Have fun with some trick training
I often use trick training when I am training dogs even when a client has come to me for other issues, especially any fear-based behaviour like reactivity or any other that I call nuts and bolts training! Why??
Trick training is still training and in fact the benefit to trick training is when all around are losing their head with regards whatever behaviour the dog is doing/not doing this can be your savour!
Our dogs need to be learning their whole lives but as a nation we tend to stick to the puppy class and then that is it. OK training is not your favourite past time, I can understand that, not everyone is as obsessed with dogs as me. So why would you do trick training?
Trick training is still training you are using your dog’s brain and you are increasing their intelligence in doing so. That makes it easier for them to continue to learn things that you may feel are more important.
You start to have fun and giggle at your dog when they get it wrong, which means you are relaxed and happy, that is reinforcing for your dog.
Because you are having a good time, so is your dog and you are increasing your bond which is always great.
Learning and having fun with you increases your dog’s confidence which helps them believe in themselves and learn quicker,
Doing all the above, means your dog associates fun with training and you and is more likely to listen to you and therefore do the things you would like them to do that doesn’t involve tricks.
Got a high energy dog? This is much better for them than mindlessly chasing a ball, getting over aroused and having a lot of adrenaline racing through their bloodstream, which can turn your dog into an adrenaline junkie, which is not good for them mentally.
Physically tricks are often great for muscle toning and building stamina, so it is also beneficial to your dog’s health, and you are burning energy in a much calmer and mindful way.
OK, so there are seven useful things I have come up with off the top of my head for you to train your dog with tricks.
Trick training is underrated and under used in my opinion when we get a dog, we often forget that they have a brain and just like every other muscle in the body it needs to be exercises for it to work and continue to develop.
A lot of dogs in our crazy busy world now suffer from anxiety and stress, just like humans! When we are anxious it is often prescribed that we do something that we find soothing and fun! So why not do the same for your dog, in fact if you are suffering from anxiety doing some training with your dog is likely to make you feel better!
The benefits of tricks for our dogs are not only mental with the stimulation that they require every day but physically it can have a huge impact on them, building muscle strength in areas all over their body that may not get that work out from just walking! And this is controlled exercise unlike the ball thrower which increases our dog’s arousal to such a level that they are often injuring themselves without noticing due to the adrenalin rush in their blood stream!
You will find even with a high energy dog if you start with short training sessions, building their mental stimulation and in turn their mental stamina you have a dog that would normally look for trouble now is fast asleep in their bed, exhausted, calm, and happy!
Those reactive dogs you see in the park bouncing on the end of their lead are 99% of the time doing that because they are being a big scary monster to scare away the things that they are terrified off! As owners when our dog is barking, lunging, or behaving in a way we find embarrassing we often will reprimand the dog when what we need to do is show them, we are on their side and take them away from the big scary thing!
Trick training can have a huge impact on your relationship with your dog, you are learning with your dog, it is a team activity you are not just barking orders at your dog, you are a team! Just like above, those dogs that come back stressed from a walk, well why not swap a walk for a training session so they get mental stimulation, and you get a calm, happy, relaxed, tired dog!
Have you ever watched those dogs on the TV and thought, my dog can’t do that? Well, they can, you just haven’t taken the time to teach them! Trick training is like a jigsaw puzzle, you teach pieces of the behaviour and build to a final behaviour! One of Daisy’s favourite tricks is her Bang Dead! I shoot her with my finger, and she throws herself dramatically down as though she has been shot, and if I shoot her again, she will jolt her body as the ‘bullet’ enters her body! It is a great fun trick and people love it, but more importantly Daisy loves it!
We are excited to be able to start offering trick training in January so you can have some serious fun with your dog, and remember they are never too old to learn!!