Trick of The Month
I love training tricks. It was a skill I never appreciated until I enrolled my own dog in a weekly tricks training class at our local dog club. While it is vital to teach your dog basic manners, impulse control, and recall, tricks are informal behaviours to teach a dog and there is no end to where you can go – think of service dogs trained to push the button to cross at traffic crossings, to ring a bell when they need to go outside to tinkle, to alert their deaf owner that the phone is ringing – they are all advanced and fancy tricks. You can even teach a dog to empty the washing machine!
When you first begin teaching a trick you must start small and work up to the final trick – not many dogs will offer you a spin or perfect paw shake on the first attempt. Personally, I believe this is what makes trick training so enjoyable as both you and your dog have to work together to build the behaviour into the final party trick.
Teaching your dog even basic tricks has many great benefits:
- Its mentally exhausting for your dog. My dog snores the half hour car ride home from our tricks class and he goes straight to bed when we get home. Why is it so tiring? Because your dog has to WORK to get rewarded and that uses brain power.
- For older dogs or dogs that are recovering from surgery and therefore have a limited exercise allowance, teaching them simple tricks is a great way to keep them occupied, tire them out and have fun in the process all without overdoing it.
- Trick training is a great rainy day activity for those winter days when it is difficult to get the dog outdoors for a walk
- It is a fantastic way to bond with your dog!
- It takes less time than you think! Use your dogs dinner or devote 15 minutes a day to teaching one trick or part of a trick.
- You can show off to your friends at dinner parties ?
- IT’S FUN!
We have introduced Trick of The Month to our Monday day care days as an additional activity that our clients can sign their dog up for. Every Monday your dog will receive 15 minutes of training in that months designated trick. This provides your dog with extra stimulation throughout the day, increases bonding with staff members, and provides a point of difference in your pooch’s time at day care. We take videos and pictures and fill out a form to go home with the dog. This form has a progress report, homework, and how-to instructions for the owner so the trick training can continue at home and all family members can participate!
So far our tricks have been leg weave, spin, and now Hi-5 with many more to come. There is always an advanced level for the smarty pants dog that masters the trick within a couple of sessions so owners get two tricks for the price of one!