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"My Dog Can Do That!"

Tasks and Tips


"Beginner"(?!) Tasks

Behavior Description Rules Bonus! Trick Value Real Life Value
DownTown Hound™ Dog Must lie down, following a verbal command. No hand signals!   3 spaces Important to control an excited dog who is not looking at the trainer.
Beginner Sit-Stay Dog must sit still while player skips 10 feet away and stops. Dog must remain sitting for 10 seconds after player stops.   4 spaces Think of all the naughty things he cannot do when sitting
Beginner Stand-Stay1 Dog must stand and stay while player hops 10 feet away and stops. Dog must remain standing for 10 seconds after player stops.   5 spaces A wet dog stays put while you go for the towel!
Play Possum™2 Dog must lie on his back, with legs in the air for 5 seconds. No Tickling! If Player plays possum while dog plays possum-add 3 spaces! 5 spaces Really useful for vets while examining your dog.
She loves me, she loves me not™ Dog must sit and stay while player walks 10 feet away, waits 10 seconds, then gives the command to come. Dog must not break the sit-stay until released, then go close enough to player to be petted.   5 spaces A solid stay and recall could save your dog's life. This one cannot be overlooked!
Hand me downs™ Dog must lie down from a standing position, following a hand signal. No verbal down command, but that doesn't mean you can't talk.   3 spaces Always talking on the phone? No problems calming your dog now.
I'm Losing My Mind!™3 Dog must shake head side to side, up & down, side to side, and up & down. No touching! If you can do this with only head signals, add 3 spaces! 3 spaces People will think you can really talk with your dog.  A great party trick!
Synchronized Walking™ Dog must walk at player's side for 15 feet, turn, return to starting point, turn again, and sit. Dog must remain within 2 feet of player, on the same side, at all times.  To be done off-leash in a secure area.   5 spaces Otherwise known as heeling- has too many benefits to list on this little card!
Puppy Push Ups™ Dog must sit, lie down, sit up and lie down again in rapid sequence. If the hind leaves the floor, you're out the door! If the player does 2 push ups at the same time-add 3 spaces! 5 spaces Real Stunt Masters™ can perform command sequences!
London Bridge Backwards!™ Dog must walk between players legs, back to front, then both player and dog lie down. If furry legs cannot pass through safely, you must pick another card. If dog also goes through front to back, before lying down, add 3 spaces! 3 spaces Builds trust between dog and player (or is that between player and dog!).
The Twofur™ Dog must sit, then lie down. Trick must be performed in sequence (i.e. no standing between sit and down). If you can do this using only hand signals, add 3 spaces! 3 spaces Many times it's easier to use two commands to accomplish one objective.
Touchdown!™4 Dog must score a touchdown by moving a ball across a 6 foot goal line, "drawn" with 6 treats on the floor 10 feet away. Player must stay behind dog.  Only the ball has to cross the line in order to score a touchdown.   4 spaces Imagine the endorsement possibilities!
Which Way Did He Go!™5 Dog must circle a chair placed ten feet away and return to player. Player and dog start next to each other. Player cannot move.   4 spaces Directional distance commands (or good aim!) are needed here.
Put'er There Righty™6 Dog must sit, lift right paw, and shake player's right hand. No touching dog except to shake the extended paw. If your dog is ambidextrous and you can also shake her left paw with your left hand- add 3 spaces! 2 spaces Desensitizes paws for clipping nails. Groomers and vets will love you!
Oh Say Can You Sit™ Dog must sit following a verbal signal. No hand signals!   3 spaces Huge! If your dog is sitting, he can't jump on people, chase his tail, run away, etc...
Come and Get It™7 Player must move ten feet away from dog and beckon dog with a hand signal.  Dog must come close enough to be petted. No talking on this one!   3 spaces Handy when you're hoarse!
Bang™ Dog must lie on his side, with legs extended to the side, for 5 seconds. Legs do not have to be straight, but they have to be on the floor out to the side.   4 spaces A great trick, but it's really useful in getting your dog to settle down.
She'll Be Coming Round the Corner™ Dog must lie down and stay while player leaves the room.  Out of sight, player counts to 5 and calls the dog. Once called the dog must go close enough to be petted.  Player cannot move. Add 2 spaces for every room dog must go though to find player. 5 spaces A reliable recall is even more critical when you can't see your dog!
Hello Dolly™ Dog must wag its tail. Mess this up and you should get a cat!   1 space Signals friendship to children and strangers.
Beginner Down-Stay Dog must lie down and stay while player runs 10 feet away and stops. Dog must remain down for 10 seconds once player stops.   3 spaces The first step towards being able to prepare dinner in peace.
Doggie Hand Stands™ Dog must stand from a down position, following a hand signal. Talk all you want, but no verbal stand commands!   3 spaces Believe it or not, hand signals are easier for dogs to learn.
Sitting Pretty™ Dog must sit from a standing position, following a hand signal. You can talk, but no verbal sit commands!   3 spaces Ideal when meeting someone during a walk.
Teacher's Pet™ Dog must sit and stay while all players form a 10 foot "box" around dog.  All together, player call the dog.  Dog must go to the person playing this card without being petted by any other player. Only person playing this card can use the dog's name.   3 spaces This will tell you who your dog listens to!
WillPower™ Dog must lie down.  Player places a treat on the floor six inches in front of dog and moves back 5 feet. Dog cannot touch treat for 10 seconds after player is 5 feet away.   5 spaces Every dog needs to be taught not to grab food.


Note that for many of these tasks, good basic obedience with a well-proofed stay will be enough to succeed.

1. To teach the Stand-Stay: With dog in a stand (see Dog School Week 3 for a description of teaching the Stand) give the verbal and signal cue "Stay". Gently scratch dog on side/belly, just in front of rear leg.  This tends to keep dog standing in place. Gradually slide your hand of dog for a count of 1, click and teat. Repeat, counting 3 this time, click and treat, then count 5, and so on.  As your dog does better, gradually stand up in front of him.  If he sits, say "Too Bad", zip closed your fanny pack, and help him back into a stand.  Start again at the last time increment he was successful at.  Once he can stay for a count of 10 with you in front of him, start to shift your feet around, without actually moving off the spot. Once he is stable at that, try taking a step away and right back.  Gradually add distance.  Once you can walk 10 feet away, add the hopping 10 feet away, and any other silly stuff you want to add!

2 See Dog School Week 6, teaching the Rollover, then add the Stay.  Simple!  (Suuure it is!)

3Simple tip:  Use a lure!  To get the Bonus Points, how about a lure held between your teeth?  Over time, you can fade the lure, but you can succeed at the Game even while using the lure.

4.  If your dog knows the Take It and Hold (Advance Class Homework, Motivational Retrieve), and you have taught the Place Command (Dog School, Week 5) you can move his Place Mat beyond the Goal line, have him take and hold the Ball, then send him to his Place.  Optimistically coach " Don't Touch!" (Dog School, Week 7) as he approaches the treats on the ground.  This one will take practice!  (Why is this a Beginner Trick?!)

5. See the Real Life Value column for a hint.

6. See Dog School Week 6, to teach the Shake. To teach your dog to shake with his other paw, try i) changing your lure from your right hand to your left, ii) shift your body position a bit, to encourage your dog to orient to your left side, then iii) wait as your dog offers various attempts.  Eventually, he will probably lift the left foot to paw at you. Click and treat! 

7.  Come signal is (usually) --Right arm extended, then swung over so that right hand comes to left shoulder, then returned to normal position. Precede your verbal Come Cue with this signal, and with enough repetitions, your dog will respond to it.  You could perhaps speed this up for the Game, by holding a food treat between your fingers as you give the signal.  Also, the Rules prohibit a verbal command for this exercise, they do not require silence....(hmmm?  Signal then Whistle?  Kissy sounds, etc....)