I had something entirely different planned for today, but an overnight visit from my favourite four-legged friend, Sascha presented a new opportunity. I’ve already made her some dog treats, and made a sculpture of her likeness, why not try and teach her a new trick?
Sascha is a very clever little pup and she already has a bag of tricks up her sleeve. She’ll break them out at any opportunity, providing there’s a chance of her being thrown her beloved frisbee afterwards. This was going to be quite difficult, but I figured she would be up for the challenge. Sure enough, as soon as I got the training treats out (her dry food) she was very keen to go through all of the tricks she knows just to get one, including trying to bat them out of my hand. Motivation wasn’t going to be hard!
I first wanted to teach her to take a bow. In this trick the dog stands and then bends its front two legs to ‘bow’. It looks like she’s stretching or doing a downward dog posture, and I figured it was an easy one to start with…Sascha had other plans – we couldn’t get past the first stage, standing on all four legs. She is such a good dog that as soon as I have the treat she immediately sits politely in front of me. I could not get her to stand up!
I decided to change direction and build on a trick she already knew how to do – the high five. From watching a few videos I realised I could teach her to wave by “simply” doing the high-five from a distance and getting to hold it a bit longer. I found the following video super useful in how to do that.
Sascha decided to put her own twist on the trick. When I was close she would high five with one paw no problem, but as soon as I got further away she would bring both paws up and she was sat on her hind legs. No matter how many times I tried to get it with one paw, she would give me two – it was very cute.
She did eventually do this just with the hand gesture and the vocal command, but I realised that she’d tricked me – this was a trick she already knew how to do. She was doing a super cute move known to her as a “huggy”, and rather than teach her something new, I’d just told her to do a “huggy” a different way to get some treats. She’s certainly not daft!