Teaching and working on new behaviors with my dogs, ‘tricks’, is a huge part of my foundation in training. After all, everything is really a trick, isn’t it?
I teach sit, down, stay and come, the same way I would teach spin, twirl, bow, high five, and weave. I think the difference is how we perceive their usefulness. I’ll be quite honest, I use ‘in’, meaning go between my legs to the other side of my body, more often than any other behavior. Yes, and even more than sit or down. After all, our dogs do that all on their own, just fine without us 😉
Ocean was 6 months old when she won a 1st place ribbon in a tricks contest, and there were 32 entries. I wasn’t training for ‘tricks’ at the time, it was simply our play, the way we engaged, how I trained for our relationship. And it was fun for both of us.
Story’s tricks landed him on The Martha Stewart Show, and I would have to say it was the least ‘useful’ behaviors that got the most attention!
All of my dogs give trick demonstrations at our local schools. It’s a great ice breaker for the bigger topics like responsibility, bite prevention, compassion, etc. And many of the ‘tricks’ are ones that have been dog driven, meaning my dogs have taught me the trick, and shaped the way I interact during certain routines. This is the part of the process I LOVE! We’re always working on something new, always! This keeps our home creative, which inspires me each and every day.
And we all know how important MATH is, so it is also one of our tricks! Happy trick training, happy time with your dog! Nancy