I promised a few posts ago that we would post more on Trick Dog. Last week Luna and I set out to sign off her Novice, Intermediate, and Advanced titles. To some, it may sound like a rush, but I wanted to get hers finished and off the table so I could move onto Ella and Charlie. Not that it means we’re done, because constant training keeps Luna happy and strengthens our bond.
She completed 20 tricks last Saturday to obtain all three titles. Her wave was a little sketchy...but she had also only learned it that same week. There is still one more title she can earn, Performer, but we have to do a video for that. If I’m going that far with it I want to put a whole sketch together. I’m thinking something musically inclined, as we are working on ‘keys’ with Dad’s keyboard.
As I mentioned before, I want to share the Trick Dog journey with you. But to be honest Luna's is towards the end of that path, so we’ll be focusing more on Charlie and Ella. Not that she won’t still make an appearance now and then, because, well, it’s Luna.
So how do you get started in Trick Dog? A good starting place would be to find a local AKC obedience club. If you don’t have one available or you want to go it alone start by picking up Kyra Sundance’s 101 Dog Tricks. I recommend everyone, whether or not you are interested in Trick Dog, to complete a basic training program. This should include getting your Canine Good Citizen (CGC). Depending on the program you choose and how much training you have done on your own this may take more than one complete class.
Any training improves your dog's relationship with you and the people they come in contact with. However, a group setting helps them learn how to ‘work’ with other dogs and people. There are distractions, unforeseen circumstances, and teaches you how to anticipate your dog’s reaction during those events. A program that incorporates the CGC will help you lay the foundation for an excellent dog and handler bond.
Once you have obtained your CGC completing the Novice Trick Dog title should be a breeze. For Novice your dog needs to complete ten tricks total, and a CGC counts as five. During each level you can also do two handler’s choice tricks, which are any trick you have taught your dog that is not listed. However, as these cannot be repeated I do not recommend using them during Novice.
You can review the full list of Novice tricks here. Most handlers find their dogs can complete five for an evaluator with little effort. I’ll outline a few of the easiest, along with tricks taught in several classes.
If you are interested in tricks at all, your dog may already know these five:
Obedience Tricks, for dogs that have completed their CGC. These should have been taught in your classes:
Agility Tricks, for those dogs in the sport, or interested in getting involved:
Lastly, these three are tricks I think are super easy to learn. All three of my dogs have, or will perform them during their Novice titles:
And that’s how easy Novice can be! Even if you don’t have a CGC your dog can probably complete ten of those tricks. Now the real challenge is if they can do all 20 on the Novice list!
Lisa (and Luna)