Well, it’s been awhile since I’ve added a new trick, so I think it’s about time. This trick is called: Pass the Cookie Please! This trick is really cute and fun to watch. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I thought this would be a great trick because it has your dogs sharing food. You will need two dogs for this trick. It involves one dog sitting infront of the other with a cookie balanced on his nose. On command the dog will lift his head and fling the cookie over his head to the dog sitting behind him. The dog sitting behind him will catch and eat the cookie for his reward.
Difficulty: 4 (1 is easiest and 5 is hardest)
Things Needed: You will need a flat cookie, a clicker, and some patients. Two dogs are also required.
First you need to practice with the first dog and teach him how to balance the cookie on his nose. To do this you will need to hold your dog’s muzzle still and click and treat him for allowing you to do this. Once he can do that, then move on to placing a dog biscuit on the flat part of the top of his muzzle and click and treat him for holding his head still. This may be difficult for your dog to do, after all, he’ll have a biscuit on his muzzle calling out to him. So praise him heavily for staying still. Use the stay command and frequent clicks and treats to help your dog learn to balance the cookie on his nose. Once he has this down pat, you can click after a certain number of seconds and release him to flip the cookie off his nose. When he can do this reliably, teach him not to go after the dropped cookie by making him stay. Click and treat him for complying.
Timing of the click is crucial to teach your dog that the toss of his head is what you are looking for. Most dogs will toss their heads back to get the cookie off their nose. Some may even flip it and catch it if you practice enough. It is very important that you allow your dog to develope his own style by practicing frequently.
Ok, so now your dog can balance a cookie on his nose and flip it on command. It is now time to add the second dog to the mix. Practice having the second dog catch the cookie after the first dog tosses it. This may require lots of practice to get the timing and coordination just right. The commands will be Hold it, Stay, and then Okay, which will cause the dog holding the cookie to toss the cookie, which will be caught by the dog behind him. Make sure to click and treat the first dog for not pursuing the tossed cookie.
When you work with two dogs, a helper will be helpful to reinforce one of the dogs to wait for his or her turn. You may want to stagger the behaviors so that the dogs perform them one after the other.
Good luck! Remember to be patient with your pooches and practice often. Also, feel free to adapt your techniques to your dogs personalities. Happy Thanksgiving!