Monday, November 23, 2009

Tips for teaching a dog how to beg

How to teach your dog to beg in five easy steps.

1. Get a good amount of your dog's favourite snack. Probably something like hot dog or steak works best.

2. Sit down on your comfiest chair.

3. Start eating the snack.

4. Make it clear to your dog how delicious the snack is, being sure to include many verbal indications such as "Mmmmmmm" and "This is soooooooo good".

5. Voila! By now your dog should be staring at you, a stream of drool hanging down to the floor -- an expert at begging, after only five easy steps.

Ok ok sorry, that was my sad attempt at humour.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I've been an utter failure at teaching my dogs to beg / sit pretty. I used the luring technique, holding a treat over their head. They'd either stand up, or paw at my hand holding the lure, or both.

At the seminar this weekend we got a few pointers and now both my dogs are on their way to becoming expert beggers. The tips were basic common sense, no earth shattering rocket science involved, but really did the "trick". Using the same luring technique (surely it can be taught by shaping, but the less patient/skilled should feel no shame in luring IMO):
  • If the dog stands up to reach the treat, hold the treat lower, closer to their head.

  • If the dog puts their front paws on your hand or arm to balance, hold your hand/arm more vertical so that they can't. Also, make sure you're holding the lure far enough toward the back of their head so that they won't be tilted forward when reaching for the treat.

  • At first, reward even very short-duration attempts. It will take time for the dog to develop the core strenth required for holding the position for a longer time.
Oh, and probably a good idea to use soft treats rather than something crunchy to prevent the treat getting caught in their throat thanks to gravity.

You can bet I'll post a photo of Lucy and Walter here if when they finally manage to hold a nice beg!

BTW if anyone has any alternative trick names for this, I'd love to hear them. Neither "beg" nor "sit pretty" particularly appeal to me but I'm not creative enough to come up with anything better :)


Sam said...

Thanks. That sounds interesting - I think I'll try it!

Elf said...

Someone else just posted "meercat" (somewhere, don't recall where), which I think is cool.