Help! Demo Today...found Out Today...which Tricks???

Discussion in 'Off-Topic & Chit Chat' started by tx_cowgirl, Mar 11, 2011.

  1. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    So, my mom just called me and asked me to do a demo with Mudflap this afternoon. My mom is a teacher, and this would be for 4th grade students. I'm not at all concerned with Mudflap performing, but...

    WHICH TRICKS??? What tricks might be best for kids??? I figured I'd start it out with a wave, and somewhere in there I'd have:

    -Football hiking trick
    -What do boy dogs do? (Ice breaker! :D )
    -Jumping hoops?
    -The basics
    -High-fives

    I'm thinking maybe I'll just demo as many tricks as I can...but specifically, which tricks would kids like best? We have 60-70ish tricks to choose from, so just name something. Wish it was closer to Easter, I'd do her Easter egg hunting trick. ^^

  2. sara Moderator

    I'd still do her easter egg trick... it's close enough, you can say she's been practicing, and cant wait for the easter bunny! I've done a few demo's for Girl Guides (Girl Scouts) with my dogs. They really LOVED the paw tricks, the dances, spins, crawling, and, oddly, the simple back-up. I was doing a series of demos on deaf dogs for Guiding (they were learning about disabilities, they had someone in with seeing eye dog puppies in training and a lady from the Canadian Institute for the Blind), and it was really great as they were split into different groups, so only about 6 kids for each group. So between both Scout and Mouse, I was able to let the kids get some hands on and get my girls to do some tricks for them. They LOVED being able to sign to my girls and the girls did great with them!

    Kids like short and flashy, in my experience.
  3. srdogtrainer Experienced Member

    This is probably too late but I think kids really like canine freestyle tricks too.
  4. reveuse Well-Known Member

    the little ones i babysat for LOVED "bang" and talked about it for a week and a half after (and Ro wasn't even that great at it at the time (i still had my hand right at his nose and he did it from lie down)
  5. srdogtrainer Experienced Member

    Oh yes the classics are always a hit bang, crawl, roll over, limp!
  6. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Okay, been sooooo busy since then.
    It went great; the kids loved her. I, on the other hand, was not the best speaker. So shy. :notworthy: Nonetheless, the school wants me to come back and do a demo for the whole elementary school. Whoop!!!

    Thought of something really cute, but don't know that I will ever teach it because Mud is NOT NOT NOT vocal at all.
    Would be cute if I could start with,
    "Now, everyone needs to be REALLY QUIET so Mud can hear me."
    (Signal Mud to SPEAK!)
    Turn around quickly,
    "Hey, SHH!" (quiet bark/mumble)

    My friend's Shiba Inu knew this. He would "Say hi!" (bark) and "Shh, quiet!" (super soft bark).
    Mom also thought of:
    "What do you have to do in class before you answer the teacher's question?" (RAISE YOUR HAND!) "Right!"
    (Mud speaks.)
    "HEY, you didn't raise your hand!"
    (Her "wave" pose.)
    But, I like her wave being a wave...even though it is a really great hand raise.
    "Who wants cookies???"
    ("Wave"/paw raise)

    Anyway, it went good. Ending up doing beer trick, hike a football, Easter egg hunt, jump through hoop, wave, spins, "What do boy dogs do?" (they LOOOVED this one), bang, boo, high-fives...think that's it.
    She was a hit. She was super tired by the last class, but she still did good. We skipped the hoop jumping for the last one as she was really not feeling it, lol.
    Jean likes this.
  7. Ina Well-Known Member

    That's fantastic !

    Once Smokey knows enough tricks I plan to do performances at schools during assembly. First explaining to the kids how to approach a dog, giving them some insights on dogs body language and then performing some tricks. I will get a collection tin from the local shelter and ask for a donation for the shelter.

    This way we have fun and the shelter get's some funds.

    BUT it will still take a while before Smokey knows enough tricks for a whole show. Because he is so young he gets easily excited when there is a crowd of kids (we practice everyday when I pick up my boys from Primary School). It has gotten a lot better already though.

    Could you recommend an appropriate age for dog to appear in a performance?
    srdogtrainer likes this.
  8. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    I don't think it's the age so much as the level of the dog's training. For instance, if the school is only looking for a little ten-minute performance for an intermission before another speaker, any age dog would be fine so long as they could handle it. Also depends on the dog's personality--for instance my boy Zeke is very timid. As for his training, I could easily get him to do any of his tricks in front of a large group of people, but it would still be stressful for him because of the number of people and how many people would want to pet him afterwards. Just too much for my shy boy. Mud on the other hand loooooooves people and I've done a lot of work to get her to be able to focus no matter what the situation.

    Mud is 6 years old now, but I adopted her at 2-3. From a training perspective, she was ready(and I was ready, lol!) about a year into her training. This last demo was just for a few classes. Each class had about 20 students. The next demo for this school will be in front of roughly 1o0ish kiddos.
    I started with just tooooons of work at Petsmart, parks, and various dog friendly stores. It's good to start at low-traffic stores or generally just on days where there are fewer shoppers there. If Smokey is already perfect at places like this, have some friends over. Or maybe at one of your kid's b-day parties, have a little tricks show--before lots of people are there or after some have left if you think he can't handle the full crowd yet. If one of the kids wants Smokey to come to show and tell(do they still do that? Lol!), that's a good start too.

    Add more later....have to go.
  9. Ina Well-Known Member

    Thanks Tx !

    The school my kids attend is really great. I am their school photographer (voluntary). He has been to 3 classes so far for a show and tell and isn't scared at all when 20 kids simultaneously try to pat him :). However, he gets extremely excited (of course) - very happy excitement tho'. He will lay on his back to get patted and lick the kids like mad. If a new kid joins the crowd he will jump up and lick their faces, then lay down to receive his pats.
    BUT he isn't focusing and gets easily distracted. No food or toy will make him listen and look at me.
    I am now working on calming him down after lot's of excitement or even trying to keep him calm. A school is probably the worst case scenario to do this. At home with my own children it works - but they ignore excite behavior.
    To speed things up I thought of going into one of the classrooms and ask for help. Have the kids stand in a circle and as soon as he get's excited all kids cross their arms and look to the ceiling ignoring the dog. Do you think this will make a difference?

    Focusing on me during a walk, like Kikopup does with her dogs where they constantly look at her when she walks, is hard too. To try my best I hadn't fed Smokey in the morning. Instead I took him for a walk knowing that he is really hungry. The minute we hit the road he is sniffing (not pulling on the leash though). You can make any sound you like, he ignores you. Sniffing, sniffing, sniffing. I used the clicker, which got his attention and he got meat and continued sniffing. Making the clicker sound to make him look at me works 10 times in a row, but then he decides sniffing is better than the clicker <groan>.
    I am putting this down to being a puppy. He hasn't even urinated outside on walks yet and being a boy I thought he would need to mark his territory?
    Any suggestions how to get him more focused?

    Thanks already for any advice :-)
    Jean likes this.
  10. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    As for the kids, maybe recruit just a few volunteers, not the whole class. Start with maybe 3 or so, then maybe 5, then maybe 7-8, and work your way up instead of trying it with the whole class. Also maybe try(in a controlled environment with a controlled helper) having one child play with him, all excited and super fun, and call him to you. Not too far away, and if he likes toys at all, have his favorite toy with the most ANNOYING squeaker you can find. Giant jackpot if he comes to you. If he doesn't, kid stands up, fun ends so you're more exciting all of a sudden. Then maybe two kids playing with him when he's ready for that.
    If you can do this in a park, have him on a long line playing with the kid. Try running past the kid with annoying squeaker. Rapid movement + noise + MOM!
    Read through the responses in this thread--had a conversation on self-control exercises, which would be great for this as well. Being able to call him away from kids means you are more interesting, and therefore makes it easier for him to concentrate on what you're asking him.
    Also, try using crazy high value treats. Rolled dog food works best for my dogs. Stinks terribly and they love it, lol. Another great high value treat is my Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chunks.

    As for the walk, do you do anything fun during the walk? Or is it just...a walk? If it's the latter, try making it more exciting. Stop every once in a while and do tricks to make him enjoy it more and be a little more tuned in to you. Stop or change directions at random so he's caught off guard and wonders what you're up to. Even though he doesn't pull, one leash training method that is very very tricky but works awesome would help a LOT.
    IF you choose to use this just be sure that you do not drop treats TOO often, or you will reinforce his sniffiness.
    Start in the house. With him on leash, walk around and drop treats at random. Walk a few steps, and without being obvious, drop a treat. Few more steps, drop a treat. Continue walking the entire time, fairly slowly. Your dog will start to look at you to see where the treats are coming from. CLICK, JACKPOT!!!! Walk, walk, walk, walk...drop treat....continue this until he is looking at you as you walk along, or checking in with you every so often. Be very careful not to drop so many treats that he's just constantly sniff sniff sniffing. He already does that. You don't have to reinforce it. This method would probably work great for you, so long as you do it right. :) It works really well, just a matter of using the right amount of treats.
  11. Ina Well-Known Member

    Thanks. That's a great idea !
    I will involve our neighbors kids and increase the size of the crowd slowly.

    Oh - I haven't even used Peanut Butter with Smokey - have to give a try in the morning :)

    Okay - you caught me red handed. :oops:
    No - our walks are pretty boring, me concentrating on Smokey not pulling and scratching in my pockets for treats (which he isn't interested in anyway).
    Actually, this is so obvious I don't know why I hadn't thought of it <relieved sigh>. I can now just about "hear" the dogs thoughts: Ahhhhhhhhhh, this boring lady on the other side of the leash ... BUT this smell is 100 times better than her boring treats. Who wants a treat if I can go for a sniff instead?
    However, if she would PLAY with me - now THAT I like even better than sniffing. Stupid human! :D

    Thanks sooo much for opening my eyes. It's already late at night here, but I will post an update tomorrow after preparing some peanut butter chunks and having been on our best walk ever :-)
  12. Ina Well-Known Member

    Update :)

    Well, Smokey doesn't like peanut at all ??? Oh well :-)

    We had the best walk ever today. Started off with clicker training at home. When I pulled out the leash it took 10 minutes to calm him down, but then we were set for success. We managed the walk to the park with only changing directions 66 times or so ;)
    At the park he got all excited again when he spotted another dog. I didn't allow him to get close to the other dog unless he would calm down. Another lady with her dog saw what I was trying to do and she offered her help. Her dog was sitting quietly next to her whilst I tried to calm Smokey down. Eventually he managed to cool off and I allowed him to get closer. Of course he got excited again, but this time it didn't take as long to get him settled. After 5 or 6 attempts he finally managed to approach the other dog calmly, I was just about to give the lady a hug for her help and patience :D.

    Afterwards I put our extendible leash on and we played fetch with Smokey's favorite toy.

    All this must have turned a switch in puppies mind. On the way back he wasn't pulling at all any more. Yesssssssssss !

    Thanks for all the advice fur-loving friends :D

    Next step will be settling him with a couple of kids around.
  13. sara Moderator

    You would work with kids the same way, BUT with one difference, when they pet him (after the calm approach) if he gets excited, have the kids stand up and ignore him, until he calms down again.

    I actually think that I was doing boring walks with Ollie too! I spent some time before letting him off today, I did alot of turning, running in every direction, asked him for fav tricks, tossed him the ball, and when he was off-leash, he paid more attention to me!

    Tx, you are a genius!
    Ina likes this.
  14. Ina Well-Known Member

    I second that !!!
  15. reveuse Well-Known Member

    I also agree!
  16. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Awww thanks guys! ^^
    At home, all of Mud's walks are off-leash. And walking nicely is SO INCREDIBLY BORING for a Border Collie, lol! So we do tricks somewhere in between, and I also release Mud at random. (Not recommended of course if you are not in a safe area and do not have 100% great recall.) We live in the country, so lots of room and not a lot of dangers like traffic. Every once in a while I will give Mud her release word and she can run and do as she wishes, so long as she doesn't come too far. When I first started with this, I would call her back when she got to a certain distance away(maybe 60-70+ feet??? Not sure). Now, she won't go further than that. If she gets to that distance she will stop and look back at me and wait for me to either say she can go or come back. When I do call her back, it's back to walking nicely for a while, and later she'll get a break again. Her retrieve with toys is terrible, lol, so we don't play fetch on walks; but with Zekers we do.

    If Smokey is really having trouble calming down with dogs/kids, you could also reverse what you're doing---have the dog/kid walk away instead of Smokey walking away. For instance, what I do to get a dog to sit calmly when another person(child or adult) approaches is to have the person approach, and the second his butt leaves the ground the person turns around and walks away. What?!?! They don't want to see me?? I don't get to play?? Continue until they can walk right up to you and Smokey without him getting up or jumping. Then other person reaches to pet. If he jumps, person goes away. Using the method you are using plus this one will ensure a puppy that can calmly approach dogs and people. :)

    Walks should be fun. ^^ They need the exercise, you need the exercise, but might as well enjoy it--for both of you! :)
  17. Ina Well-Known Member

    Hi Tx.

    The biggest prob now is to teach the KIDS !! :)

    I took Smokey to school today. First we went for a 1.5 hour walk. He was really tired when we arrived at the school to pick up the kids.
    With any "normal" acting kid he is perfect. If 3 kids pat him simultaneously he will show his belly (more room to get nice scratches). But as soon as the squeeky voiced kids arrive he goes hyper. Which is totally normal I guess. After all he is still a puppy and the <grrrr> silly kid won't listen. The good news is that I CAN calm him down in 5 seconds.
    Wednesday we have a BIG day. It's cross-country at the school and the teachers are happy for Smokey to come along. He will get the run of his life ! :D Every checkpoint will have water available - not just for the kids, also for the dog. Now THIS event would be something for a BC (I need a BC, I am dreaming of a BC, please shelter, have a suitable BC soon - we are the right family for you)

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