Last Friday, I took out my clicker and treats, and Shyla bounced around me in excitement that we were going to train! I'd decided to try to teach her to cross her front paws as our 10 minute trick.
I planned to teach her to cross her paws by clicking and rewarding her every time she touched my hand with her right paw. She was lying down in front of me as we did this, and my plan was to gradually move my hand so that she had to cross her right paw over her left paw to touch it.
The first several times I showed her my hand, palm up, she pounced on it, touching it with her nose and both paws. I rewarded her for that crazy behavior because she was targeting my hand which was the first step in learning the trick.
After a minute or so, I started only clicking/rewarding her when she touched my hand with her right paw and nothing else. In a couple of minutes she understood this step. We were about 5 minutes into our 10 minute challenge at that point.
Then, when I started gradually positioning my hand so that she had to reach her right paw across her left paw to touch it, she regressed - and got so excited that she was pouncing on my hand with her nose and both paws again. I just waited her out, giving no clicks/rewards until she calmed down enough to touch my hand with just her right paw.
To be honest, we were at the 10 minute mark then. But, I felt that we were so close that I kept going a bit over the time limit. At about the 13 minute mark, she fully crossed her paws to touch my hand, although she held the position only briefly.
Then, by the 15 minute mark, I would tell her to "stay" when her paws became crossed, and I'd slide my hand out from under her paw. And she held that position!!!!!!
This was one of the first tricks I taught her with a clicker - resting her chin on the ground. And, it's one of her very favorite tricks.
Yup, she decided to rest her chin on her crossed paws. I congratulated her on her creativity and rewarded her for it. That's a side effect of positive training - a dog has the confidence to make up her own tricks!