Mastering Manners and Basic Commands

Love Dog

 

In This Chapter

  • Communicating to your Pom
  • Figuring out your Pom’s communication system
  • Motivating your pup to achieve
  • Training the basic commands
  • Adding some tricks to the repertoire
Nobody likes a brat. Sure, the brat’s parents may think she’s just so cute, but everybody else — humans and canines — run at the sight of her. You don’t do your Pom any favors by letting her become the brat everybody avoids, and trust me, even a small dog can be a huge annoyance!
Fortunately, she doesn’t need to be a scholar to become polite. A little home schooling, perhaps a short stint at a finishing school, and she’s ready to hold her own in any social gathering.
But before you can train your Pomeranian, you’ll need to speak her language as much as she’ll need to speak yours. What you don’t want here is a failure to communicate.

Talking to Your Pom

Most people use such a mishmash of signals, it’s a wonder their dogs haven’t attacked them in their sleep just for being so confusing. The fact that dogs still manage to figure those signals out is a testament to their patience and intelligence. But why not make it easy on your dog?

Communicating with body language

The problem with communicating with your dog through body language is that what seems right in people culture is often wrong in dog culture. So follow these guidelines:

Don’t stare at your dog. Dogs consider an unwavering direct stare to be a threat. It can cause a dog that’s on the verge of biting to attack in protest or, more often, in self defense. Staring also can frighten a dog so she runs away or pees on herself. Rather than staring, look off to the side a bit.

Protect your Pom from strangers quickly approaching her. When strange dogs meet each other, they sidle up sideways in a circular motion to check each other out. Dogs that don’t display this approach send the message that they just may attack. In the same way, dogs consider humans who stride right up to be pushy and threatening. The dog may bite in self defense, try to get away, or sink to the ground. If your dog appears fearful, amble up and stop with your side facing her.

When other people pet your Pom, have them scratch her under the chin. Dogs consider a pat on the head or back to be a sign of dominance. (A dominant dog would do this to a submissive one.) So if your dog is already overly submissive, try scratching her under her chin instead. It feels better to her, too.

Remember

If you want your dog to come, turn your back to her and call her as you walk away. Conversely, to stop her in her tracks, you can turn toward her, make yourself look big, and take a step or two toward her. Dogs consider somebody coming toward them to be a signal to walk in the same direction and stay out of the way. (A dominant wolf leads the pack this way.)People tend to call dogs by facing them — and then wonder why the dog trots away! She’s not being obstinate; in fact, she’s being a perfect follower by wolf pack rules.

Avoid hugging your dog. The closest dogs come to hugging is when they hump each other in play, and then the humpee generally isn’t too thrilled. So when you hug your dog to make her feel more secure, she sees it as a sign of dominance and will likely try to squirm loose.

Speaking up: Using verbal skills correctly

Of course you also talk to your dog with words. If you’re like most Pom owners, you babble an endless stream of words throughout the day, and your Pom cocks his head knowingly. And even though he seems to hang on to every one of your profound words, you can be sure he’s actually trying to detect a magically important word — like walk or eat — among the drivel.

Remember

Just as you need to be careful when you’re talking to people, heed your speech when you’re talking to your dog. Your dog pays attention to the volume, tone, and cadence of your voice in addition to the words themselves. Keep the following points in mind to maximize your verbal effectiveness:

Pick one word for a command and stick with it. For example, if you want your Pom to come when called, don’t use here, come, come on, over here, here girl, and get your butt over here right now before I come and get you! Pick one command (preferably not that last one), and use it consistently.

Pick unique command words. Make sure the words you choose for one command don’t resemble other commands or your dog’s name. For example, if your dog’s name is Sid, you may find that “Sit” isn’t a good command cue. In such cases, many people simply train their dogs to commands in a foreign language — and showing off your bilingual dog is a lot of fun, too!

Be consistent with the sound as well as the word choice of each cue. Dogs hear your cues as sounds, not as words that have one meaning no matter how you say them.

Teach your dog commands in a normal voice. Your Pom’s hearing is far more sensitive than yours. If he doesn’t respond to you, shouting at him won’t help unless he happens to be half a mile away. In fact, shouting may intimidate him.

Use a low-pitched voice to warn or scold your dog. In almost every species, low-pitched sounds indicate power, aggression, and leadership; they’re often used as threats. They make the recipient take notice. If your dog is getting ready to run into the road or do something wrong, lower your voice into your best gruff command mode, and say “STOP!”

Use a high-pitched voice to encourage your Pom to play. High-pitched sounds make the recipient feel playful or dominant. People naturally speak to dogs, especially puppies, in the same high-pitched voice that parents around the world use with their babies. This baby talk tends to encourage both babies and dogs to interact and play.

Because the tone is nonthreatening, it’s also easy to ignore (imagine a drill sergeant calling out commands in high-pitched baby talk!). When you want your dog to stop, don’t use baby talk.

Mind the cadence of your words. People naturally change their speech rhythm to communicate the response they want. By becoming conscious of it, you can use your cadence to influence your dog’s actions. Here are some examples:

  • Long, drawn-out, monotone speech tends to slow or calm a dog.
  • Abrupt, low-pitched commands tend to stop a dog.
  • A series of repeated, short, high-pitched sounds that continue to rise in pitch tend to speed up a dog.

For example, if you want your dog to come running, you call, “Go, go, go, go, go, GO!” with short, high-pitched sounds. After he gets to you and starts to jump on you, you can say, “Ahght! No!” in a low-pitched voice. Then to calm him down, you say, “Eaaaasy, doooown” in a slow, monotone voice. Adjusting your tone and cadence adds meaning to your words.

Understanding Your Pom

It’s not fair to expect your Pom to be the only one to learn a new language. She’s also using body language and verbal language to communicate to you. And because she can’t exactly dictate it or tap it out on the keyboard, you’re duty bound as the supposedly smarter member of the team to learn what’s she’s saying.

Reading your Pom’s body language

Take the time to watch your dog as well as other dogs; you’ll discover they’re speaking volumes with their body language and facial expressions.
Putting all the clues together takes a little practice, but as you get to know your Pom and her reactions, reading her body language will become second nature. Of course, you have to listen to her, too. But more on listening later in this chapter. For now, just watch.
Notice how she moves and stands around other dogs. See Table 14-1 for a variety of these movements and their meanings.

Table 14-1

Pom Body Language

Movement
Meaning
Leans forward
Confidence and interest
Leans forward and stands stiff-legged
Dominance or aggressive intention
Leans backwards
Fear or submission
Crouches or lowers head
Fear, anxiety, or submission
Lowers and twists head to the side, especially while crouching
Submission
Lowers front end only so elbows touch the ground and butt is in the air
Playfulness
Rolls on back
Possibly extreme submission or fear, depending on circumstances
Rolls around on back
Having a good time!
Places paw or head on another dog’s back
Dominance
Slams another dog with shoulder or hip
Playful dominance
Turns head away
Submission or call for a truce
Holds head high
Possibly issuing a challenge to another dog; turn him away before he gets himself into trouble!

Translating Pom talk

Dogs do more than bark. They whine, growl, pant, hum, and howl. And all those sounds mean something different! Many new dog owners are alarmed when they hear their cute little Pomeranian growl like a saber-toothed tiger. But growling is a natural part of her vocabulary, and not all growls are created equal. The next time your Pom starts to bark or growl, don’t shush her — at least not right away. Take the time to understand what she’s saying. Table 14-2 translates a few common Pom sounds.

Table 14-2

Pom Sounds and Their Interpretations

Sound
Meaning
A single short bark or yip
A demand (feed me, walk me, play with me, or do what I want!)
A single low-pitched bark
A warning to stay away
Repeated quick barks
An intruder alert
Repeated yips
Excitement
A single soft bark
An invitation to play or a first uncertain warning
A low-pitched growl
A warning for a subordinate to go away; fine
if it’s directed at another dog but not if it’s directed at you
A low-pitched growl with some yips mixed in
Probably a threat to an equal to stay away; not appropriate if it’s directed at you
A high-pitched and undulating growl
Fear or uncertainty
Frequently repeated short, high-pitched growls
A playful growl

Tip

A repeated rough-sounding exhalation while playing is really the canine equivalent of laughter — don’t mistake it for a growl!

Providing the Motivation for Training and Tricks

Want to know what makes your dog tick? In truth, it’s not all that different from what motivates you. Learning for canines and humans is about cause and effect.
Although you really can teach an old dog new tricks, it’s even easier to teach a new dog old tricks. Puppies can learn simple things like “come” at just a few weeks of age and “sit” by 7 weeks or so. The earlier your puppy learns to learn, the easier it will be to train him throughout his life.

Rewarding with treats

When you do something that pays off, you try to do it again to get that same payoff. That payoff may be money, a chance to relax, a good meal, or any number of rewards. The payoff works the same way for your dog, except that it’s likely to be a tasty treat, a chance to play, or — to a lesser extent — praise from you.

Training isn’t wasted on the young

Young puppies are ready to accept the rules of their new world, and if those rules include doing a trick or two in exchange for a treat, that seems normal to them. Some research indicates that dogs are more receptive to reward-based training when they’re puppies than at any other time in their lives.
In terms of learning ability, an 8-week-old puppy’s behavior and brainwaves function at nearly adult levels. In fact, a puppy’s ability to learn actually decreases slightly beyond the age of 16 weeks. This means that if you wait until your pup is older for his first lessons, he’s more likely to be confused and intimidated by this bizarre new game you’ve devised.
You don’t have to teach him to count, but a simple trick or command can get the idea of a trick for a treat across. Tricks learned at this young age tend to stick with a dog through life, though, so make that trick a handy one!
Are treats really a good idea? Maybe your dog should mind you simply for a kind word and a scratch under the chin. True, kind words and scratches help, but would you go to work every day if that was all you got? How long would you stay at a job if you got a gold star and a pat on the back but no paycheck? Dogs are materialistic, too.
If you need more convincing, consider the dogs and other animals that do all those amazing feats in movies, circuses, and other performances. They’re exchanging tricks for treats.

Tip

For most dogs, the way to their brains is through their stomachs. But some dogs also consider the chance to chase a ball or play tug equally rewarding. Dogs place different values on different rewards, and they know what their work is worth. For example:

– They may consider a piece of kibble fair pay for a few feet of walking on a leash but not for a whole string of tricks.

– Your dog expects a bigger reward for doing something she doesn’t enjoy compared to the payment for something she does enjoy.

– If your dog’s behavior is slacking, maybe she doesn’t approve of the pay structure. Don’t be stingy when it comes to rewards!

The old school of dog training warned that if you started training your dog with treats, you’d have to give your dog treats forever or he wouldn’t cooperate. They had a good point. Nobody likes a pay cut — and most dogs consider going from treats to praise to be a serious cut in pay.

Remember

When you substitute praise for tangible rewards, the dog either quits work or figures he’s doing something wrong. Result? He tries to come up with some different way of doing what you’ve asked. You start to think he’s bored, stubborn, or stupid, but really, he’s disappointed and confused. Keep these guidelines in mind for managing your pup’s rewards:

– Avoid spending the rest of your life as a walking treat dispenser by giving treats sometimes but giving praise all the time. So you either give praise and then treat or give praise alone.

– The way you choose to schedule rewards can have important implications for your dog’s learning. Just like people, a Pom’s performance depends on whether she’s paid by the hour or the job. You want her to work by the job!

Tip

When you first teach her a trick, reward her every time she does it right. But after she knows it, cut back gradually, rewarding her only some of the time but still praising every time.

Like a slot machine, pay off at random times so she’s always wondering whether the next time will be the jackpot. And in fact, you can add special jackpot rewards to really keep her working.

– If you train your dog before her regular meal time, she works much better for food. In fact, you can simply dole out her dinner bit by bit as rewards during training sessions. If you’re in a hurry, just train for a few minutes, give a few rewards, and then give a jackpot of her entire meal.

Clicking to show your praise

Hang around a group of successful dog trainers in action and you’ll start wondering what all these clicking sounds are about. They’re using clicker training, which works very well with most animals, including dogs.
A click is merely a signal that tells your Pom he’s doing something right. Why not just say “Good dog”? Because your dog can tune out much of what you say, but he’s more likely to notice a distinctive signal. In addition,

– By following the click sound with a reward, your dog quickly learns that the click means “Yes, that’s it!”

– Because the click is faster and shorter than your voice, it can more precisely mark the moment your dog is doing something right.

Remember

– The click tells the dog that he can end the behavior — so don’t expect him to continue after you click.

– After he understands how to do something, you can phase out the click but not the praise and rewards.

You can buy an inexpensive clicker device from any pet supply store or use anything that makes a distinctive click sound. You can even make a cluck sound with your mouth — just make sure you don’t use the same sound in situations other than training.
To train with a clicker, follow these steps:

1. Have lots of tiny treats on hand.

2. Begin clicking and then give your dog a treat so she learns that a click means a treat is coming.

Repeat this step (at least 20 times) until she looks at your treat hand expectantly after she hears the click.

3. Give a click instantly when your dog does what you want.

The faster you click, the easier it is for her to figure out what you like.

4. Give a reward as soon as you can after the click.

5. Always praise and pet your Pom as part of the reward!

Remember

No dog performs perfectly at first. You have to gradually teach her, shaping her behavior closer and closer to your expectations.

Schooling Your Pom in Manners and Obedience

When your puppy realizes that his actions are related to treats, you have a good foundation for further training. And if you have plans to enter your Pom in competitions involving obedience, agility, or even tracking, this is the best time to introduce him to some of those behaviors.

Remember

New training methods focus on rewards and positive associations. They produce happy, well-trained dogs that are eager to learn more.

With the positive methods I outline here, you just use a buckle collar (you don’t tug on it), a 6-foot leash (not chain!), and maybe a 20-foot light line.

Tip

To get started on the right foot (or feet, as the case may be), keep the following suggestions in mind:

Train in a quiet place away from distractions. You can gradually start practicing in other places after your dog has learned a skill very well.

If your dog is tired, hot, or has just eaten, hold off on the training. You want her peppy and hungry for your fun and treats.

If you’re impatient or angry, wait until you’re in a better mood. You won’t be able to hide your frustration, and your dog will be uneasy.

Keep your training sessions very short. Dogs learn best in 10- to 15-minute sessions. Quit while she’s still having fun and performing well. You can train her several times a day if you want.

Remember

If you plan to clicker train (see the previous section), introduce it in your first training sessions.

Of course, most Poms have the important job of being an owner’s best friend. For this responsibility, he needs to know some basic obedience, some house rules, and even the best ways to play and cuddle.

Sitting pretty

For a quick trick, teach your pup a simple sit-and-stay. This trick won’t exactly amaze your friends, but at least it’ll be handy.
Forget the old smash-his-rear-down-and-pull-up-on-his-collar technique. Poms have enough knee problems without you putting added stress on them, and nobody likes to be forced. The training’s more effective when you get him to sit on his own. Follow these steps:

1. Place your puppy on a raised surface, or sit on the floor with him, with one hand behind his butt to prevent him from backing up.

Otherwise he’s too likely to spend all his time trying to jump up on you.

2. Hold a treat just above and behind his nose, right above his eyes, so he has to bend his hind legs to look up at it. Click and reward.

3. Repeat Step 2 several times.

4. Begin moving the treat farther back each time so he has to bend his legs more and eventually has to sit.

Don’t shove his rear to the ground! Just wait and demand that he go a little farther down each time before he gets the treat. Eventually he’ll automatically sit when he sees you move the treat back.

5. Start saying “Sit” right before you show him the treat; only give him the treat when he sits after you say “Sit.”

If you give the treat if he sits without the cue word, he’ll just sit whenever he feels like it, not when you ask him. Say his name before the cue word to alert him that the next word is directed at him.

6. Gradually fade out luring with the treat so you use just your empty hand and eventually just your command.

Be sure to continue rewarding him afterward, though.

He’s probably wondering how he can con you out of more treats. Fortunately, you know plenty of ways, starting with standard obedience commands.

Staying put

What’s the use of teaching your dog to sit if she jumps back up like the floor is electrified? By teaching a separate stay command, you can convince her to stay in any position, whether she’s sitting, lying down, or standing up.

Remember

Because staying is essentially asking her to do nothing, you teach it a different way than you teach sit and most other commands:

You introduce the cue word “Stay” immediately. Otherwise how does she know the difference between a sit, where you forgot to reward her, and this new behavior?

You don’t use a clicker (see the earlier section “Clicking to show your praise). Staying is an imprecise behavior that relies on duration, not action. Because the clicker normally signals the end of the behavior, the dog assumes she is free to get up for her reward . . . hello! I said “Stay.”

So you teach stay the old-fashioned way:

1. Say “Stay” to your sitting dog and hold your palm in a stop signal in front of his face for a few seconds.

2. Reward him and say “Okay!” (the release signal that says he’s free to move about the cabin).

If your dog isn’t getting the concept, have him sit on a raised surface or behind a small barrier so it’s more difficult for him to come to you.

3. Work up gradually to a longer duration of the stay.

If he gets up, simply put him back in position and start over, decreasing the duration you expect of him.

4. Move to different positions around your dog (in front of, to either side, and behind), still remaining close. Repeat Steps 2 and 3.

5. Move farther away from him. Repeat Steps 2 and 3.

Give a reward, then use a release word like “Okay!” to tell him he can get up.

Lying down on the job

Having a dog that lies down quietly is a big help when you want her to stay in the room and impress your guests, or when you take her to an outdoor café that allows dogs, or anytime you need her to stay in place and out of the way.
Instead of trying to push her down to the floor until she gives up struggling (good grief!), try this kinder, gentler way:

1. Have her sit on a raised surface. Show her a treat and move it toward the ground (see Figure 14-1).

You may need to gently place your other hand on her shoulders to prevent her from popping up.

2. As soon as she lowers her front legs, click (see the section “Clicking to show your praise”) and reward her.

3. Repeat Step 2, clicking and rewarding for going farther down until her elbows touch the surface she’s sitting on.

4. Repeat Step 1 but without a treat in the hand you’ve been using to lure her. Gradually abbreviate your hand movements until you’re only using a small hand signal.

Figure 14-1: Luring a dog into a down.

5. Add the verbal cue “Down” right before the hand signal.

6. Practice the down-stay just as you did the sit-stay (see the two previous sections for these commands).

Coming when called

If your Pom learns only one command, it should be to come when called, and the best time to teach him is when he’s still a puppy. No doubt he already has a good idea of the command. After all, he probably comes scampering when you call him to eat or do something else he thinks is fun.
You can use this same command to make sure he comes running every time you call. A great way to teach the command is with the help of a friend and a long hallway or other enclosed area. Here’s how:

1. Have your friend hold your dog while you back away, enticing your dog with a treat or toy.

2. When the dog pulls to get to you, the helper releases him so he can run to you.

You can even turn and run away to increase your pup’s enthusiasm.

3. The moment he reaches you, click (see the section “Clicking to show your praise”) and then give him the treat or toy.

4. Gradually require him to let you catch him before giving him the reward.

Some dogs come but then dance just out of your reach while you gradually turn purple with frustration.

5. Eventually add the cue “Come!” just before your helper releases him. Practice this several times for many sessions.

6. Let him meander around on his own after he’s learned to come on cue. Call “Come!” and reward him as before.

If he doesn’t come, try attaching a long, light line to him to give him a hint.

7. Practice in lots of different places, gradually choosing places with more distractions.

Remember

Always keep him on a long, light line for his safety. Always make coming to you rewarding. If you want your dog to come so you can give her a bath or put her to bed or do anything else she isn’t keen about, go get her instead of calling her. If you do call her, make sure you give her a good reward before moving on to the part she doesn’t like. Never call her to you to punish her. She’s not stupid and will quickly learn to go the other way! 

Walking the floor

Your Pom was born with feet for a reason — so he can walk on them and not be carried in your arms all the time. But many Pom owners think those four appendages are some evolutionary vestiges of extraneous structures, so they insist on carrying their dogs everywhere. My advice: Don’t do it. Your Pom needs to know how to walk like a dog.
But getting your Pom to walk with you — without pulling or twirling, or weaving between your feet, prancing in front of you, and tripping you — doesn’t come naturally. You’d like him to walk politely by your side — in other words, to heel.
The heel position is the best place to keep your Pom out of the way when walking with you. Heel position is on your left side, next to you but not crowding you, with his neck about even with your leg. If you plan to attend obedience classes or even trials, heeling will play a big part in your Pom’s overall performance.
Like the other commands you want your pup to learn, heeling is most easily mastered when you take deliberate but gradual steps.

From collar to leash

Leash training is the first step toward heeling and often the pup’s introduction to formal training. To begin, place a simple buckle collar around her neck, tight enough so that she can’t get her bottom jaw around it, but loose enough so that you can get a finger or two between it and her neck. (It may feel funny to your pup at first, so she may scratch or bite at it.) As soon as she stops fidgeting with it, give her a treat. Then lure her so she gets used to walking with you, still off the leash. Soon — and how long will vary from one minute to one week — she’ll ignore the collar and walk with you around the house or yard as you dole out treats. At this point you can attach the leash.

Tip

If she decides somewhere along the way that she’s supposed to object to this leash, she may freeze, flip over, or just lie down. Unfortunately, many traditional trainers believe you should drag the dog along as you walk, but that’s not good. Instead, pick your pup up, change directions, and encourage her to walk again, step by step. Take a walk to the kitchen and hand out a jackpot reward. Then take her back and do it again. End the session while she still wants more.

From leash to short walks

Start practicing walking on a leash in your yard or house. Only when she’s reliable here should you set your goals on short walks out in the real world.
Your Pom will find everything fascinating on these first walks. In fact, she may become so excited that she leaps at the end of the leash, twirling and voicing her frustration that her human anchor is preventing her from going where she pleases. You can put a stop to this by doing the following:

1. Stand in place when she starts to tug.

2. Click (see the section “Clicking to show your praise”) and reward her when she lets the leash go slack.

3. Repeat Steps 1 and 2, stopping, standing, and waiting until she stops pulling as soon as you stop walking.

4. Walk toward something that she wants to get to, such as a tree.

5. Stand in place if she pulls. When she stops pulling, go toward the goal again.

Reaching the goal is her eventual reward, but the only way she can reach it is to stop pulling!

Pom-sized training

Training a little dog to heel has a couple of special challenges:

Problem: Because the leash is so far above the dog, he can arc out in many directions so you have very little control over his exact position.

Solution: Try stringing the leash through a section of PVC pipe. The pipe should reach from your left hand to just above your dog’s collar. Now he has very little slack in which to maneuver, and you can control his position precisely. Train him by guiding him into place, then clicking and rewarding him. Gradually guide him less, only rewarding when he assumes heel position on his own. When he consistently heels, add the cue word, “Heel!”

Problem: Getting a treat to him in a timely manner may be difficult especially if you plan to use treats to lure him into heel position. Not everybody can bend to give a treat time after time, and you don’t want to throw treats on the floor because that teaches him to sniff the floor in search of food all the time.

Solution: One solution is to attach a spoon or paper plate to the end of a stick. Slather peanut butter or squeeze cheese on the spoon or plate. Train him by holding the spoon or plate in front of him until you’ve lured him into heel position. Let him take a lick only when he is in that position. Eventually hold the target only in the heel position so he has to come to position on his own to get the reward. Add the cue, “Heel!” Gradually raise the stick so it isn’t always there, but lower it after he’s in position. Your goal is to fade the stick away altogether.

Remember

You probably can’t handle the PVC leash guide and the treat stick at the same time, so you may have just figure out which works best for you.

No matter which way you choose to train, make staying in heel position a game by running and turning, clicking, and rewarding when she is able to stick to your side. Just be careful not to trip over her!

Warning!

Even though your Pom should know how to walk on her own four feet in public, it’s not always the best idea. If you’re in a crowd, or some place where other dogs could reach her, carry her in your arms or put her in a carrying bag for her protection.

Teaching Your Pom a Bagful of Tricks

Knowing how to sit, lie down, come, heel, and stay on command are vital lessons for your Pom to learn. But they’re not exactly going to astound anyone. Besides, if you’ve taught your dog using rewards, she’s probably itching to learn more. And that’s when a few dog tricks come in handy!
The number of tricks you teach is limited only by your imagination and your dog’s physical abilities. But you can start with some standard favorites such as shake hands, roll over, and spin in a circle, and then see where you go from there.

What a greeting! Shaking hands

Every well-bred Pomeranian knows how to greet guests at formal affairs by offering her paw. Here’s how to teach yours:

1. Have her sit facing you.

2. Reach for her right paw with your right hand.

3. Praise and reward her if she gives you her paw naturally.

4. Add the cue words “How do you do?” or some such phrase. Give her your hand and reward her only when she shakes on cue.

If she doesn’t offer her paw, have her sit facing you and then do the following:

1. Use a treat to lure her head way to the left so she’s almost looking over her shoulder.

This step makes her right paw lift.

2. Praise and reward her as soon as her paw goes up.

3. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 until she lifts her paw when the lure is close to her head and eventually at only the sight of the treat.

4. Add the cue words “How do you do?” or some such phrase. Give her your hand and reward her only when she shakes on cue.

Stop, drop, and roll, dog-style

No dog trick repertoire is complete without rolling over. Fortunately, it’s easy to teach.

1. Have your Pom lie down beside you.

2. Show him a treat and move it over his back so he has to twist his head over his shoulder to see it. Give him the treat.

3. Have him twist a little more in order to get the next treat.

4. Keep on expecting him to twist more and more until he eventually ends up rolling onto his side.

You can help a bit at this point with a gentle nudge to keep him going until he’s on his back.

5. Keep moving the treat to the opposite side so he has to finish the roll and end up back on his stomach before getting the treat.

6. Add the cue “Roll over!” when he can do a complete roll easily.

Tip

Only reward him for rolling over on cue. You can keep on adding roll after roll. Just don’t get him too dizzy!

Speaking when called upon

Teach a dog to bark? Is somebody insane? Don’t dogs bark enough on their own? Yes, but consider the logic: When your dog learns to bark on cue, he also learns that barking on his own isn’t very rewarding. Follow these steps to teach your Pom to speak:

1. Figure out what makes him bark.

The best situation is if he barks at you for a treat.

2. Click and reward him when he barks.

3. Introduce the cue word “Speak!” quickly for this trick.

You don’t want to reward him for speaking out of turn!

by D.Caroline Coile,Ph.D.

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