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  • Writer's pictureAmy Siracusa

Everything You Need to Know about the AKC Trick Dog Test

Updated: Apr 3, 2020

I have been getting a lot of questions about the Trick Dog testing now that testing is available online (which is awesome)!

Here are some of the common questions I have received about the Trick Dog testing in the last few weeks followed by answers for you. I will continue to update as I receive questions. At the end you will also see a step-by-step on how to sign up and what to expect when.

Can my video be in segments, or does it have to be all in one recording?

  • Your video can be done either way! I personally, would prefer the least amount of segments and editing possible since if you were to take the assessment in person we would be completing the tricks all at once. But you can either take short segments or do one longer recording.

Am I allowed to use treats during the video?

  • Yes and no... Some of the levels you can use treats and some you cannot. You will notice that in some levels you may use a treat as a lure and others you may use a treat as a reinforcer. When using a treat as a lure, you are using the treat to guide the dog into the position. To use a treat as a reinforcer, you as marking the behavior then treating the dog (once the behavior is complete -- think click then treat). Below is the short version for each level:

  1. Trick Dog Novice: Yes! You can use treats as a reinforcer and as a lure if needed.

  2. Trick Dog Intermediate: Yes, but, you can only use a treat as a reinforcer. No luring the dog (unless specifically stated in the trick criteria).

  3. Trick Dog Advanced: Yes, but only as a reinforcer. Absolutely no luring.

  4. Trick Dog Performer: Yes, but only as a reinforcer at the end.

How many tricks do I need to complete? How many times do I need to do each trick?

  1. Trick Dog Novice: 10 tricks, each trick should be performed 2 times.

  2. Trick Dog Intermediate: 10 tricks, each trick should be performed 2 times.

  3. Trick Dog Advanced: 10 tricks, each trick should be performed 1 time.

  4. Trick Dog Performer: 10 tricks, each trick should be performed 1 time.

Can I re-use tricks for the different levels?

  • No, you need to use different tricks for each of the levels. My best recommendation for you is to pick tricks from each of the level sheets and to keep a record of which tricks were used for each of the levels. That way there are no questions asked when you start your evaluation as to if the trick was previously used. However, you are allowed to complete a harder version of the trick during the levels -- for example, a dog may jump over a low bar during the Trick Dog Novice but then jump over the handler's legs (or through their arms) during Trick Dog Intermediate.

What if I forgot what tricks I used?

  • If you forgot what tricks you used, please reach out to me. I will have a copy on hand for 1 year from your testing date. If you did not test with me, or it has been over a year. You can reach out the AKC in order find out what tricks you used in the past -- I cannot do this for you, you will need to submit the request yourself.

Step by Step to Sign Up:

1. Decide which title you would like to complete (they go in order to for our purposes we will use Novice screen shots)

2. Select your tricks to perform from the AKC Novice Trick Dog List.

3. Select the "Enroll" button on the Balanced K9s homepage.

4. Select "Online Training"

5. Select "AKC Virtual Trick Dog," then pick the date and time you would like your video to be reviewed by. This way I can have time to review the video, and if you would like we can meet to talk about the results :)

6. Fill out the registration form. Complete Terms and Agreements, pay and submit!

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