new and need ideas


New Member
Hello my name is maria and I have a 6 month old Old English Sheepdog- Tilly. I am doing clicker training with her and she can.. sit, down, touch, stay and walk to heal she is also learning the tidy up. We have been set a task at training to teach the dogs a new trick, I did want to teach beg but have been told this would be dangerous as she is a big breed and may damage her hips. So I need some ideas and guidence on what I can do with her. Any ideas much appreciated.
Many thanks
Maria and Tilly


New Member
Hi Maria and Tilly :)

In celebration of Easter the latest challenge trick is getting your dog to find 3 plastic eggs and put them into a basket. It sounds like great fun -- you can see it in the March Challenge thread.

Nice to meet you


Experienced Member
What if you put Tilly in a sit and asked her to take one paw off the ground for beg. Or just sit up on her haunches same position as sitting but with front paws off the ground. There is no significant redistribution of her weight that way. If this dog is healthy and has sound hips there is no reason she shouldn't be able to be or stand on her hind legs. If this were true there wouldn't be any police dogs, SAR dogs, or working dogs.

I don't know who told you that but they were incorrect unless there were some reason she's at particular risk for patella luxation or hip dysplasia. If she has siblings or near relatives with bad knees or hips this might be a concern. Just in general big breeds are not limited in this way because they are big. You can see exactly how good or bad her hips are by having the OFA exam done if she is at least 2 years old.

Large breeds should be limited when juvenile from jumping (as in agility-repeated high impacting jumps), jumping down (i.e. from an SUV or pick-up), and running on hard surfaces for prolonged periods (like jogging on the street). Normal playing and running in your yard or drive is different. What you want to prevent is repeated high impacts to the growing bony growth plates which mature and stop growing on reaching adulthood. Ask your vet or specific guidelines and whether your dog is fully adult at 2 years. The youngest OFA can be done for official hip grades is 2 years. It can vary between breeds as to the optimum time.

If your dog's hips are good then there is better health down the road if they do exercise and play with some gusto, they'll be in better overall shape and their better cardiovascular health will help them live longer and be a better joint disease preventative because they will be stronger and in better shape. Keeping a big breed lean, not skinny, is always preferable to any extra weight period.

More info


Experienced Member
I agree, there is no reason why you can't teach your big dog to beg. It's actually really good for their back muscles which is the main reason I taught it to my corgi and am teaching it now to my puppy.

Since she is bigger though, it will be harder for her to do then with a small dog. She will likely need some support in the beginning, either doing it against a wall, or your legs so she can balance. And like Snooks said, some people have the dogs support their weight by putting their paw on you in the beginning. (ask them to sit, then shake, and then hold the treat above their head so they lift up a tiny little bit).


Honored Member
Staff member
Mud had lots of trouble with this trick. She just couldn't catch on, but she finally got it when I gave it up for a while to work on other things.

She either wanted to jump for the treat or just do nothing at all, so I clicked at first for looking up at the treat(her in a sit, treat fairly high and just back of her head). Then I clicked for the tiniest effort to raise her front end--teeny hops, raising a foot, etc. Then hopping up with her butt still on the ground, then a beg for a split second, and eventually to hold the position. She learned it well this way. Hope this helps, welcome, and good luck! Enjoy the site!


Experienced Member
It worked well for my big golden to stand behind him and make a v with my feet together. I lured him up so that he could lean back against my legs but slow so he wouldn't spring. Put the treat at nose level or a little lower and they are unlikely to jump. Click when they come off the ground or give the verbal Yes and treat when they are in position. Then work up to holding a bit longer so they can get the feel of balance with your support behind move the treat forward a bit to get them of ur legs minutely. When they are able to balance you'll feel it. :dogrolleyes:


Experienced Member
If she's tidying up how about targeting with nose and paw or following a target stick. this lays a foundation for almost all tricks I teach like weaves, turns, spins, sit up, back up, figure eights, shake, roll over. You can teach differential targeting like paw ball or paw bone which would lead up to get me the ball (not bone) but named objects like remotes, dropped items etc etc.

Is that what you had in mind? :dogbiggrin: