I opened my email this morning to find a newsletter from the American Kennel Club announcing a new titling option aimed at all AKC registered dogs, the Trick Dog program. The four level program is open to AKC registered, AKC Canine Partners & Purebred Alternative Listing (PAL) dogs.
“It is easy to see why trick training is becoming so popular,” said Dr. Mary Burch, AKC Canine Good Citizen and Trick Dog Director. “The primary characteristic of trick dog training is having fun. Tricks can be both entertaining and practical, such as teaching a dog ‘paws up’ for a therapy setting. Trick dog training makes a team out of the handler and dog. We hope this exciting new program will encourage more dogs and owners to become involved in training.” – Samantha Seymour; The American Kennel Club Launches New Trick Dog Titling Program
The new title earned by your dog will be proudly displayed on the dog’s record with the AKC as well as show on pedigrees. These titles can be earned through AKC approved Canine Good Citizen Evaluators and will also be recognized if obtained through the Do More With Your Dog (DMWYD) organization.
Looking on the Trick Dog Title application, the Canine Good Citizen title on record actually counts as 5 tricks making only 5 additional tricks required to obtain the Novice Trick Dog Title. The tricks to choose from are listed on the application that need to be checked off by the evaluator. Tricks include ‘walking on a low board a few inches off the ground’ known as the balance beam, bark on cue, crawl at least 5 feet on belly, bring item to handler and release among many others to choose from. With attempting the novice title handlers are permitted to use food and toy lures if needed and may even use food and clicker reinforcers.
The intermediate Trick Dog Title requires 10 tricks from their list of slightly harder tricks, the only prerequisite is having the Novice Trick Dog Title, a CGC is not required (nor is it required for the Novice title either but can help towards the overall goal). Some of these include balancing a treat on the dog’s nose, leg weave, find a treat under 1 of 3 cups and more. There is even an option for 2 tricks of Handler’s choice if your dog can do something not on the list. No food or toy lures are allowed in the Intermediate test but clicker/food rewards are permitted.
An Advanced title builds off the Intermediate. Some tricks on the list involve open a door, play dead, scent articles, distant sit/down as well as 2 Handler choice options. Food and toy lures are not allowed in the Advanced test but clicker/food rewards are.
The final title is the Performer. The dog must have novice, intermediate and advance trick dog titles, no CGC required. A story (a routine) must be told incorporating 10 tricks. An example given to illustrate: “This is my dog Princess. Princess loves school-here’s what she does at school. She plays ball on the play ground, and then she takes a nap,” etc.). Think of it as a sort of Free Style, I wonder if the dancing free style you see on youtube might be eligible? No food lures are allowed but clicker/food reinforcers are permitted after correct behavior. They also want you to vidoe your dog and submit it AKC for review. The video can be on facebook, youtube etc or can mail in a DVD of the performance.
Everyone loves to teach their dogs tricks, and it’s easy to do on your commercial breaks during your favorite show. Youtube has a great collection of ‘how to’ vidoes for probably most of these tricks, there are also many websites and books available. Have fun with it. I wish my old Golden was still alive, he’d kill it with his wide repertoire of tricks. I was actually told that he wasn’t allowed to participate anymore in a college organized ‘dog show’ because they wanted to allow others to win some. My family and I still giggle at that.
The AKC Trick Dog title applications will start being processed May 1, 2017. More information can also be located here: http://www.akc.org/trick-dog/
What tricks does your dog know? We’d love to see your videos!
What are your thoughts about offering Tricks for titles?