Dog tricks have more than just a high cute factor. They are great motivators for your dog. Believe me, not a week goes by that I don’t get asked – at least once or twice — to teach a dog a trick because it’s cute and the dog owner just wants to be able to show off his smart dog with, “Watch my dog do this really cute trick!”
Come on, admit it. You have too, right?
Even though dog tricks have a high cute factor, there is added “hidden value” to dog tricks. Check of just some of the benefits of dog tricks.
• Dog tricks can take you in a fun direction beyond the basics.
• Dog tricks are a fun way to exercise your dog inside and out of in-climate weather.
• Dog tricks can strengthen the bond between you and your dog.
• If you have kids, trick training is a way to keep them interested in dog training!
• Dog tricks help to build confidence in your dog.
• They’re easy because you can make a trick out of something your dog already does.
Let’s talk about these benefits.
Dog tricks can take you beyond the basics.
Teaching your dog sit, down and come when called – while very important commands – can get just plain boring and, if you are like me, it kind of begs the question, “What else is there?”
BUT – the basics are important as foundation commands your dog should know “in order to do tricks.”
An example would be: In order to better teach your dog to roll-over, it would be good if your dog knew how to lay down first. If you wanted to teach your dog to wave or shake, it would work better if your dog knew the sit command.
Learning the basics should be the first step in doing tricks because of how some basic commands are integrated as “first steps” in many dog tricks.
Trick training your dog keeps his listening skills sharp.
He not only becomes a better listener, he begins to anticipate doing fun things with you and becomes more compliant in a natural way.
Good, bad weather exercise.
Lots of exercise awaits your dog as you plan to teach him “roll-over” or “crawl.” It’s great fun and can be easily taught indoors out of the heat and/or rain! Creating mental fatigue along with getting your dog physically tired can be a “double-header” for you on those extreme weather days.
Every time you do things with your dog, he loves you more. Just make sure you keep it mutually beneficial. Both you and your dog have to get something from working together.
Dogs are pack animals and if there is one thing that is very evident, it’s the more “inclusive” your relationship is with your dog, that is, the more your dog is included in the things you do, the more bonded he becomes to you and the more he WANTS to please you. He is less stressed and you have fewer behavior problems.
Dog tricks keep training fun for kids (age-appropriate interaction, please.)
Let’s face it; kids know what’s cool and what’s not cool. Getting the family dog to do a sit is cool at first but it does get boring and is no longer cool. But sit and “High Five!” is really cool – especially in front of your friends! Lying down is cool at first but looses its cool quickly. Add a roll-over to the down and the “cool-factor” goes through the roof! Kids love it. Dogs love it. It’s mutually beneficial. It pays dividends.
Dog tricks are great confident builders.
Some dogs are very soft and just lack confidence. What a better way to build confidence in your dog than to train your dog using tricks. Being able to perform dog tricks is the beginning to teach your dog that he is in control of his environment. Making certain choices (performing tricks) causes things to happen – praise/treat(s). That’s confidence!
It’s Easy to Take What Your Dog Already Does and Make it A Trick
I have often just observed a dog and decided that what I see them doing naturally would be a great trick. What do I mean?
Here’s a great example.
Our past Greyhound, Katie, the “couch potato queen” used to wake up from her naps on the couch, hit the floor and do a really long stretch – butt up in the air and front elbows on the ground — nothing like a good stretch after a nap to get the juices flowing again! It looked so cute I decided to make a trick out of it.
I just needed to call it something like “take a bow.”
My next step was to catch her every time she did her stretch so that I could praise/treat her. In no time at all I had a new trick – on command.
So in summary dog tricks can take you in a new, fun direction with your training outside or in doors out of the extreme weather, build confidence and a bond that will never break – all while entertaining the kids!
The main thing is to have fun and enjoy the ride. Don’t get too hung up on the “hurry up and finish part” – it will come soon enough.
Here’s Another Example
Here’s a YouTube video of CeCe a little dog here in Houston. I taught her these tricks and because of those tricks she landed 2 commercials here in Houston. The last one for Center Point Energy. May I introduce Miss CeCe Spain! CLICK HERE
If this sounds AND looks like fun, check out my Train A Trick A Day.
“Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”
Jim Burwell, professional dog trainer for 25+ years, serving 8700+ clients, has a profound understanding of dog behavior and the many things, we as humans, do that influence that behavior – good or bad. Jim has the ability to not only steer dogs and puppies down the right path but to also train the owners to understand their part in having a great dog.