Tricks for Treats…and so much more!

Trick Training is a great way to get to work with your dog! Whether your dog is young or old, has never had any training before, or is a seasoned pro at the cues that we all value, like sit, stay, down and coming when called, trick training can benefit both species in unexpected ways!

Training tricks to your dog can serve as the foundation for building other behaviors, it can help you improve your training skills, and it’s generally a more relaxed and fun process for all. Because we humans tend to see tricks as fun, we’re more forgiving of mistakes. Trick training can be really fun and you can easily build upon each trick once you understand the process.

Tricks are also a great way to bond with your dog. When working with our dogs on obedience, impulse control and manners, we are more focused on what we need the dog to do. With tricks, there’s no pressure to be perfect. When we are training tricks, we can be as silly as we want and simply enjoy being with our dogs.

There is so much information out there on dog training and so many quick and dirty tips that miss the actual nuts and bolts of the process. It’s Tricky is designed to take much of the confusion and guesswork out of training and give you all the tools you need to train in a way that is fun and efficient!


Trick Training is Dog Training

A trick can serve as the foundation for building other behaviors, relevant for every-day use. If a dog learns to ‘play dead’, we can teach him to perform the useful behavior of lying on his side. From here it can evolve into using this position for grooming, or nail filing procedures. ‘Shake’, or giving a paw, is of similar value. We can also build on behaviors to make more complex tricks- Bang! can be built on and become Rollover, Paws Up becomes Say Your Prayers, Shake becomes High Five and so on.

It’s Tricky is ideal for novice dog owners or anyone who would like to learn how to train in a systematic way. The course was designed to teach you how to train your dog using step-by-step plans and help you understand the process of getting to the finished trick.

Throughout the training process, by following training plans and gaining an understanding the mechanics of training, we humans get better at it, as well! Training is a skill, and one that can be improved through practice and understanding the importance of things like mechanics and reward delivery, body language, and using criteria to build behaviors, rather than guesswork.

We’ve also designed a fun and supportive course for students, where people can upload their tricks videos, discuss and share training successes, mishaps, and troubleshoot together. Trick training should be fun and so should learning!

In the course, you’ll learn the mechanics of these fun and impressive tricks you can teach any dog:

  1. Spin– We’ll teach you the steps to get your dog spinning in one direction, and twisting in the other
  2. Shake– Shake is considered an easy trick, but not all dogs learn it as quickly in the same way, so we’ll give you a Plan A and a Plan B to work on with your dog, and you’ll see 2 dogs working on it in the course
  3. Bow– What better way to show off than by taking a bow at the end of a “show”, or doing the “downward dog” together with your dog?
  4. Bang!– Don’t shoot the dog! But, definitely make it into a fun, dramatic trick!
  5. Sit pretty– This one takes some balance for most dogs, but the cuteness factor of those front paws hangin’ out can’t be denied
  6. Paws up! – Paws up on various surfaces can be a fun confidence builder and might inspire you to take more walks to look for Paws Up picture opportunities
  7. From Shake-to-High Five– High five, fist bump, whatever you want to call it- we’ll help you build on the skills started with Shake
  8. From Bang!-to-Roll Over– Many dogs need Roll Over broken down into multiple steps, and we’ll show you what it looks like every step of the way
  9. Weave– Learn how to have some fun with both you and your dog on the move!
  10. BONUS TRICKS!– We’ve included bonus videos and plans for a few more intricate tricks, plus the opportunity to “unlock” a few more complex tricks!

The Course Includes:

Detailed training plans to walk you through the steps of each trick. When it comes to working with dogs, using plans that build on each previous step is crucial. This can help avoid making guesses about what the dog is capable of along the way. We’ll teach you exactly how to break down the steps of each behavior so you can both be successful!

Videos of each plan being taught to a variety of dogs. Video is so helpful because it allows you to see a dog’s progress and walks you through the steps. We’ll even give you the opportunity to post some video in the course for support, troubleshooting and cheerleading!

Downloadable documents, a progress tracker and graphics for you to review, save and print to go along with the course. We’ve also got fun discussion forums to chat with your instructor and fellow students about your progress and thoughts throughout the course.

Dog Trick Training
Meet Your Instructor: Sylvia Borghardt

The Dog Trick Trainer

Sylvia turned a lifelong passion for dogs into her career in 2008, working with shelter dogs at the San Francisco SPCA, and beginning to study dog behavior and training.

In 2012, she graduated from the Academy for Dog Trainers, and has been running her own private dog training business – Sylvia Borghardt Dog Training since then. She works daily with private clients and instructs a range of group classes- puppy and basic obedience classes, fun agility and tricks courses.

One of the inspirations for creating a tricks course was Sylvia’s little dog Fonzie. Fonzie has a lot of fears, but trick training throughout his life has boosted his confidence, and has been invaluable for making him feel safer in this world. Sylvia has seen the same value of trick training for many of her clients. She has experienced many times how Tricks – and positive training – create a fun way to truly strengthen communication skills on both ends of the leash.

It’s Tricky! is priced at $29.

Learn more about our other courses:
Sign up for Nailed It: A Course in Canine Nail Care here.
Sign up for Separation Anxiety: Mission POSSIBLE here.
Sign up for Pestering Pooches: Dogs Who Jump to Greet and Beg for Food here.

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It’s Tricky: Learning to Train your Dog with Tricks
Average rating:  
 1 reviews
by Hayley on It’s Tricky: Learning to Train your Dog with Tricks
Absolutely fabulous

I loved the it's tricky course I signed up to help build and strengthen the bond between my own dog by creating a way to have fun together. It is clearly laid out and Sylvia is always there if you need help breaking down the steps. I love you can post your videos and its great to share and see other participants progrèss especially when it is something which is more difficult for the dog that you are working with. My dog is older and it was still suitable for him. I enjoyed it so much I also took the course to practise with a neighbours smaller younger dog and she commented on how her dog was less agitated in the day as it had mentally tired her out and it has built her confidence too. I also take what I have learnt to the rescue shelter where I volunteer and the dogs there are bored it helps gives them some stimulation. It is a great course for all levels.