Swing and Pivot

Today’s trick will help your dog learn body awareness and train their muscles and mind for making tight turns and pivots for obedience, rally-o, or canine freestyle. A lot of you have commented on Yuri’s “flip” into heel and his spunky tight turns. Getting your dog to move with you while in heel position or stationary and to move smoothly all starts with the foundations. With any dog learning advanced heelwork, starting with this foundation is something that I highly recommend.

It might seem easier to skip the foundations, but for a cleaner behavior with less mistakes, the beginning steps are everything.

Training your dog to “swing-in” and “pivot” which are just cues I use for turning in two different ways, all starts with a bucket.

  1. Train your dog paws up onto a bucket or another sturdy object. Keeping their front paws on the bucket in the beginning will help them learn to keep the front paws still and move their back end for pivoting.

  2. Train your dog to move their back feet and make full circles in both directions while the front paws remain on the bucket. This is new work for their muscles so limit the number of reps you do in a row and keep training sessions short.

  3. Train them to glue to your left side for traditional heeling. If you move out of place they move to get to your side while remaining on the bucket.

  4. When they are excellent at the above steps, move on to the ground work.

 Want to see this trick in action? I am having a free training demo on this skill, June 25th at 2:00pm.

Fill Out This Form to Be Enrolled for Free. This demo is for people only to see how we train this skill. Please bring human friends only.

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Go Between

Today’s trick will keep your dog out of the way and safely put in crowded situations. “Go-Between” is when your dog puts herself between your feet so that she has one leg on each side. This keeps her protected and out of the way in places like crowded waiting rooms or waiting ringside at a dog show. Your dog should remain in the position until you give a release cue. I use the word  “break.”

I use the between position as a third position for heeling position. There is right-side heeling, left-side heeling and between heeling. You can taken this behavior to advanced levels if you want to! It can be used both moving and stationary.

Your dog can learn to stand, sit, or lay while in the “between.”

Give it a try and the next time you are at the vet’s office checking in, cue your dog to go-between to keep them out of the way.

This trick will show off what a well-mannered dog you have!

Sit for The Leash

Trick of the day might not seem like much of a trick at all, but it is an important skill that every dog can learn. If you have ever chased your dog around to put the leash on, or had trouble finding where to clip the leash when your excited dog won’t sit still, then this skill is for you!

Train your dog to sit and relax as you attach the leash. Go a step further and practice handling your dog’s collar, ears, and neck while they sit and relax. Teach your dog not to back up when you reach for them to attach the leash, but to default to a sit instead.

It won’t take long to train if you begin practicing right away and if you are consistent.

As always, have fun training your dog!

Please let me know if there is anything I can help you with when it comes to training your dog. Need a Power Training Session? Want to join a group class? Or how about meet for a free eval? I would love to help you.


A Cute Trick That Builds Confidence

How cute would it be if your dog could push a shopping cart?

This trick is not only a crowd pleaser, it also is a great way for dogs to work on balance, body awareness and confidence building.

Using a toy shopping cart, you can train your small dog to push it by standing on their hind legs and walking forward with their two front paws on the cart. The cart might need some modifications so it does not tip, but when dogs get really good with this trick, they learn how to use their bodies to keep the cart from tipping. Dogs are incredible!

I just started training Max to push a shopping cart today as it is trick of the day here at MJ’s Pet Training Academy.

To train your dog this trick follow these steps:

  1. Get your dog comfortable around the cart. Reward them for interacting with it. Roll it, move it, tip it over and make sure your dog will not get startled. Do not move to the next step until your dog in comfortable.

  2. Lay the cart flat on the ground and teach your dog to put their paws on the bar that they will be balancing on when the cart is upright. Let them get used to the feel of the bar under their paws and build a reinforcement history.

  3. Stand the cart upright and put your foot in it or kneel and hold it very tightly. Use shaping or luring to train your dog to put their paws up with the cart upright. The cart should not move at all in the beginning.

  4. Reward your dog for paws up and cue them when to move off of the cart with your release cue. When they have this down (still holding the cart so it does not move) start rewarding correct body positions. They should be leaning forward holding their balance so they can move their hind legs to walk and keep the cart from tipping.

  5. Start rewarding small steps of the hind legs as you guide the cart forward.

  6. Keep working on it and slowly removing the training wheels (you). Make it easy for your dog to be successful and do not overdue training. Use lots of praise!

Have fun!