Shake head "no"?


Honored Member
How do you teach shake head "no"?
I've been working with Mr. Buddy on this, I"ve tried two methods so far.
First one, i take a treat, wave it back and forth in front of his face, he follows it, thus creating a "no" head shake, i click and far, Buddy had not ever attempted the no head shake to the ?cue i am giving. :dognowink: It's been two weeks--that is a long time for Buddy to NOT get something-- and Buddy does not mind this lesson, but is not showing any signs this is getting through at all.
THIS will be hilarious if i can Buddy to answer my question, (body cue is palms up bilaterally with elbows bent, verbal cue is fairly easily distinguished two-word question)
Then, i tried blowing into his ear gently, and he looked at me with an expression that is his old gangsta face....Like, "Do that one more time, lady, and i'll show ya my teeth!" :dogmad:so that is out.

Any ideas?


Experienced Member
The lure behavior doesn't work for other than maybe the first day because the dog isn't thinking he's following the lure with single minded purpose. yummy. I was talking to my clicker trainer about it and she's shaping her Malinois to do it. She started c/t the head turn and then gave the head turn a cue then is working up to head turn one way then the other. Then c/t that. She's working up on repetitions. I worked up on leg weaves the same way.. 1 c/t 2 c/t then up to 4-6 times through before I c/t. I think it takes a while to get that the movement is one way then another and more than once in the absence of any cues. With leg weaves your legs are cues.

The other thing I thought of but haven't tried yet is using a target stick. Strictly shaping takes longer for me because I'm not great at it yet...still learning. I taught my dogs to follow but not touch a target stick around obstacles and through my legs etc. In all repetitive things like shake paw then other paw that I had cues for each step and chained them together. That works better than trying to get a back and forth in the absence of cues.

So get the head turn once down solid on cue and add another rep 1 at a time. Ideally it seems not having your hands or face/body be the cue could get a better head turn since they don't need to watch you. All kind of out loud thinking.

I don't blow on dogs any more. I learned the hard way after having some brand new glasses scratched that many of them no matter how sweet are very annoyed by that. My sweetie turned her head to bark at me and her canine collided with my glasses. That was $400 bucks in need of repair. :dogrolleyes: Who knew. Ganstah boy! giggle.


Experienced Member
I believe there's some videos on youtube recently about trainers teaching this. They started out teaching the dog to target a post it note on the wall, and then made a little channel and placed a note on opposite sides. Then when the dog touched the first note, they clicked and gave the treat by the 2nd. Soon the dog was immediately swinging towards the 2nd note upon hearing the click. Next they varied what note they wanted the dog to touch first. Finally, they started to have the dog do this a foot in front of the notes so the dog wasn't actually touching them.


Experienced Member
I found one of the videos:


Honored Member
HOLY TOLEDO!! Wow, i started this in March? i JUST NOW got Buddy to do this reliabley! True, i did take this trick off his training list for a month, cuz he was not getting it, seemed frustrated. But still, normally, Buddy 'gets' a trick in a few days, usually...

I used the method in vid above, and over time, modified that method. I began holding the target sticky notes in my hands. Then i switched to just my hands after i just held some ham.:dogbiggrin: Then, i sorta whispered, "one, two, three, four." as he touched my hands... Over time, i could quit counting the head moves for him.

OVer time, i raised my hands a bit so he could no longer touch his nose to them.

so my cue is, i ask a question, and then put out both my forearms, bent at the elbow, palm up.

Took freakin forever for Buddy to get this, BUT, i realized, some of his trouble getting it was: Buddy wanted/needed a SPECIFIC number of times to turn head left, and then back to right.
ONce i realized, i had been varying how many back& forths Buddy does to get reward, THAT confused Buddy and made him frustrated....

So, i stuck to TWO times to the left, TWO times to the right, :dognowink:and bam, Buddy could then get it. Also, i began stuffing this lesson in between other lessons, instead of giving it it's own solo lesson. Maybe that helped too.

Anyway, is hilarious, cuz i got funny political question that only democrats would enjoy. So even if he messes up, when he DOESN'T shake his head "no" then i say, "Well, i guess Buddy IS a republican!"
(Okay okay, is Buddy's only partisan trick he does.)

NOw, on to nodding head "yes".....:msngiggle: