Lesson 1 - Teaching Bang without a lure

Teaching Bang without a lure

What 'Bang' should look like
The dog plays dead on its back or side (as if it has been shot) when the owner says the cue "Bang" and points a pretend gun at the dog. The dog must complete this trick with the verbal cue and a hand signal (a big one if need be) but without a treat being held in the owner's hand.
Starting position

The dog can start this trick in any position, although it looks best from a stand so we will teach it from this position. But you can do it from either a sit or a down if that makes it easier.

Bringing in a lure

With your dog in a stand, take a treat and lure your dog into a sit and then into a down. You don’t want to use any cues or words at this stage except the word "yes" when your dog's elbows and belly touch the floor. Whenever we say the word "yes", it means the dog has done something we like and we want them to repeat this. We encourage them to repeat these behaviours by giving a small tasty treat each time we say "yes". Repeat this once or twice so the dog is getting good at following the treat.
Moving into the down position and roll on their side
Once you feel your dog is getting good at following the treat from a stand in to a sit and then in to a down, then you want to start to get the dog to roll its hips on to one side. (You could also see if your dog will go straight from a stand in to a down for an extra level of difficulty.)
To do this, move the treat in your hand slightly to one side of the dog's face so it turns its head, cue "yes" and feed the treat.

Repeat this but each time, lure the dog a little further and lower so it turns its face further to one side and down towards its own elbow. Each time the dog goes a little further cue "yes" and feed.

As you do this part, the dog is likely to roll its hips over and effectively get comfortable in the down position: cue "yes" and feed. We want the dog to know that rolling its body over is the desired behaviour so you can make a bigger deal of this step - perhaps by feeding a second treat and adding more praise the first time they do it.
Changing where they receive their treat
Now the dog is rolled onto its hips, you will continue to move the treat round the side of your dog's body in the same direction as before. Each time the dog reaches further for the treat but without getting up or shuffling backwards, it receives another "yes" and a tasty treat.
You are now aiming to get your dog to eventually take a treat from either their rear leg or lower rib line (this depends on your dog - if you struggle with this step, please post a video and we will advise you). When they do this, most dogs will at some point also roll their shoulder on to the floor to reach the treat, if your dog does this we will say ‘yes’ and give a reward but make it more impressive so again perhaps two and loads of praise.
If your dog is very flexible and bendy it may be able to reach the treat without rolling its shoulder so you may have to keep turning the dog back and over its ribs or shoulders to get it to roll on to its side or back. Again, each time your dog rolls a little more, make sure each new increment is rewarded with a "yes" and a treat just as the dog offers that little bit more movement towards the final trick.
If your dog completes the position either on their side or back, make sure they know that was just what you wanted by continually saying "yes" and rewarding all the time they hold the position. This huge reward for completing the behaviour should help them learn that we like that position.
Adding in your cue
Now you know you can get the dog to do the position, first add the word "bang" and point your finger gun at the dog, then take your treat and lure the dog all the way in to the ‘bang’ position. Massively reward your dog when it completes the 'bang'. Ideally, offer this reward in the position so that when the dog has eaten the treat, you can tell it "alive" or "ok" so that it knows it can get up.
Repeat this until you see some slight anticipation that your dog knows what you are going to ask for and perhaps does some of the behaviour itself.
Losing the lure
Now it is time to lose the lure. Pretend you still have the treat in your hand, cue the dog with "bang", show the dog the hand signal (gun), then lure the dog as normal - but this time there is no treat in your hand. When the dog completes the behaviour and rolls onto its side or back, mark the behaviour but this time reward immediately from the other hand (the one you were not luring the dog with). Be very generous with your rewards - you want the dog to love this trick.
Each time you repeat this, extend the time between when you cue the dog/show the hand signal and use your hand to show the dog what to do, just by half seconds. Your dog should anticipate what it is you want and instead of waiting for the empty lure hand to show them, they should start to offer the behaviour on their own.


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