Written by Melissa Viera
You may have decided to train your dog because you want him or her to have better companion manners, but why not have some fun and take your training to the next level? Training gives you a way to communicate with your dog, and strengthen the human-animal bond.
Just like we enjoy activities that stimulate our minds like reading, puzzles, games, socializing, cooking, our animals need activities also. Tricks can be a fun way to exercise your dog’s mind, and spend time with your dog.
Through trick training you learn how to better read your dog, and you and your dog learn to work as a team. Teaching your dog new things is a great way to improve your training skills. The skills you build training tricks will be the same skills you use when working on other useful behaviors. Trick training will also help your dog improve their attention and learning ability.
Tricks are cute, but they can also be useful. Does your dog bark at the doorbell? Teach him/her to go lay on a mat instead. Running to a mat is a trick, and the doorbell becomes a cue. Want to stop your dog from jumping on you? Teach a nose target to your hand when greeting you instead.
Dogs need exercise even when it's raining or snowing. One way of giving your dog stimulation and preventing boredom is by teaching a new trick. Your dog will get to burn off energy learning instead of finding something destructive to do.
Tricks can be simple or complex. They can be single tricks or entire trick routines. Trick training allows you to use your creativity and have fun with your dog!