Since all of your prior dog obedience training has been successful, now is the time to start with baby steps toward your overall dog training. Working with your dog so far should have been fun for both you and the dog, and will have made your relationship stronger, and your dog more loyal to you. This is a great side effect of training, and will last as long as you have your dog.
The first trick to start your dog off with in baby steps is to shake. There are a few different ways of training your dog to shake hands or give you a paw. To begin with, get down on the floor with your dog as before. Have a treat or piece of kibble available for rewarding, and ask your dog to sit. Once sitting, tap the dog with the back of your hand in the center of the chest and say “shake”. Now grab the paw you want the dog to give to you. If the dog licks your hand, this means he or she thinks you are playing, and will be more willing to accept the training for this trick. Remember that dogs enjoy having something to do, and you are again giving him or her a job to do. Tap the center of the chest again, and say “shake”. Grab the paw you want the dog to give to you and shake the paw. Continue to do this for a few minutes. This is a very easy trick that most will pick up within the first day of training. You know your dog’s learning curve from previous training, so do not get discouraged if it does not happen within the first day. If the dog reaches out with the paw to your hand when you are not asking for him or her to shake, they are trying to get your attention to at least try the trick. This means you should continue for the next few minutes, and your dog will more than likely get the trick right. If the dog gives a paw without being told or during the training, give a treat. Repeat this process until the dog gets the trick correct.
For the trick of counting, your dog may take a little bit longer to learn. However, this trick is simply word recognition and will come with repetition. Sit on the floor with your dog and have treats available for rewards. If your dog loves to lick, you can tell the dog to give you kisses. Count how many times the dog licks or barks out loud and this begins the word recognition. Your dog will be able to hear you even if they are barking loudly, so keep up with the counting. It is best to stay under the number 5, as this gives plenty for the memory banks to hold. It may be harder for beginners to remember any more than 5 numbers to start with. But once the training has advanced and your dog has gotten the 5 down, he or she can be trained to recognize more numbers. If your dog kisses for this task, ask for 1 kiss and count it out loud for the dog to hear, and then allow the dog to lick you one time. Take your hand away after one lick and tell the dog he or she has done a good job. Now ask the dog to give 2 kisses and count them out loud, and allow the dog to lick you only twice and then take your hand away.
This reinforces the word recognition of the words for each number. Ask the dog to give 3 kisses and count each one out loud, removing your hand after three. Repeat this a few times each day for a week, and your dog will begin to recognize the words and actions associated with the counting trick. You can take this exercise up to the number 5 for the first month, and then afterwards, you can add more numbers or math problems. In order to train for a math problem such as 2 plus 2, you would sit for minutes, then show the dog how to dance by turning around on your hind legs. Do this a few times each training period, and within a week or less your dog will stand up on his or her hind legs and dance on their own when you command.
Every dog is different, some will use this as a begging stance so you may see signs of begging when dancing such as the front legs being pressed together in a praying stance. Continue with this exercise until your dog can dance on his or her own. Every time the dog rears up on its hind legs to try, give a treat and tell the dog to dance. This reinforces the idea of completing the trick and also having fun. Many dogs will spin while on their hind legs, while others will simply stand up and walk on rear legs. Whatever your dog does, he or she is doing because they think you will like it, so be proud and tell the dog how good a job he or she is doing.