The Big Trick Contest

Top Notch Dog Presents…

The National Train Your Dog Month Trick Training Contest!

This contest is going to have one winner, but it will be a group effort to help that person (and dog!) win.

At any time while working on your trick, you may post to the blog and ask for help. I’ll be your virtual coach and help you as you go. You are welcome to upload video to YouTube at that point to show where you are stuck, but it’s not required. There will be a tricks workshop at Top Notch Dog on Wednesday, January 20 at 1:00 if you’d like in-person help or if you wish to enter but don’t have video access (see below).

You will win: one hour of free dog training for you and your dog at Top Notch Dog ($100 value). Two other finalists will receive a book on dog tricks training and a special surprise for their dog. The winner will be chosen when you and everyone else votes on the finalists. It will be *just* like American Idol.

Here’s how it works:
Each contestant will choose a trick to teach their dog. It must be a trick your dog has never before learned. You have one month to teach the trick. It may be very simple or very complex, as tricks will not be judged on their level of difficulty. Over the course of the month, I will post blog entries that provide the following:

  • Ideas for tricks to teach
  • Different methods of teaching tricks (luring, capturing, shaping)
  • Practical uses for tricks in everyday life
  • Troubleshooting your challenges as you work on your trick
  • Suggestions for books, dvd’s and links to help you choose and teach the trick

Your finished trick must be on cue. Using ‘sit’ as an example, your cue can be a verbal cue (i.e. “sit”) or a hand or body signal (your hand sweeping upward), but your video must show the trick being cued. You must use reward-based methods (so, you would be ineligible if you forced the dog’s butt down to the ground for the ‘sit’). Luring, capturing or shaping are all acceptable methods (more on these later).

To enter: you must video tape the first training session and the finished product and upload your approximately one-minute clip to YouTube. Once the clip is uploaded, send an email to barbara @ (minus the spaces) with Tricks Contest in the subject line. Your email must contain the following:

  • Your name and your dog’s name and age
  • The town in which you live
  • The YouTube link showing the first training session and final product
  • The goal you would have for your free, one-hour training session if you won

Fine print: the winner’s free training session will be at Top Notch Dog within 3 months of the announcement of the winner. It may be used only for basic manners or more tricks training (no serious behavior problems like aggression). You will be required to sign a standard waiver and info sheet on your dog.

Happy training!