Show Me the Love! Trick and Treat Dog

Last year, the American Kennel Club launched its Trick Dog program. This exciting program encourages people to train their dogs to do a variety of tricks. Yes, your dog can now get titles for sitting, fetching and even for driving you to the grocery store to buy milk. There are five Trick Dog Titles to strive for; Novice Trick Dog (TKN), Intermediate Trick Dog (TKI), Advance Trick Dog (TKA), Trick Dog Performer (TKP) and the most coveted Trick Dog Elite Performer (TKE).You will be tested for each of the titles by an AKC evaluator in person, except for the TKE. For the TKE title, you will be evaluated via a video.Before testing for a level, your dog must have successfully completed the previous one.That is, you must have his TKN before testing for his TKI. The amount and/or difficulty of tricks needed to pass the evaluation varies from level to level.You must choose the tricks from the list provided for each level.

For the TKN title, your dog must perform ten tricks.If your dog has his Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certificate, it will only need to perform five tricks, chosen from the following list: balance beam, bark on cue, crawl, fetch, find, get, get in, get on, hand signals, high five, hold, jump, kennel, kiss, paws up, push-ups, shake hands, spin, touch, tunnel and/or two of your choosing.

For the TKI title, you must also perform ten tricks.You can choose from the following list, but must not use the same ones you used for the TKN: balance treat on nose or head, carry, catch, crawl, fetch, game, go find, go to your place, hand signals, jump through handler’s arms or over leg, leg weave, paw up, pull toy, push button, roll over, shell game, sit pretty, wave, weave poles, wobble board, and/or two of your choosing.For the TKA, you need ten tricks not previously submitted for the other titles.The tricks for this level are: back up, balance, barrel, bow, circle left and right, cover your eyes, cover yourself, go hide, head down, hide your head, jump into arms, jump over handler’s back, turn on light, open door, play dead, scent articles, sit or down at a distance, pull tissue out of box, put toys away, weave poles, and/or two of your choosing.

For the TKP, you will again need to perform ten tricks and these must not have been previously submitted.Among the requirements for this level is the fact that you must use props for three of the tricks.The list of tricks for this level are: Be buried under toys and poke head out on cue, carry stuffed animal, dig, get in suitcase, jump through tissue hoop, jump up and down or wiggle with excitement, turn its belly up, leg lift, limp, nod or shake head, pull bag of objects, run around person or post, sit pretty while holding something between paws.

For the highest level, the TKE, you will need ten tricks from the advanced and performer lists, five of which must be from the performer level.Another requirement is that for five of the tricks you have to use props.This level also requires you have a story or script, such that you would use to entertain people, and it must be videotaped without cuts – that is, no stopping and starting the camera.This level will be judged by the AKC when you send in the video.

Once you’ve perfected the art of trick dog training and your dog has mastered the tricks, you are ready to start your career in entertainment.You and your dog will be celebrated acts in no time; the likes of which haven’t been seen since Lassie or Rin-Tin-Tin. Or, at the very least, your bag of tricks will come in handy for when you take your Rover on therapy visits. For more information on the AKCs Trick Dog program, go to:

If you enjoy Christina’s writing, check her books out! She is the author of “Chester Gigolo: Diary of a Dog Star” and “Insider Training: Chester Gigolo’s Dog Training Secrets Revealed” for which she won the 2016 DWAA Captain Haggerty award for Best Training Book and the 11th Annual National Indie Excellence Award (Animals & Pets). She is also a contributing author to “Animal Stars: Behind the Scenes with Your Favorite Animal Actors”. She has written multiple articles which have appeared in various international publications.