Tuesday, September 25, 2012

City Dog: Dog Tricks in the City

We know that too often people are quick to judge pit bull-type dogs, and some people will even judge the entire breed based on their experience with one single dog. Since I used to fall into that category too, we work extra hard to get our pooches out there and allow people to have positive interactions with the pups (sometimes it's even the first time they've met a pit bull in real life!).
I learned one way to really get people to interact with the pooches is to take the 'circus dog tricks' we learned out of the classroom and into our everyday lives. Doing these tricks on our daily walks has increased the pooches' focus and communication with us, plus we love when people come up to compliment us on how well behaved our pooches are. Here are some of our favorite tricks to draw an 'audience':

We use the 'watch me' command so the pooches are always checking in with us and paying attention. This helps with many of the distractions we find on our daily walks, not to mention the recent adoring comments from onlookers at an outdoor cafe seeing how two smaller breed dogs with 'good reputations' completely lunged and snapped at our pooches who were able to walk by without a reaction. We've also gotten a lot of people stopping us to say it looks like we are having a real conversation with our dogs.

Sit and Look Both Ways:

We have trained our pooches to stop and sit any time we stop walking and to automatically sit at corners. We have also taught Miss M a 'look' command where it looks like she is actually looking for traffic before crossing. This is another trick we love using at busy corners where there is outdoor seating (and we get great comments!).

This is one of our favorite Circus Dog Tricks that I never realized would have a realistic application. We like to use this one if kids or strollers pass by 'looking at the doggies'. They are always amazed when the 'doggy' waves back at them. It's also good to use when we're stopped at a curb with people walking towards us, or we're near a bus stop.
If people do seem edgy with the dogs, or over-react when they see us coming, I typically have Miss M over-act my completing a finish command--walking around me in a circle--and waving.

What other tricks or commands do you use to promote your pup?

Plus, the training command that changed our lives and Miss M's most notable trick yet (that also helps with the chores!)


Two Kitties One Pittie said...

I love it when Miss M waves! Watch Me has proven to be an invaluable tool to use when Z and I are out in public. We're still at the point where we're working on preventing her from jumping all over everyone, so that's our main concern right now! One day though, I want to teach her to wave too! :-)

Rebelwerewolf said...

The one time I thought I'd show off for some neighbors, Mushroom started pooping on the sidewalk. Sooo... yeah.

Corbin said...

That last picture of Miss. M is so adorable! Great tricks!

Anonymous said...

Looking both ways is so cute! I need to try that with my pups!

SherBear said...

I love it when I add another neighbor to the "Smitten by Nala" list :-) She is probably the friendliest dog in the entire building (48 stories) and gets sooo excited anytime she sees one of her human friends - I think she can recognize people from far away as she will start pulling to get to them. She has made many a person's morning by making them feel extra special. I have new neighbors across the hall who absolutely adore her and I was told that when they first moved in the boyfriend didn't believe his girlfriend that Nala was a pitbull be "she is too nice". It makes me happy knowing that she is such a wonderful "amabassadog"!

Kate said...

Ms. M's wave is too cute! I love that they stop and look out for traffic too!

Sarah said...

Hurley loves showing off his tricks...err...actually he loves earning treats!

Whenever children come into the store, I have Hurley perform a few of his tricks. This amuses them and keeps them busy interacting with Hurley so the parent can shop and it also helps small children who may be a little scared by a 90lb dog become more at ease with him.

We do high five, shake, wave, roll over, Hippie Dance (twirl to the left and then to the right), and Get in the Box (everyone's favorite).

Kiira said...

We love doing tricks too! Usually it is just to keep the boys occupied when there is a long light to sit through or at checkout at Home Depot, but it doesn't hurt that it makes them look good in the process. They love to high five, but their waves are less than stellar...it just looks like they are swatting at flies.
Miss M is so talented!

Unknown said...

All of your comments are a great testament to the smarts and motivation of our pitties and mixes like my Katie. I'd love to teach her some more of those mentioned; anyone know of a good video or website where they're actually demonstrated? Thanks!

My Two Pitties said...

I love the wave! I'm working on teaching it to my dogs except I say "hi" since so many people say it to them, it will be hilarious if they start doing it!

Two French Bulldogs said...

you guys are so cute. And very smart. Always look both ways before crossing
Benny & Lily

Unknown said...

I love the ‘sit and look both ways’ trick. It’s soo unique! :D It’s really a great way to show-off your dogs’ capabilities and your training skills. Sadly, it is always the dogs that are given bigger credit. :D Kidding aside, that was a really good job! There are dogs that are hard to train, especially if you don’t have treats for them.

Liza ^.^

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