The trainer's directive was clear: Your dog may be an obedience class graduate but the training doesn't stop in this room.
Mark and I were to continue working with Denali, reinforcing the commands he learned in class: Sit, down, stay, leave it, watch me and heel. It was best to do it daily, working with treats and giving lots of praise. No problem.
Well, except for one: It's boring. I can only go through my little routine so many times without wanting to hurt myself. So I've decided to add to the commands Denali knows.
First attempt: Shake. After running through my routine and Denali feeling happy and confident, I ask him to "shake." He looks at me, I grab his paw and excitedly repeat the command while shaking his paw.
I wasn't so sure he was getting it - or liking it - but on day four or so, he lifted his paw toward my hand. Sort of. I'm hoping that by day 14, and with enough treats, he'll gladly be shaking his paw when asked.
Up next: Play dead or dance - I can't decide.
40 tricks video
This YouTube video shows what can be done: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7QrBwANSDs