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May 24, 2007

Sure, Lilly knows all kinds of regular tricks like shake, high-five, and rollover. In addition to all the agility things she later learned, Lilly originally jumped through a hoola-hoop and snuck across the floor on her belly. But, I’m always looking for ways to up the ante. So, I got out my exercise ball last summer and came up with something new.

It’s called Roll It, where Lilly pushes the ball in front of her, while walking behind it. She can go straight for long distances. She can make turns. It’s pretty funny. We do this up and down the driveway. People stare.

Teaching it took about 10 minutes a day for three days, along with a clicker, and some good treats.

Day 1
I rewarded her with clicks/treats for just putting her front feet on the ball. (I held it with my legs to keep it from moving so as not to scare her.)

Day 2
I stepped into her and rewarded her for stepping side to side with her back feet.

Day 3
I held the treat high and lured her up and forward. Without this step, she just fell onto the ball with her elbows and went nowhere. But, by focusing her attention up, I could get her to reach. The rolling and walking came naturally from there.

Some day, I’d like to get her up on the ball, rolling it from up top with all four feet like a true circus performer, but I worry she might get hurt, so we haven’t tried that yet. Skills are fun, but safety comes first.

About the Author Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related.

I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

  1. Rolling … Variations on a Theme

    Last Friday, I worked outside on the front patio while Tom began installing new windows in my office. I don’t typically work on Fridays during the summer (a tiny bonus of being self-employed), but since he was busy, and I was in NO mood to clean house, I worked. After spending hours and hours and hours transcribing interviews, I got camera happy. Here are some tricks I thought you might enjoy seeing.

  2. Have you seen this one?

    The second part of our video interview was more about gathering footage of Lilly playing (or whatever) that they can use (I’m assuming) with audio from me talking about her. Since
    regular readers know that it’s hard to get Lilly to “play” in public, I decided to go with tricks instead. …

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