Gettin’ Tricksy With It
We are going to start this week with our Paw Target again! Do a few repetitions of just a Paw Target on the ground, then put it in your hand and raise it up a little bit. Your goal for this week is to do a Shake! So we do want contact with the Paw Target still, duration is awesome, and you should only lift it up enough so that it comes a little under their chin - so not high at all! After your dog is consistently hitting the Paw Target, take it off your hand and see if they redo the same action with just your hand! Reward that no matter the duration, and go back to the Paw Target. You are going to slowly substitute your hand for the Paw Target!
Getting Your Pup Photo Ready
Now it’s back to working on getting your pup photo ready! At this point, your dog should be constantly looking towards your fingers/phone/camera when it is brought in to view. Now we make it more difficult! Practice having them in one solid position with their gaze moving depending on where you are directing them to look, work on duration, and work on different elevations!
This next one is a huge crowd pleaser! Sit Pretty does require that your dog have some core strength, so don’t do too much of this at one time, especially with young puppies! For the first week of practicing this trick, we are only concerned about helping our dogs build up their core a bit, so there is no need to rush!
Using a lure, put a treat in your hand and lure your dog in to a sit. From there, you are going to move your hand up a little bit and almost push back in to your dog at the same time. The goal is to see one paw or both lift off of the ground at first. Don’t worry about duration yet! As they are consistently putting both paws up and working those muscles more and more, you can help stabilize them using your arm. You can also use a hand on their lower back (lightly, and only if they are OK with your touching them there) or use something else behind them (a wall or something else solid) to help keep their form correct. I do not want to work on a Sit Pretty if the dog is not sitting properly to begin with (as in, they are leaning to one side in more of a sloppy sit).
Shake: Get your pup to shake!!! Try to fade the paw target as much as you can.
Follow the Fingers/Phone: Work to get your dog to consistently offer eye contact with your fingers/the phone. Also try to work in having them hold positions (sit, down, stand, etc.) while doing so.
Sit Pretty: Don’t worry about duration just yet - for now, I’m focused on a “nice” sit (no slouching) and having your dog raise both front paws off of the ground when lured.