Show me the money

In this game you are going to teach your dog to indicate to you a 50p coin that has been placed on the floor. The aim is for your dog to show you where the coin is by using its nose by either hovering just above it or touching it and then holding the position.

This game involves the rapid firing of treats each time your dog indicates the coin. To avoid having the dog spend time finding the treats its best to work this game indoors or on a hard surface. If training on grass your dog will spend too much time sniffing in the grass to locate the treat. If you must train outdoors on grass use a decent sized mat and place the coin on the mat.

For this exercise I tend not to use the clicker but a verbal calm maker, you can also manage this exercise without any verbal markers, just by rewarding with the food.

Place the coin on the floor in front of your dog. As soon as your dog investigates it with it nose throw a treat as near to the coin as possible before your dog looks up from the coin. When working on a hard surface its best to use soft treats as these tend not to bounce away when they hit the floor and stay closer to the coin (Small pieces of hotdog sausages work really well).

As you want to reinforce the coin, every time you dog places it nose near the coin throw a treat near to the coin, do not reward the dog for looking up at you. Your timing is going to be very important. What we are trying to convince your dog is that each time it looks at the coin food miraculously appears. The trick is to reward quickly from high up so your dog does not look back at you and stays focused on the coin.

Another tip that can help with the training of this exercise it to train it whilst your dog is in a middle position between your legs with the coin in front of you both. In the middle position its harder for your dog to turn its head to look up at you so it helps maintain the focus on the coin. Each time the dog looks at the coin you gently throw the treat past its head at the coin.

When your dog starts to understand the exercise start adding a delay from when it indicates the coin and keeps its head down staring at it to when you throw the reward. This will result in your dog giving you a sustained indication of the coin.

The following video of Mehwi shows the final indication behaviour that we are looking to achieve. This was Mehwi’s very last training session to show you what you are looking for. It is a very emotional video that Iain just took by chance. Mehwi was not himself that day, he was just back from 24h on the drip at the vet. Although we thought he was on the mend, he passed away 3 days later from an unknown illness. These were his very last videos.

Mehwi was at a more advanced level, I was feeding him from my hand rather than around or above the coin, and you can see how he is turning his head towards me expecting his reward. This is why it is important to reward for quite a while above the coin or around the coin and try to fade your position as soon as possible or your dog will not be able to freeze on the coin.