If you want to improve your skills as a dog trainer, one way to do this is to get plenty of experience training dogs of all shapes and sizes. Since most of us are not in a position to have a house full of dogs of multiple breeds and sizes, a good way for trainers to get experience is to volunteer at the local animal shelter.
Shelters are finding that training can increase a dog’s chances of being rescued. Here’s an easy trick that you can teach a shelter dog. Staff can post a note on the dog’s kennel that says, “If you rescue me, I am ready to pass the CGC test with you. I can also do tricks — I can shake hands and roll over.”
- Start by having the dog sit.
- Kneel in front of him.
- Say, “Shake,” as you take his paw.
- As soon as you take the paw, say, “Good!” and give the dog a treat.
- Repeat this process a few times, then say, “Shake,” and wait to see if the dog lifts his paw on his own. Most dogs will start lifting their paw to shake after a few trials. When the dog does the shake on his own, give him the treat immediately along with enthusiastic praise, “GOOD shake!!”
- If it looks like the dog isn’t getting the hang of lifting his paw to shake, you can very gently push his shoulder. This will push him off balance and he will automatically lift his paw. Take the paw, say, “Good shake!” and give him the reward.