To be honest, all a trick is, is a taught behaviour. Whether we are teaching a dog to sit, lay down, to come, to spin in a circle, to walk backwards, to hold something in their mouths – it is all just behaviours.
So what are the benefits?
I see a number of dogs with behavioural issues that are ultimately caused by boredom and by a lack of mental stimulation. Dogs love using their brains (remember they were all bred initially to work), and now they are kept mainly as pet dogs, so they can get bored.
By doing just ten minutes of trick training at a time, they will be mentally fatigued, and therefore calmer and more settled around the house. My dogs are definitely more sleepy after a tricks training session than a long walk where they could run around forever it seems!
It is a great way for you to bond with your dog, and a great way for children to get involved with the dog’s training. Trick training will also help with your dog’s general obedience and they will enjoy working for you.
Trick training can be a great way to prevent unwanted behaviours and teach your dog what you would like them to do instead. Got a dog that jumps up at visitors? Teach them to run to a mat when the doorbell rings, or fetch a toy from their toy box. Does your dog bark and lunge at other dogs walking past? Teach an incompatible behaviour such as spinning, or putting their front paws on a log instead. By redirecting your dog’s attention and asking them to do something they enjoy, can help to change their emotional response towards things they would usually react fearfully to.
A lot of tricks also involve a lot of body awareness so can be great for their overall fitness, building up muscle tone, stamina and flexibility which can all help to prevent injury. Their concentration will improve, they become better problem-solvers and they are just more pleasant to have around.
Tricks can suit all ages and breeds of dog depending on the types of trick you teach – not every trick will suit every dog. But there is something for everyone!
Whilst we are in lockdown, there is no better time than to start teaching your dog new behaviours! Come and join us in our online 14 Day Tricks Challenge starting Friday 17 April on Facebook. Just £7 for 14 days!! You will get taught a trick a day and you can submit your own videos for feedback. Suitable for all ages of dog and there will be levels of progression for all tricks, from beginners to advanced.
Message Chantal on 07739 815 265 or [email protected] to join now!