Generalizing Dog Behavior and Tricks with #Sojos


I usually ask Mr. N to perform some tricks during spare moments while we’re out and about. Mr. N often does tricks for people on store counters, while we’re waiting in line, and in the middle of walks.
Generalizing (responding to cues in environments different from the one that it was learned in) can be hard for dogs so doing this exposes Mr. N to practicing his tricks in a variety of settings and among different distractions. Your dog may sit in the living room but not outdoors in a park with squirrels which is why we’re always practicing to build up fluency and improve on the three D’s (distractions, duration and distance).

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The tricks we practice tend to be ones without props and those that can be done in tiny spaces while being mostly stationary.  Due to Mr. N’s compact size, space is not a huge concern but for bigger dogs, you don’t want them knocking into things and people. Some of the tricks that we practice:

  • Touch
  • High five/shake/fist bump variants
  • Take a bow
  • Cover your eyes
  • Sit/down/stand
  • Are you sad (down with head on the ground)?
  • Cross your paws
  • Wave
  • Lick your nose
Mr. N believes that work well done should be rewarded appropriately and he has strict standards for what an appropriate reward should be. I took him to the pet store and out of the treats the employees offered him, he rejected half, spat out 1/4 and ate 1/4. The other dogs in the store were happy to eat his rejects.

I like to make sure the treats I am giving him are healthy so if I have to adjust his food intake due to a lot of training that day, he’s not filling up on junk. We only have so many calories a day to work with and raw food is not the easiest to use for training.

We like Sojos treats because they are single-ingredient protein treats, easy to stick in my purse and carry it around, and meet Mr. N’s exacting standards.  He likes raw food and people food the best of course but these run a close second. And they fare much better in my purse for long periods. Like all freeze-dried treats, there tends to be some crumbling. I save the crumbs and toss them in with Mr. N’s regular food as a topper. They come in a number of  different proteins too which is nice for dogs with allergies and for variety’s sake.

We are doing a giveaway for Sojos treats for two lucky winners. What sorts of tricks or behaviors will you be practicing with your dog?

This post was sponsored by Sojos. They are not responsible for the contents of this article. All opinions expressed are our own.




22 Responses

  1. Beth

    June 20, 2016 5:22 pm

    We practice a lot of those same tricks when we have to do anything that requires us to be in one spot for a while. We also practice balancing treats on her paws a lot, too, because that's excellent for making sure Barley practices patience and she knows that she'll get a big reward in the end!

  2. Talent Hounds

    June 23, 2016 1:16 am

    Love Mr N's tricks. I do the same with Kilo the Pug. He will eat just about anything and feels he should be rewarded often LOL. I have been wanting to try Sojos – I have heard good things about them. I'll have to see where I can get them in Canada

    • Talent Hounds

      February 19, 2017 5:07 pm

      I was just practising this yesterday by the waterfront. I find it makes Kilo much less anxious if he focuses on doing a trick for a treat. He makes people smile and has fun. I do it when strangers come in the house too. He now goes and sits on a foot stool, does some tricks and gets paid well – he then is happy to see people. I'll have to look for Sojos again.

  3. Janet Keefe

    June 23, 2016 7:41 pm

    I bet Mr. N draws quite a crowd when he's performing! Luke is not picky about his training treats, but he loves this type and I always like to mix up the ones he loves with simple things like kibble. We've tried other Sojo's treats, but not these, and I think they are a great company with quality products.
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

  4. Shelley P

    June 27, 2016 2:09 am

    I subscribe to your RSS Feed via Yahoo through a different email than I entered from. I don't want to post it here but can give it to you if needed to verify 🙂

  5. Cathy Armato

    February 17, 2017 12:29 pm

    That's a really important point, dogs will often perform commands and tricks in the living room but once you leave the house it's a different story. I practice basic commands with Icy & Phoebe when we're out on walks or at PetSmart. Practicing with distractions helps them really get it. Mr. N is so adorable in this video! What a great job, I love the little fist bump he does, so cute!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  6. Kimberly Freeman

    February 17, 2017 6:02 pm

    Omg yes. The 3Ds are so important.
    So many people get frustrated that their dog won't "perform" when out and about. But it's because hey haven't taught the trick anywhere other than the front room!!
    Dogs sadly can't generalize behaviors.

    Great article

  7. Hindy Pearson

    February 17, 2017 8:38 pm

    Such a brilliant idea, getting Mr N to do tricks in different environments. You're so right, it's one thing to get your dog to sit in the living room when no one else is around, but what about in the park with distractions everywhere. I do train Jack when we're out and about, but I'll have to do it more regularly.

  8. Pawesome Cats

    February 18, 2017 8:18 am

    That's a lotta treats for a little dog – sure hope Mr N. plans to share with his doggy friends. PS. I love the idea of trying tricks in different environments and the 3Ds is a great concept.

  9. Sherri Telenko

    February 20, 2017 7:27 pm

    My dog would likely just eat these … maybe. He's very picky which makes him hard to train, and impossible to get to do tricks. Years ago my nephew taught him to turn in a circle but since his ACL operation, that's not an option.


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