7 Steps to Training Your Very Own Piano Playing Pooch
He may not master the "Moonlight Sonata,” but your dog can learn to play a keyboard with a few easy steps.
September Morn and Samantha Meyers |
Posted: May 9, 2014, 12 p.m. PST
Want your dog to do a cool party trick that's sure to impress? Or maybe your dog has his sights set on keyboard cat's internet fame. Whatever your motivation, it's never a bad idea to have a piano playing dog on hand.
If you don’t have a keyboard or piano, you can find small, inexpensive keyboards and toy pianos at thrift stores. Choose one that won’t flip if your dog paws the keys enthusiastically.
7 Steps to training Your Own Mutt-zart
1. Place the keyboard on the floor between you and your dog. Hopefully, she’ll be curious and look at it. To mark that moment, click a training clicker or say "yes,” and then give her a treat.
At first she might just stare at you, hoping for treats. This is completely normal - don't give up yet! Look at the keyboard instead of directly at her, and each time she glances toward it, mark and reward with treats.
2. Touch a key with your hand or foot to make a tone. Mark when you do this and give a treat to your dog. Repeat several times. Then wait.
3. Glance at your dog, then at the keyboard. Mark and reward if he looks at it. Wait, and watch closely.
4. Encourage him to move his paws by shifting your feet. If a paw touches the keyboard anywhere, even accidentally, mark and reward the behavior.
5. After a few accidental touches to the keyboard, each earning a mark and reward, your dog will get curious and touch the keyboard on purpose. Mark and reward this!
6. After 10 or 20 successful touches, wait until she hits a key, then mark and reward this behavior. After that, only mark and reward key hits. Once he realizes she can earn rewards for touching the keyboard, he’ll paw the keys repeatedly.
7. Put this trick on cue by saying, "Play the piano,” then rewarding your dog when he does.
Keep in mind that it may take some dogs longer than others to learn this trick, but with time and patience it is possible. Don't expect your dog to look like this on the first day
If all goes well, the end result should look something like this (with or without the singing):
10 Dogs Who Play the Piano and Sing Better Than Most Humans>>
*Please note DOG FANCY has no knowledge of your dog's interest or capacity for playing music. We would love to know if this trick rises your dog to internet celebrity status, however DOG FANCY is not responsible for dog's who insist on playing the piano while you are watching TV or sleeping.
Training your dog to do any kind of trick, big or small, keeps his brain active, interested and happy and can also help curb anxiety and energy related behavior problems.
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