There are few things more fun and delightful than a dog who does tricks, especially unique or funny ones. You just never know when the next pet or animal video is going to go viral, and your dog could be the star.
Animal videos online are increasingly popular, and you may want to join in the fun. But how should you go about it? How can you get your dog to do a funny or entertaining trick at all, let alone do it while the camera is rolling? If you want to make your dog an internet star, here are 10 tips to help you make it happen and capture your dog in the act of being talented and/or hilarious:
Remember that you are trying to condition a specific response in your dog to a specific command or stimulus. Never lose sight of this main objective. No matter what the desired behavior, the basics of training involve giving positive feedback to your dog whenever he demonstrates the desired behavior.
Dogs do well with consistency and routine, and it should be a pillar to your training regimen. At first, try and do your training sessions around the same time of day and in the same place. As he masters the tricks, you can get him used to performing in different settings, in front of people and while being filmed.
In some ways, you are training your dog to have a new habit, so repetition goes a long way in anchoring in the desired behavior. Along with consistency, repetition is key to making the trick feel natural to your dog. This is where patience comes in. No matter how many times he misses the mark, keep repeating the command until he gets it right, and immediately reward the correct behavior.
4. Get Your Dog Used to the Camera
This goes hand in hand with repetition and positive reinforcement. Have someone film your dog while you’re training him, or at least set up a tripod near your training area. It won’t be long before your dog sees the camera as part of his training experience, and may even associate it with doing his tricks.
5. Patience is a Virtue
Getting your pet to do what you want can be tedious. Once you train them well, they might be easily distracted by the camera. Just be patient. Once they sniff out the curious object, they will grow bored with it.
6. Introduce a Camera in New Ways
Sure, our pets are used to us being these big giants, but to help get camera gold, get on their level. This will bring the audience in and allow them to really feel what’s going on. If you’re filming your dog catch a Frisbee, how about attaching a camera to his collar? All you need to do is allow your canine to get comfortable with the extra weight, then voila! A perfect trick on camera.
Ah, the reward! It’s why most of us do what we do. Beyond the sheer joy of doing any activity, there’s the reward or payoff. Your dog will want to do tricks if he knows there’s a reward in it for him. He will look forward to your training sessions and love performing for guests. Best of all, it will make him want to perform for the camera and get every trick just right. Remember that rewards need not only be treats — showering him with praise and lots of petting when he’s successful can be a very effective reward, too.
8. Start Early On
If you know you want to capture tricks on camera, train them early on to get used to tricks and flips on cue. If they’re groomed to do this since they’re young, then they will please you with tricks at all times.
Sometimes showing your pet what you want them to do is the easiest way. For example, if you are trying to get your bird to repeat the funniest sentence, repeat it over and over and over again.
Lastly, never forget that teaching your dog tricks is a bonding experience for you both. Take the opportunity to enjoy this experience as one of the many gifts that pet ownership has to offer!