What Trick Should Shiva Learn Next?

It’s been a long time since I showed off a new trick on this here website. Perhaps because it’s been a long time since Shiva and I perfected anything. I’ve only my own laziness to blame, of course.

The handstand saga continues, much to my dismay. Though I think we are in the home stretch now. I’ve decided Shiva is finally ready for me to up the criteria. I will no longer reward her for putting her back feet on a tree or a wall, or anything else for that matter. It is now both feet in the air or all she gets is a blank stare. Hopefully this will help her figure out the final goal and I’ll be able to present something pretty wicked within a month or so.

Cross your fingers!

In the meantime, I’d love to work on something simpler as well. Now that spring is in the air I have more motivation to experiment. It’s just about time to shake off the winter dust! There are a few little behaviours we’ve been working on but nothing worth presenting. Certainly nothing even close to being on cue. I’ve flipped through a couple of my trick books but nothing sounded all that exciting. Apparently my creativity is still in hibernation mode.

 So. This is where you come in! Below I set up a little poll and I’d love it if you’d take a second to vote for your favourite trick. I entered a few options of things we’ve half-worked on but if you’ve got another idea that sounds like fun, please feel free to plug it in! We’ll see how ambitious I get – maybe we’ll even accomplish more than one!

Thanks in advance for your help!

39 thoughts on “What Trick Should Shiva Learn Next?

  1. Hard choice! I picked “hold something in her mouth” because it’s something I’m working on with Elka, albeit lazily. Winter has not been good for our training!

    “Shake her head” would have been a second choice, as a cute addition to cue while having a conversation with her.

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    • We’ve been working on holding objects for a while now, VERY lazily. We had some moments of brilliance but I grew frustrated and started working on other things instead. It’s so hard to get the timing right, to click before she drops the object.

      Winter is never good training time for us either. At least, that’s my excuse.

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  2. I voted for ‘Speak’, because it’s always something I wanted to try with Moses. There was just one problem – Moses only barks at inflatable Christmas lawn ornaments or when we’re playing and he’s super jazzed up. So to ‘capture’ the behaviour really means amping him up a lot (amped relative to Moses’ usually calm demeanour), and once he’s that excited, concentration plummets and any attempted word association has proved futile.

    So my vote is selfish – you do it, so I can see how you approached it.

    Alternatively, my write-in vote is for this:

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    • Okay, that video is amazing! That dog looks roughly Shiva’s size too… I am totally going to work on chain surfing as soon as the handstand is completed. Thanks for the inspiration!

      Barking on cue is only something I recently thought of working on. Shiva typically only barks when someone comes to the door or when someone she doesn’t like gets too close. However, I’ve also noticed she will bark at me if she is frustrated and I am not rewarding her fast enough. If I can get her to bark in frustration, I am hoping I can also get it on cue. We shall see…

      Thanks for your input!

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  3. Cali “speaks” on cue – and sometimes I’ll ask her if she wants to go to the park – when her eyes light up I say “tell me” and she’ll bark . . it’s pretty stinkin cute 😉 I’ve always wanted to teach Cali that little weave move between the leg or to crawl to me on command 🙂 She used to “down dog” on command . .but now she just looks annoyed when I say it! I voted for “patty cakes” – that would be SO CUTE!!!

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    • That sounds adorable. But Cali can just stand there and I melt. She is gorgeous with the sweetest eyes.

      I find the tricks I can teach by luring to be a lot easier. Crawling and leg weaving, all those sorts took only a few days. Anything that requires a lot more creativity and quick timing on my part is a lot more difficult. It took almost a year to teach her to cover her face with her paw! What’s funny to me is that some of her easier tricks are the ones that impress others the most.

      Thanks for your input. I never would have thought of that!

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  4. I’ve been pretty slack with training anything aside from the old standbys (sit, down, stay, etc) and agility stuff, but it’s something I want to do more of. Especially since anytime I mention how smart my dog is people ask me if he knows any tricks, and there really isn’t much to show. I’ve been working on his back up and stand (via the video Susan Garret put on her FB a little while ago). He seems to have decided that he has to bop something with his nose, so if I take my hand away he just pokes me shoulder (or boob. Which maybe I don’t want him doing in public). We’ve just started spin and I’m finally getting results in that.
    I had an epphiany on how to make sure I do those little bits of training throughout the day; I do it right before I feed him, just using his kibble. That way I know he’s going to be in to it and I know I’ll do it at least twice a day. We’ve been doing that for about a week and it’s working really well. I have to stand up to feed him so it takes care of the old “I’d totally be training my dog more if it wasn’t so fun to sit on my ass complaining about how cold and dark out it is” excuse.

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    • That’s a terrific idea! I used to make Shiva perform a trick before she had permission to lay on the furniture, but I haven’t stuck to that rule for a long time. Glad to know I am not the only lazy one out there. 😉

      I love the idea of turning a random behaviour into a trick. It’s all about the words you use as a cue. Maybe you could even turn his bopping your chest into something cute and funny that makes you both look smart.

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      • Like, “find my boobs”? They are pretty small, it might help people who are trying to determine if they’re there. I suppose having a dog jump up and poke them would be way more noticeable than just doing the boring thing like flashing some cleavage ;p

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    • I’ve been attempting this trick off and on but she tends to just keep paddling her feet around thoughtlessly. I don’t think she gets that I am looking for a controlled behaviour. In her defence, I haven’t been very thoughtful in my training either. 😛

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    • LOL. I remember when I first started reading training books. Most actually recommended teaching dogs to bark on cue, that way it’s easier to teach them to stop. At least, in theory. 😛

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  5. I voted ‘walking sideways’ because I think it will be adorable. I would be thrilled to see any of those new tricks though. I was just musing the other day that Australians hibernate in summer and come out to play in winter. We only have a couple weeks more of heat and then it will be easier to work with the dogs again, so Barbie and I will start working on agility related stuff mainly.

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    • So despite the very large difference in our seasons, dog training time is actually the same in Canada as it is in Australia! I look forward to reading about your agility training! I am trying to immerse myself more in the agility world in hopes it will help mentally prepare me for our first trial. Feel braver by osmosis or some such nonsense. I figure it’s worth a shot.

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    • That is a very good point! Thanks for sharing your input! I like that everyone is voting for the easier trick!

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  6. Hi Kristine, we suggested a complete roll. My brother Jetta can do a complete sideways roll. It looks cool. I can do “frog legs” and so can my brother Owen.

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    • That’s cute! Shiva can roll over, but only in one direction. She is a very left-oriented kind of dog.

      Frog legs is such a great idea for a trick! I’d never thought to put that on cue before. Very cool!

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  7. I think crossing her paws would be really cute for her, since she is so dainty looking, so that’s what I voted for, but all tricks are fun to teach! Toby and I are currently working on “Bang” where I make a pretend gun with my hand and shoot him, and he falls down dead. I can get him to drop and lie on his side, but getting him to put his head down flat is tough, cause he peaks back up at me waiting for his treat. 🙂

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    • Ha! Shiva as dainty. I don’t think she’s ever been called that before. You obviously haven’t seen her run head-first into trees or destroy tire jumps. 😉

      “Bang” is cute and can be so tough! It was easy to get her to lay on her side, but not so easy to get her to drop into the position from standing. We called it “die” which sounds harsh, but I wanted to be able to say at parties “Shiva, would you rather vote conservative or would you rather die?” and have her drop to the floor. Since she’s never attended a party we’ve yet to do this. Oh well.

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  8. Have you taught her to cover her eyes with her paws like she is afraid (or in Kol’s case, embarrassed by something his Mama has done)? My friend’s dog does this on a hand signal. It makes cute party trick, someone makes a bad joke, a discreet hand signal and then even the dog is showing how embarrassed she is. It’s adorable!

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  9. I voted shake head as it would be interesting to see how you approach this one, plus it would be cute to incoorperate in conversations. I have thought of this one with Luna but have not put the time into it. She can already speak loud and soft… and carry things… and I am thinking she might never get cross paws as we have tried and she just wants to smack hard, and likes to smack and bark period if she is frustrated. This is why she is so good at speaking and shutting doors, those allow her to do something she loves to do anyway lol. I would love to teach her to really “perch” so I could get her to hop on random objects, and it would be good for her muscles but have not put much work into this either.
    Looking forward to seeing more, maybe I will finally get some video of us doing some of our tricks. She did pretty much master a new one, “roll the ball” and will roll the back back and forth with me… and pretty much has gotten the “balance treat on nose” but is still working on catching it after.
    Tricks are fun!
    Anna
    http://www.akginspiration.com

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  10. So funny – like Donna, Buster and I are also working on “Bang.” Though, I have no desire to turn this into a competition – I’m sure you and Shiva would have it nailed before Buster and I, even though we have a head start!

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  11. I voted for hold something in her mouth, because I’m thinking of the dog on the Travelers commercial, who puts his dog bowl in the dishwasher, mops up spilled milk, and then carries in a bag of groceries. A-dorable!

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