CTDI Handbook for Setting Up a Dog Tricks Spark Team



  • What is a Spark team? >

    Each Spark team is a free Facebook group that runs for one month, with the goal of teaching enough new dog tricks for students to earn their Trick Dog title. A Spark team is beneficial for all dogs, and especially for dogs which do not thrive in class environments such as shy dogs and reactive dogs. The Spark format is a great option for CTDIs who aren't in a populated area, or are in an area that is not interested in positive training.
  • Who can coach a Spark Team? >

    Each team is coached by a CTDI. The coach sets the curriculum and films and posts instructional videos every week for their students. The CTDI earns credits as the students earn their titles.
  • How do I get students to join my team? >

    We will list your team on our website and publicize it on Facebook. You will reach out to your friendship base and publicize it to your community.
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Tips for starting an Intermediate or higher level team: Check their pre-req's

We have noticed that it really helps the titling process to be strict about the pre-reqs in the Spark groups. Check the title holders list... If they aren't on there, send them a message asking for a picture of their title and giving them a link to your Novice Spark group. Here is a sample message you can send:

Hi XXXX, I see that you requested to join the Intermediate Trick Dog Class. There is a pre-req of the the Novice Trick Dog Title. I looked through the list and did not see you; this may be because your name is displayed differently. If you could send me a picture of your trick dog title I can admit you to the class. If you do not have the novice title yet, you may join my novice class at... 

  • Spark Packs!

    Spark Packs!

    This is the perfect starter kit to any Spark Team student who wants to do more with their dog.
    $35.00 Time To Go Out Kit, Collapsible Hoop, Do More With Your Dog! Bandana, Mini Book, Blue Buffalo Promotional Products
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Ready to start a team? Follow these steps:

  • 1. Create a Facebook Account
  • 2. Create a Facebook Group
  • 3. Group Settings
  • 4. Add an Admin
  • 5. Add a Cover image
  • 6. Customize your title application form
  • 7. Add the Pinned post
  • 8. Let us know about your group!
  • 9. Make a rough curriculum for your 4-week class
  • 10. Make a video invitation
  • 11. Be ready to accept new people to the group.
  • 12. Do videos teaching tricks
  • 13. Keep the group motivated!
  • 14. Send a group email to all students

In Facebook Newsfeed look in the left sidebar and choose "Create Group".

Once you've created the group, go to "edit group settings".

  • Privacy: Public
  • Membership Approval: Any member can add members, but an admin must approve them.
  • Group Address: Something like BobsNTDSparkTeam
  • Description: SESSION STARTS JANUARY 1-- Ignite your passion for dog tricks! Join us for 4 weeks as we coach you through learning 15 new dog tricks. You can do it! Your totally excited coach is XXXX (CTDI). ***All the important info is in the post pinned to the top of the page***
  • Tags: Dog Tricks, Dog Training, Clicker Training, etc.
  • Posting Permissions: Members and admins can post to the group.
  • Post Approval: unchecked

Add Kyra Sundance as a member. Make her an Admin.

Add this cover image to your group.

Customize the image with your team name and photo. (Note that the image appears cropped on mobile devices, so keep your important info in the center)

You may wish to use this 1-page title application form. It is a PDF form, so you can download it and enter in your name and your Spark group name, and possibly all the tricks you will teach (or the student can handwrite in the tricks). This way the student will remember your name when it is time for them to submit their app online.

Download the customizable Spark title app

Facebook groups allow you to "pin" one post. This post always remains at the top of the page. This post will have all the important info for your students. You can edit this post every week to add new links to videos.

Note: on mobile devices there is a button at the top of the page that says "view pinned posts." People never realize to click that button, so we have to try really hard at the beginning to make sure everyone knows to read that pinned post. This has been our single biggest challenge.

We find it is best to not post links to all of your instrcutional videos in the first week. Keep your students focused by just giving tricks a few at a time.



PINNED POST:  Let's Get Started!
This Spark Team runs Jan 1 – Jan 31, 2015. Our goal is to teach 15 tricks to earn our dogs' official Novice Trick Dog title. 


Every week your coach will post trick videos (links are below). We'll teach you more tricks than you need to reach your goal, so it's OK to skip a few.  

Demonstrate your tricks for any witness or upload videos to this group.  

• Once you've demonstrated 15 tricks for any witness, submit your checklist here:
• Your names will be added to the official registry:
• You will receive a gold certificate in the mail. 
• Your dog's name will  be officially designated with the NTD suffix. 
• Bask in your awesomeness... you and your dog rock!

[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[ Week #3 Tricks ]]]]]]]]]]]
Coming Thurs. Nov.13

[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[ Week #2 Tricks ]]]]]]]]]]]

#10 — LAUNDRY BASKET (with coach Kelli-ann)

#9 — PEEKABOO (with coach Kelli-ann)

#8 — ROLL OUT THE CARPET (with coach Kelli-ann)

#7 — PAWS UP (with coach Kyra)

#6 — HIDE AND SEEK (builds on Stay) (with coach Kelli-ann)

[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[ Week #1 Tricks ]]]]]]]]]]]

#5 — STAY (with coach Kelli-ann)

#4 — MUFFIN TIN (with coach Kyra)

#3 — SIT  (with coach Kyra)

#2  — TOUCH MY HAND  (with coach Kyra)

#1 — SPIN CIRCLES  (with coach Kyra)

Novice tricks may be done on-leash to prevent the dog from running off. The leash shall not be used to pull the dog into the desired behavior. 

Treats (and/or toys) may be used as a reward after the trick is finished. Treats may be used as a lure, but only in the following amounts: no more than 50% of the tricks for the Novice title can employ a lure.

Physical Manipulation: 
Handler may not physically manipulate the dog to get him to do a trick. Petting the dog at any time is fine. Lightly tapping the dog to regain his attention is fine.

Service Dogs / Disabled Dogs / Very Senior Dogs:
These dogs and their handlers may need to alter the trick to work within their unique needs. This is fine. 

Extra Credit Trick: 
One additional trick of comparable difficulty may be used to count as a Novice or Intermediate trick.

FACEBOOK SETTINGS (so you don't miss a post):
Facebook on your desktop computer:
1. Click the "Notifications" button in the header and choose "all posts"
2. Click the "..." button in the header and choose "Add to favorites"

Facebook on your mobile device:
1. Click the header graphic
2. Click the "Edit Notification Settings" and choose "all posts"

Try to pick up a copy of "101 Dog Tricks" by Kyra Sundance. It has step-by-step trick instructions as well as really helpful tips and troubleshooting techniques.

Email us at the following email so we can list your Spark Team on our website.

Don't post your full curriculum to the pinned post in the beginning; you want to keep the students coming back every few days to learn the next thing.

Below is a sample curriculum. You may use this or change it. We found tricks 1-10 to be very well received, especially Muffin Tin, Roll out the Carpet, and Laundry Basket.


WEEK 1 - Oct 31:
GOAL: Get students to read the pinned post and print NTD checklist.
#3 SIT

WEEK 2 - Nov 6:
GOAL: Assure students that they are not falling behind, and can still make their goal. Talk about the importance of goals. Review criteria for tricks (lures, leashes, etc.) which can be found in the pinned post.
#6 HIDE AND SEEK (builds on Stay)

WEEK 3 - Nov 13:
GOAL: Talk about adding up their points and making a plan to reach their goal. Think about how many tricks they need to do each day/week. Start to get witness signoffs.
#13 SHELL GAME (builds on muffin tin)

WEEK 4 - Nov 20:
GOAL: Encourage them to submit their titles. Publicly congratulate students as they earn their titles.
#18 SAY YOUR PRAYERS/BOW HEAD (builds on paws up)

Make a short (30-90 second) video to explain what the Spark team is, and get people excited to join.

Sample video:

Also feel free to use our Youtube Videos or add a video explaining the trick in more detail after our Youtube Video.

Suggested content of the video:

— Hi, I’m XXXXXX, and I'm a Certified Trick Dog Instructor.
— I'm starting an interest group for beginner-level dogs and their owners.
— We're going to teach our dogs 15 fun, new tricks... things like Paws Up, Spin Circles, Crawl, and Shake Hands.
— We'll also try new games with our dogs like The Muffin Tin Game, Treat Under the Laundry Basket Game.
— I'm going to walk you through teach each new trick, and then you can post a video of your happy dog when he learns it.
— If you keep up with us for all 4 weeks, your dog will earn his Novice Trick Dog title and certificate! — This group will SPARK your interest in dog training.
— Click the link in the comments below to join the group, and make this the month to “do more with your dog!”

IMPORTANT: type the link to the Facebook group in the comments.

As each person requests to join the group, you'll need to approve their request in the right sidebar on the Facebook group page. It's nice to welcome them at that point, and remind them to read the pinned post.

Add a video every few days teaching a new trick. We've found the best method is to post the videos to youtube (make sure they are Public and not Private). Posting them directly to Facebook wasn't as successful, as more people were unable to view those videos on their different devices.

Post the links to your videos in the pinned post.

Post frequent encouragements.

Read the "Goals" in the sample curriculum above to keep students on track toward their titles.

If you go to your group settings, under the subtitle of "Web and email address," there is a link which lets you send an email that goes to every member of the group. You may wish to use this at the beginning of the month to send a short introductory email telling them about the pinned post and how to add the group to their "favorites" and how to turn on notifications.