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BC Game 1 - Coffee Can of tennis Balls

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This is an easy game to teach a BC. Start with a 3 pound empty coffee can and put several tennis balls inside. The behavior you are looking for is for the dog to first kick or bump the can over and knock the tennis balls out. Then they have to right the can and put the balls inside. You can break it down by starting with the coffee can empty and get them to knock it over and then right it. then teach depositing the balls separately. But believe it or not two of my Bc's who are clicker aware and already knew how to put things away i.e. toys in a basket, just about did the entire sequence the first few times. The hardest part is getting them to focus on the can when dropping the balls and not on you to get a treat. They may go sort of wild when they try to right the can so you can click for any behavior you think will get the can upright. Using their nose is the easiest and if they have a ball in their mouth they seem to poke their head in the can on its side and right it at the same time. Experiment and let me know how it goes and I can give you suggestions as you get started.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I LOVE this trick! I've only had my 9 month old BC since last April, so I'm just getting to know her (and her breed). But she is so bright and so attentive I feel positively neglectful if I am not training her to do something.


We're still working on the can trick, but in the very first evening of training she learned to right the can and drop one ball in. In later days I taught her to knock over the can, and now we're working on multiple tennis balls.


So, what other cute tricks do you suggest?



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Actually I like to call these canine games or behaviors. The next game we play at home requires two skills. One they have to have a solid retrieve and two you need to teach them to use their nose to find one of their toys. Start by putting your BC on a down on one side of a wall maybe a few feet back. Then show her a stuffed toy, tell her to stay and then say "ready". Now you put the toy on the floor and kick it around to the other side of the wall maybe two or three feet down in plain sight. Go back and tell him to "find it". Then wait and see, she will do one of the following:

1) sit there and look at you because she doesn't know what you want. - then you will start moving towards the end of the wall and when she starts to follow say find it again. Do this until she sees the toy and gets it. Make her bring it back to where you started. Keep this up until you don't have to go with her.

2) she won't move and doesn't seem to get it, you will then resort to food and place a trail of treats to help her get to the toy - I only do this to help her understand what I am wanting her to do. This is not a treat motivated behavior - the reward is doing it. My dogs go nuts whenever they hear the words find it in any sentence.

3) she takes off and goes right to the toy the first time - congratulate yourself on having a smart dog


As soon as she is finding the toy on the other side of the wall in plain site, start hiding it behind a chair or under something so she starts using her nose more than his eyes.


Keep me posted on her progress and I can help you through email.

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