Tricks To Teach Your Dog for Mental Exercise
My Rescue Pug Kilo has a pattern. He gets up quite late (he sleeps happily in his crate). We go for a quick walk but then he wants to rush back for breakfast. I have various ways to slow him down to stop him from gobbling his food in seconds including puzzles, raised bowls, adding banana and yogurt so he licks the bowl and spreading the kibble around. After breakfast, he goes crazy for 10+ minutes chasing toys, running, jumping and doing tricks with me, then he relaxes for 2 hours. This cycle repeats approximately every 2 or 3 hours. He badgers me to play, leaves unwanted surprises and becomes very destructive if I do not respect his needs, so much better to be prepared.
We have been have a great time working with Dog Trainer Sara Carson online over the last couple of weeks, teaching Kilo Dog Tricks for mental and physical stimulation. We are also working our way through a great dog training book: 51 Puppy Tricks by Kyra Sundance and Jadie and have even added a few fun activities of our own. Kilo still needs to be lured with food rewards except to sit and is not great on basic Obedience Training or “bring”. He is totally obsessed with food and loves attention and we use only reward based training methods. He usually tries very hard to please, as long as he gets paid and there are no big distractions. He loves me to play, tug and chase, and he does not like giving up anything. He hates roll over and gets nasty if you touch under his front leg to try to lure or push him as I suspect someone may have tried to intimidate or punish him by rolling him on his back. He is on the #naughtylist this week for multiple cases of theft (sandwich, cheese, socks, pens).
He has finally mastered tricks that have been a challenge for him such as “lie down” and “crawl” (although he still pops his butt up for crawl unless I lure him under my leg). He is starting to get the figure 8 weave through my legs and will unwrap a yoga mat, close a cupboard, touch, jump, dance, walk on 2 legs and more. He will even jump up on his Rocking Horse and ride it briefly (he had a stand off when he first saw it, as he seemed to think it was a dog, but some sniffing and treats, and he was all over it)
One simple but impressive trick we are still having some trouble with is “sit pretty”. We work on it daily and his balance and lower body strength seem to get better each week. Today he actually managed to stay sitting up without any help for a few seconds on the couch.
I was wondering if anybody has any tips for this trick? Slim Doggy? Any strengthening or balance exercises that might help. I’ve seen many dogs do this trick but I have never seen a pug do it. In fact, I haven’t seen many pugs doing tricks at all.
I am hoping that in the new year, we can sign up for some obedience training for dogs and other live dog training classes. We have a great group of trainers in Ontario and some cool tips I am using in our Dog Training Tuesday section of the site.