Halloween Dog Trick: Hold


Going to grandmother’s house.
I freely admit it. I taught Mr. N a “hold” purely for photo purposes. Now he’s quite good at holding things in his mouth for photos although he still doesn’t like metal objects.

I had a bit of trouble getting him to do it originally as he kept trying to retrieve the item instead of holding it in his mouth. What helped was having him do it in a down as then he couldn’t move to retrieve the item. I think I taught it backwards and most people start with the hold so this is probably not a common problem.

Basically, I rewarded him for any interaction with the object and then mouthing. Once he started holding it his mouth, we built up duration slowly. And Mr. N is super non-mouthy so if he can do it, any dog can! I had to teach him how to fetch using a bully stick.

Originally, I was going to have him hold a toy saw but I have no idea where we stowed it in the basement and I couldn’t find it. So we improvised and did a Red Riding Hood-themed hold instead. Other objects that could work: bones, zombies (the stuffed kind), pumpkins, and treat baskets.

Do you have a favorite Halloween-themed trick?

Welcome to First Monday’s Positive Pet Training Blog Hop hosted by Tenacious Little Terrier and Rubicon Days. Please share your responsible pet owner positive pet training tips by linking a blog post or leaving a comment below.  Our theme for this month is Halloween-themed tricks but any positive reinforcement training posts or comments are also always welcome. The Positive Pet Training Blog Hop goes all week long. Our next hop will begin November 7th and continues for a week. November’s theme is indoor activities and games and December’s is training gifts (a training gift you have given your dog, such as working slowly through something scary like nail trimming, or conversely, a training gift your dog has given YOU!) 





50 Responses

  1. AmyShojai

    October 5, 2016 10:33 pm

    Magic's "trick" is to do anything and everything (he goes through the entire list of commands all on his own) to get me to produce the treat/toy/whatever. *s*

  2. Amber Ketchum

    October 5, 2016 11:50 pm

    This is great and can be used in other ways later! My favorite halloween themed trick is BANG! Gremlin isn't much for acting but he "dies" on command which is all I can ask him to do lol!

  3. Cathy Armato

    October 6, 2016 3:21 am

    I've not had luck with Hold. My dogs can both Take It and Drop It but Hold escapes me – they keep dropping the object! That is a pretty large object he has in his mouth in the photo, that's impressive!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    • Tenacious Little Terrier

      October 6, 2016 7:37 am

      Yes, duration is key! It took him a few days to build up duration so he wasn't dropping it as soon as he put it in his mouth. Mr. N is also better with any kind of duration activity if there's a camera in front of him lol.

  4. Valérie Desmet

    October 6, 2016 7:58 am

    This picture is so adorable!! James has no problem, running around with toys in his mouth, but he can't go down the stairs with them. It's just too much to focus on, haha!!

  5. Hindy Pearson

    October 6, 2016 8:46 am

    Mr N is way too cute for words!! I never thought of teaching Jack "hold" I've focused on drop it and leave it. I might try hold next. If he cooperates I'll post a pic.

  6. Janet Keefe

    October 6, 2016 11:35 am

    Great job! I need to teach Luke to hold as well, also for photo purposes! I can get him to pick things up and "bring it" but I'll have to figure out how to get him to hold on to them. Since he also knows "pick up" I can probably go from there.
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

  7. Talent Hounds

    October 6, 2016 3:53 pm

    Good boy Mr N- you are my inspiration. I have not had luck teaching a solid drop it or hold yet. They both work occasionally but not under pressure. Kilo will hold a bully stick briefly but then bolt off with it and not give it back. He'll hold his toys and loves chewing them but he guards everything. I think it may just take more time and work as he will now do wait very well any time until he actually tastes the food. Once he starts tasting, he loses his mind.

    • Tenacious Little Terrier

      October 7, 2016 5:46 am

      It's hard when there's a guarding issue too. Mr. N might tell other dogs to back off but he doesn't guard from humans at all. And Kilo is more food driven than Mr. N too. Maybe try something that had food on it so he wants to mouth it but won't actually eat it?

  8. Jean Dion

    October 8, 2016 7:59 pm

    I love that trick! I can see how you might use it as a precursor to "drop it." Sinead often does a head toss with "drop it" that turns into her chasing after the toy. If she had to hold it and then drop it in my outstretched hand, that would be a ton better.

    Jean from Welcome to the Menagerie


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.