Tricks for Treats
Have you ever thought about teaching your dog some tricks?
Adding some regular brainwork like trick training to your dog’s routine is fun for them and results in a different kind of tired – one that lowers frantic energy and encourages calm behaviour.
Trick training is also a great way to teach your dog self-regulation and to enhance your relationship with your dog.
Tricks Can Make You a Better Trainer
Teaching tricks allows you to practice your skills and timing without fear of making a mistake so both you and your dog are more relaxed. Because tricks are usually about shaping a series of steps, it can help you learn a lot about the subtleties of dog body language. You can then take your newly honed skills and work on making your obedience cues more impressive.
Tricks Can Build Self Control
A lack of self-control or self-regulation is related to many common dog behaviour issues: jumping up on people, bolting out the door, pulling on leash, mouthy behaviour, playing roughly, etc.
Many tricks involve a quick release of controlled motion followed by stillness, like “Spin” or “Play Dead.” That’s self-control: a burst of energy followed by a pause and then a reward. The “performance” can then be reinforced by a chance to do it again – that’s good training.
Tricks for the “Do-Over” Dog
When you adopt a dog, it can take time for them to trust you and to trust that their new situation is permanent, particularly if the dog has had multiple homes.
Trick training is a good way to begin building your relationship with your new dog.
Because tricks are just for fun, the training tends to be done in a less serious manner which puts less pressure on the learner. Our friends and family have fun watching our dog perform tricks which adds to our dog’s enjoyment and helps build their confidence.
Your new dog will learn that offering behaviour – learning to communicate with you – is safe. Your dog will blossom when they realize that there is no wrong answer. It’s a fun process that trainer and learner visibly enjoy. When you move on to training more serious obedience cues, your dog will be a happy participant and approach the training with just as much enthusiasm as learning tricks.
If you get hooked on trick training, you and your dog can work to attain Trick Training titles. There are four basic titles: Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, and Expert. From there, you can move on to earn the Trick Dog Champion and even Trick Dog Grand Champion titles!
You can earn titles online by submitting video for assessment to Certified Trick Dog Instructors (CTDI) who advertise this service.
If you want to get started making your dog a Trick Star, visit this link for some information on what’s involved: domorewithyourdog.com/DogTricks/
For training tips, check out the YouTube channel, Dog Training by Kikopup, and search her video library for “tricks” for some good free content.
Give tricks a try and have some fun!