People often differentiate between “obedience” training for their dogs, and “trick” training.  Often we minimize behaviors that we label as “tricks,”  when in fact they can be very useful skills to teach.

Why should you teach your dog more tricks?

  • Any time you are using positive reinforcement to teach your dog something new, you are strengthening your bond, providing mental enrichment, and increasing your dog’s likelihood to respond to your cues.
  • Because we often take tricks less seriously, we allow ourselves to relax and be more fun in the training.  This is likely why many times these “tricks” are a dog’s favorite behaviors to perform!
  • Many tricks involve a dog moving their body in different ways, making them a good way to stretch, strengthen, and warm up your dog before exercise.
  • Tricks can also be very useful.  A dog that gives a “high five” can be trained to file their own nails by swiping at a board with sandpaper on it.  A dog can be trained to spin in circles on a towel to dry their feet off.  A retrieve can turn into a dog that can bring you the remote!

Don’t minimize the importance and value of those silly, fun behaviors.  Your dog will enjoy learning more tricks, and you will have fun, too!  Get some more ideas of tricks to train your dog here; you can even earn a “Trick Dog” title!