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How to Teach a Dog the Freeze Trick aka Stick 'em Up Trick

Learn how to teach your dog the freeze trick, aka the stick 'em up trick, in this Howcast dog training video featuring dog trainer Andrea Arden.


"Freeze", or "stick 'em up", as I like to call it, is definitely a crowd-pleaser. It is a behavior or trick that is a variation on what we often refer to as "beg" or "sit pretty". For Jack, he does better with a "stick 'em up" because it helps balance out his body composition a little bit. He's very heavy in the front.

So what we're going to do is look for small variation on what the end result will be. Whenever you're training any behavior, what you want to know is what the end behavior is supposed to look like, and then you're just looking at what the dog does and breaking it down into small, achievable steps. What I definitely want to communicate to him when I'm training this is that I want his rear end on the ground and I want to see his paws start to come up.

So I'm going to use a clicker to communicate to him what he's done correctly, what he's getting a reward for. And slowly, I will shape him to the end result. So it's perfect that he's in a sitting position. That's what we need. I might click just to sit a couple times and reward it. So I click what he's doing right and I reward it. I'm just going to wait to see if he does anything with his feet. I'll even take that little stepping with his feet a little bit. I just wait for him, see if he offers anything. I took that.

It's a little bit of a waiting game.

Yes, good job. I'm looking for those paws to raise up. He's being a real good boy just offering me a sit. I can encourage it a little bit by kind of pressing my hand up and back. Good boy. I'm going to try to click when the paws come up as high as they can. Good job. I might go for a little duration. And when I feel like it looks like what I want it to, I can start throwing in a cue, when I feel fairly certain he's going to offer it. I like to use my finger, like I'm pointing a gun at him. Stick 'em up. Good. You want to show him the cue and then get the behavior. Good. Good job, Jack.

Now to make sure he understands that cue, I might throw in a few things that I know that he knows, such as a "down". Good. Ask him to sit. Good. I'm going to make sure he's making the connection between the stick 'em up behavior and the cue. I'll try that one. Stick 'em up. Yes, good job. And there you've got it.

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