Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Dog Tricks

Teaching your dog tricks is not only cute and fun, but actually quite beneficial to both you and the dog. Tricks are not just to be cute, nor are they only for small or cute dogs. Tricks are for all dogs and can help tremendously in curbing behavior problems. Dog tricks are especially great for very hyperactive dogs. All dogs can learn tricks, it's just a matter of finding what makes them tick.

Training your dog tricks, helps stimulate their mind and help to where them out. Physical exercise is not the only way to tire your dog. Making your dog think is actually quite exhausting for them too! Of course there are some breeds that are known for doing great tricks such as the Border Collie, and their are other breeds that are said to be 'slower' like the Rottweiler or the mastiff. I have to disagree, I think all breeds are excellent in learning tricks, again you just have to find what they want to work for. What do they find rewarding?

Once you find what they find rewarding, such as a favorite treat or toy, you can teach your dog anything you want. They Sky is the limit! When teaching your dog tricks, you want to start out with something easy such as shake. I recommend using the Clicker to train tricks, you can't beat the clicker!

What exactly is a clicker? It is simply a tool that makes a click sound to mark the exact second your dog does what you want. Each click equals they get a reward. Dogs catch on fast to what that click means and will try anything to make you click!

I recommend teaching your dog at least five easy type tricks, so both of you can get the hang of teaching and learning, along with how to manage clicker, rewards, and dogs. One great tool to have when teaching tricks is a Treat Bag. These are very useful in helping you have more hands. They keep your rewards right on you and are easy to get to. This treat bag is especially handy because it is made to stay wide open for easy grabbing of the treats, or closed so the treats don't fall out.

Once your dog is doing those five easy tricks, move on to something harder. Gradually build up to more challenging tricks. Soon you'll be having a dog doing service dog based tricks such as helping with laundry by putting laundry in the basket or even pulling the laundry basket to your washer for you. How about turning on and off lights? That's always a fun one and a crowd pleaser. Need a drink from the fridge? Send your dog! There are lots you can do with tricks!

Dog tricks don't only wear out your dog, they help give them a job to do. Dog's love having jobs to do and if you don't give them one, they will find themselves one such as chewing up your favorite shoes or designing the yard with nice big holes. Training your dog tricks, is also an excellent bonding experience for you both. Your dog will love you for teaching him tricks!

If your interested in teaching your dog tricks, there are many books out to get you started. Here's a list of some just to name a few:

If you'd rather learn how to teach your dog tricks by watching videos, here's some I recommend:

If your new to clicker training, I highly recommend starting with Clicking With Your Dog. This book is extremely useful and is actually the book that started me in clicker training. It also has a lot of useful tricks to teach your dog.

Trick of the week: Shake

This week's trick is to Shake. Where your dog will put his paw in your hand.

First, with your dog sitting, kneel down to face him. Hold a treat firmly in your hand so that your dog is able to smell it but not get it. Position your hand near his nose but to one side of his body so that he turns his head slightly. This will take the wight off the leg he is facing away from. Encourage him to try to get the treat. Most dogs will try to open your hand with a paw. As soon as his paw touches your hand, click, open your hand, and reward. Repeat this several times with both front paws. Then add in a verbal command just before you click, such as "Shake". If you want your dog to shake with both paws, one at a time, on cue, feel free to put a different cue on each paw. You can use 'Shake' for the right paw and 'left' or 'touch' for the left paw. Use what ever cue you want.

If your dog is having trouble with this, you can break it down for them. If they lift their paw just the tiniest bit off the floor, click and treat them! Build on that getting them to bring their paw up higher and higher, rewarding each effort. Praise big time when the paw actually gets in your hand!

Have fun with this! This is usually a great trick to start off with and is usually pretty easy. I wish I could post pictures but my camera is on it's last leg! The quality is horrible and I'm the only one to take the pictures. Makes it kind of hard to get a picture of the tricks when your also the one teaching the tricks. So for now, we'll have to do with out.


  1. wow! this is definitley useful information. if i still had my dog, i would try to teach her some of these tricks!

  2. Thanks! Well, hopefully when the time comes this will still be available! Thanks for commenting!