It’s Halloween and many of us have carved our pumpkins and are dressing up ready for some trick or treating. But what about your pooch?
It’s a well-known fact that dogs love being taught new tricks and they’re even more partial to a treat as a reward! So, why not use this dark evening to try teaching your dog a few Halloween-themed tricks? And pet food suppliers Arden Grange – with a bit of help from stunt-dog training expert Gill Raddings – have compiled a few for you to try.
You may think teaching your dog tricks is a bit gimmicky, but it’s a great way to play with them and build a strong bond – plus you can use it to impress your friends and family. So get your training treats at the ready and have a go at these four ghoulish tricks!
I’ve seen a ghost (hide your eyes)
With your dog in a sitting position, gently lift one paw with your hand.
Offer your dog a treat as you gently bring the paw above the dog’s nose. Encourage the dog to follow the treat and give plenty of praise.
Bring the paw over the nose and offer the treat from underneath the dog’s paw. Use the command ‘cover’, offer a treat and reward with praise. Practice this trick in short periods, until you no longer need to lift the dog’s paw.
Start with your dog in a ‘down’ position (lying down, tummy on floor) and get your treats ready!
Gently place your hand on your dog’s back to encourage them to keep shoulders and hips down as they move.
Hold a treat in front of their nose to coax dog forward. Use the command ‘crawl’ and move the treat only slightly forward so the dog follows. Keep hand gently placed on their back. Then, praise and reward.
Repeat steps 2 to 3 to build up confidence and strength slowly. Practice until you can remove your hand from the dog’s back. Be patient though as this takes time!
Start with your dog in the ‘down’ position.
Hold a front paw and gently roll dog onto opposite side, while saying the ‘flat’ command. Quickly followed by praise and reward.
Repeat the steps with praise and rewards until your dog rolls over without contact (just the ‘flat’ command and appropriate hand gesture). You can then introduce a ‘stay’ command to keep them in position and refine the pose!
We have taught Poppy to play dead, although we use ‘play dead’ as the command. She’s quite good at it. But because she loves tricks and games so much, her tail is often still wagging!
Thriller (sit up, say please)
Start with your dog in a sitting position. Hold the treat between thumb and middle finger whilst using your index finger to point up (above the dog’s nose), and say ‘sit up’.
Lure with the treat until your dog lifts upper body off the floor. Catch their front paws. Praise, reward and repeat.
As confidence builds, slowly remove your support until the dog can maintain sit up position. Gradually put more distance between the dog and the treat. Take your time though.
Gill Raddings is the founder of Stunt Dogs & Animals who supply specially-trained animals to the film, TV and advertising industry. She’s worked closely with super-premium pet food company Arden Grange for many years and has been a star performer, along with her dogs of course, at Crufts. If you’re looking for treats to help with future dog training, Arden Grange have a selection you could try. These include a Tasty Liver Treat and Crunchy Bites for dogs. They’re naturally hypoallergenic and can be used as a treat or reward for good behaviour. They’re available from many pet stores and online at ardengrange.com.