Written by Melissa Viera
For this trick you will need a push light which your dog will be learning to turn on and off by pressing it with their paws. Follow the steps below, and your dog will be turning the lights on in no time!
1.) If your dog does not yet offer their paw start out by teaching them how to use their paws. Place a treat in your closed hand or under a container and encourage your dog to "get it". As your dog is figuring out a way to get to the treat watch for any paw movement. When they use their paws mark and release the treat.
Please note: When teaching your dog to use their paws it is important to add a cue to the behaviors quickly, and to teach your dog that they will only get rewarded for pawing when cued to do so. This will prevent unwanted pawing to get attention. Only reward your dog for offering their paws gently, and never reward raking.
2.) Place the push light on the floor and show your dog as you put a treat under it. Again encourage your dog to go for the treat while holding the light steady. When either one of their paws makes contact with the light, even if it does not turn on, mark and uncover the treat. As you progress reward for controlled paw taps to the light and look for more pressure so the light turns on and off.
3.) When your dog has the hang of it you can stop putting the treat under the light, so your dog learns to turn the light on and off with a cue, and not just when they see a treat go under. Continue rewarding your dog for pushing the light.
4. You can have fun with this trick and make it even more challenging once your dog has the first steps down. Try putting the light in different locations, and at different heights. You can even put the light in one room with your dog in another room, and cue your dog to run to the light to turn it on.