But how? As a Trainer, I often get asked for help to improve a dog’s behaviour. Whatever you’re trying to teach your dog – from lead walking to recall – the foundation skill is getting your dog to focus on you … and then to keep their focus with you, which can be tricky!
Speaking of which, ‘tricks’ are a fun way to do exactly that.
So what constitutes a ‘trick’?
A trick can be pretty much anything you want it to be. It could be as simple as teaching your dog to lie down, right through to teaching Fido how to put dirty socks in the washing machine! For me, ‘tricks’ are a mixture of husbandry activities eg teaching my dog to ‘take a bow’ on the mat when he comes indoors so his paws are dry and also ‘fun’ things that give us a challenge to work on together eg teaching him to put a ball through a basket ball hoop!
Other benefits of trick training
- It’s good brain exercise for your dog – and mental stimulation is as important as physical exercise.
- Learning a new activity together strengthens your bond.
- It can help with eye/paw coordination and proprioception – which is a form of self-awareness. And your dog has it too! )
- It builds confidence – as you help your dog to master new skills; which can create a calmer, happier dog.
- It looks kinda cool!
Focus: Put some money in the bank!
The time you invest in training and interacting with your dog in a positive way puts ‘money in the bank’ as far as ‘focus’ is concerned – the more you put in, the more focus you’ll get back from your dog. It’s as simple as that.