fun dog tricks

More fun stuff! set to great music too!

for the love of dog.

This was the first trick video Malika and I did back in 2011. We are working on some more tricks and I hope to do some more videos in the near future. She is trained entirely using positive reinforcement and clicker training. Enjoy!

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Safety Before Socialization

Nice work

Z-dogs Blog

Okay. Wish me luck. I’m attempting something usually impossible for me: a post in less than an hour. Lucky for me, a get to piggyback most of my thoughts on this excellent article by Laura VanArendonk Baugh called “Don’t Socialize the Dog!”

So, yeah, what she said. 🙂 Laura is simply awesome. Go ahead and be sure to read the article and come back. I’ll be right here.

Okay. I work with a lot of problem dogs. During my initial evaluations at people’s homes, I meet dogs that typically spend the majority of their first few minutes in my presence either frantically jumping on me, barking their heads off, even trying to bite me. Inevitably their often embarrassed and exasperated owners will apologetically say something along the lines of: “I’m sure he was abused”…or “I don’t think he was socialized  very well.” The good news is that the greater…

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Capturing and Free-Shaping with a Clicker

I like the capture method too because it really gets the dog thinking


In my post “Getting Started with a Clicker” (September 2, 2013)  I covered charging the clicker and luring a behavior.  You should read that before continuing if you haven’t yet.


If you are not able to lure the dog into the position you want, you can also capture it and click and reward.  For example, some dogs are difficult to lure into the down position.  I find this to be true of a lot of small dogs in particular.  Lying down is a natural position and dogs do it all the time.  If you want to put it on cue you can start by clicking and rewarding when they are lying down – in other words capture it.

Here is a video showing capturing the down by Mindy Cox, B.S.,CPDT-KA (Lucky Dog Sports Club) and Decker the Border Collie.


Another method of teaching a behavior is free-shaping which is really all…

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Two Points for Tesla! (Make a Basket training summary and lessons learned.)

Tricks; So much more than give paw and roll over

Tesla's Training

While I don’t think she’s ready for the pros just yet, Tesla has shown herself to be a persistent basket shooter!

Overall we trained short sessions once or twice a day (approximately 18-20 total mini-sessions totaling 30-40 minutes). We also had 6 longer sessions of 6-8 minutes each. I tried to keep the sessions short because Tesla seemed to be enjoying herself and I didn’t want to stress her too much. Total training time:  approx. 1 h over 12 days

We trained this behavior slowly, building upon a skill she already knew: bring me an object and put it in my hand. I started requesting that she bring me the “basketball” and place it in my hand right away. In contrast to “Ring Toss” I didn’t spend any time rewarding her for simply interacting with the basket or ball. This came out of the “Lessons Learned” from the…

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The Animal is Always Right…or, Why I Love Clicker Training

Love it!

Z-dogs Blog


At a seminar Bob Bailey once asked me to publicly defend my stated preference for free shaping for most training tasks seeing that it often takes longer, especially at first with a novice dog, and (as he said) you always run the risk of “junk” behaviors getting reinforced accidentally if the clicks are not accurate (which does happen in this video)… Well, here’s my answer: it isn’t that clicker training is superior to other methods. It just has a different goal. There are many highly effective, as well as perfectly humane (as well as highly inhumane) ways to get a dog to do a behavior, but teach a dog to *think*, and now you have a lifelong learning partner, fully able to fast-map training tasks in an extraordinarily efficient and joyous way.

Here in this “love poem” to clicker training, our two Z-dogs, Zydeco and Zoë, show us…

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