6 Reasons to Teach your Dog Tricks Starting Today
Teaching your dog some tricks is great fun. (See our Tricks and Training section for some great tricks).
As a dog owner, you will probably have been asked “what tricks can he/she do?”, and being able to show off your dogs repertoire is always satisfying. But dog tricks are great for more than just showing off, and teaching your dog plenty of tricks should be an automatic part of training your dog, here’s why:
1. It Teaches Them to Listen
Ever found it hard to recall your dog on a walk? Usually a dog will associate being recalled on a walk to being put back on his lead: end of fun. The trouble is, a lot of commands we give our dog usually (from their point of view) means and end of whatever fun thing they were doing (chasing a rabbit, wanting to eat that piece of chocolate you dropped). It means the commands you give are BORING!
Teaching your dog tricks is a great way to balance the scales here. Its a great way to teach your dog that things you say are fun! They result in treats or praise.
This is especially important when your dog could be in a dangerous situation. Is your dog about to run out onto a busy road? You will be glad you taught him/her to listen, it could save their life.
Try this: Everyday, practice tricks with your dog, and offer lots of praise. When you recall on walks, use the same voice, and offer the same treats/praise/rewards. He will soon WANT to listen to every word!
2. It Boosts Their Confidence
Dogs, like humans, all have different personalities. But few dogs are 100% confident from the word go. They may be timid or scared around new objects, noises, people and dogs. Training your dog to do tricks usually involves lots of praise, treats and attention. All this positive attention means they learn, not just the trick, but that trying new things isn’t scary, in fact its fun. It teaches them self-confidence. Remember when you were younger and you accomplished something, and received praised for it? Boosted your confidence right? Well, it’s just the same with your dog!
3. It Kills Boredom
Yawwwwn! Sometimes a dog’s day can be boring. When done right (with lots of praise and treats), learning a new trick can be great fun for your dog. Learning a new trick to a dog isn’t like learning to us. We may think “learning, like in school? That’s boring!”. But to a dog its more like learning a new game, and games are always fun!
4. Its Great Mental Exercise
Why do people who work in offices, who are sat behind their desk all day, come home tired? They haven’t exactly burnt much energy all day have they? Wrong! Using your brain burns a lot of calories. Mental exercise is just as important (and tiring, but in a different way) as physical exercise. A balance of both is ideal, and giving your dog some mental exercise should be part of your dogs exercise routine. Ever tried to learn something new and found it fun, but quickly got mentally tired? Tricks are a great way of giving your dog some much needed mental stimulation. Especially on them days where it may just not be possible to take your dog for a walk, some mental exercise will be much appreciated by your pooch.
Try this: Teach you dog hide and seek with treats or with a toy your dog can sniff out. Not only will the initial learning of the trick be fun and stimulating, but its a trick that can be used over and over as a great source of mental and physical exercise on those rainy days.
5. It Teaches Who’s Boss
Tricks makes your dog work for their reward. It teaches them not to snatch from you, to respect you, to listen to you. Tricks teach you dog its good to see you as a boss. They listen and you provide (be it entertainment or food).
Try this: At meal times, dish out your dogs food, and make him wait. Go through a routine of 5 or 6 tricks before allowing your dog his food. Do this every day and your dog will learn to listen to every command, and be very willing and wanting to please.
6. It Creates a Strong Bond
Your dog loves you. But like all relationships, some bonds can be stronger than others. Play, providing fun and teaching who is boss (in the correct way) really strengthens the bonds between you and your dog. Have fun, and train new tricks to your dog on a regular basis, and you will have a happier, more alert, more obedient dog!
For more about tricks, and walk throughs for different tricks, see our “Training Tricks” section.