Tricks, teaching an old dog new tricks.

I have a wonderful new Tricks class. Young dogs, like sponges, and owners that want to practice and learn and help their dogs to learn all they can.
Preparing for the Tricks class, I thought back to when my dogs were puppies, how much fun it was! So much to teach and willing puppies to try anything for a click and a treat.
But, my dogs are older, we’ve settled into what we do — Agility, NoseWork, Treibball, Obedience. When was the last time I taught my dogs a new trick? It’s been a while.
So, I took out the clicker and some treats. What to Shape?
I started with a couple of things I’d been needing to work on. Backing up. I had taught Tipper to back up until his back foot touched a cushion. I did this with B.H. & Frankie.
What fun! I realized as we played (and it does seem so much more like play than work) that not only was I having fun – But so were my dogs. Wow. Their eyes were sparkling, they started out offering every move they could think of. I had to stay alert. And I had to remind myself, like I remind my students: to be a splitter and not a lumper.  We went on to shaping a chin down on the floor.  I’m already looking forward to our next Clicker session with my 4 yr. old and 11 yr. old
When I was in the Karen Pryor Academy, I had an eleven yr. old dog. Alfie, a rescue, had not had much training. No clicker training. She was nearly deaf… But, she could hear the Clicker. She was so excited when I started playing Click & Treat. She bounced around like a 3 yr. old. She was having a ball. Yes, you can teach an old dog a new trick!
So, my question to you: When was the last time you taught your old dog a new trick with a C/T?
If it has been awhile — try it. Have fun. Your dog will!

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