), you will have his attention.
  3. Get him to do it again. And again. This is important – keep doing it, treats and all. Just plying him with treats works well, but there’s a key final step.
  4. Get him to do it whilst he’s being fed. The stay command was a difficult one, and one we’d emptied bags of treats into, but once I started to make him stay before he got fed his dinner, and he made the distinction that “If I wait, I’ll get fed”, it clicked. He now stays better than he sits, the silly dog.

There is a zeroth step – when he does it by accident and we give him loads of unexpected praise.

Current roster of tricks as of November 2012
  • Sit
  • Stay
  • Shake a paw (left and right)
  • Lie down
  • Catch a tennis ball thrown to him in his mouth

In the plan:
  • Roll over
  • Shake both paws at the same time
  • Jump on command (and stop jumping at any other time)
  • Place a treat on his nose and he waits
  • Play dead
  • Play chess
  • Drive a vehicle
  • Type