I’ve always been fascinated with dogs doing tricks. I could spend hours watching dog trick videos on YouTube. I finally decided that it would be fun to teach my dogs a few tricks. Little did I know I was in for a delightful surprise.
About a year ago, I began teaching Emmett a few tricks. He has always been a very sweet, affectionate dog, but with a huge amount of energy. He gets bored very easily. When I started trick training with him, I saw how excited he would get – not in the sense of a dog out of control with excitement but the “Oh Boy” kind of excitement. His ears would perk up. His focus was on me and nothing else. He was ready to learn some new skills. This was a new side of him I had never seen before. I realized that he really and truly enjoyed learning.
Now that we have Ellie (aka Chet – if you’ve never seen The Santa Claus 2, you should). She is literally all over the place. She’s all legs, extremely hyper, but all she wants to do is please. She also has a very bad instinctual jumping behavior. She can jump to eye level in a flash so we are always careful to read her expression in case she gets any crazy ideas. Because of the luck I had with Emmett, I began teaching Ellie to jump. It wasn’t long before Ellie was jumping over a pole and jumping less without it.
So what am I saying? I’m saying that teaching your dog tricks has some great benefits. Here are 5 that I have observed.
1. Mental Stimulation
Your dog needs physical exercise but he also needs mental exercise. When you spend a lot of time at your computer, how do you feel? If you’re like me, I am exhausted. I usually yawn a lot and feel like curling up in my bed. For dogs, mental exercise is also proven to drain excess energy better than physical. Of course, this doesn’t mean that it’s a substitute for physical exercise but it’s a great supplement.
2. It’s Calming
You will find that your dog is calmer and more settled after a good trick training session. The only way I can describe it is that it’s like when you are so hungry you could eat just about anything. Once you consume a good meal, you are completely content.
3. It Redirects Unwanted Behavior
Just like with Ellie’s excessive jumping, teaching her when to jump curtails jumping at the wrong time. Teaching your dog to bark will help eliminate excessive barking. Teaching them the unwanted behaviors lets them fulfill their instinctual need for the behaviors but teaches them when they are allowed.
4. It Builds Self-Confidence
Dog’s thrive in an environment that has a steady routine and guidance system. Timid dogs gain self-confidence by learning the basic commands and by having a routine. Giving them an extra boost with trick training is a great way to help them grow into a fabulous dog.
5. It Builds the Bond Between a Dog and Their Human
Do you look forward to spending time with your dog? Did you know that having a variety of activities to do with you dog, increases your bond? You learn what your dog likes to do and doesn’t like. Then you choose the activities that you both enjoy and spend time doing them. So many dogs have found great joy in trick training. It is a sport that allows you to spend one on one time with your dog and enjoy the transformation as he grows and learns. You will actually find that your relationship will change over time into one that you never knew could exist.
*NOTE: If your dog is unresponsive to these techniques or you don’t feel comfortable implementing them, contact a trainer who is familiar with behavior modification in dogs. Do NOT attempt to do anything that will jeopardize your safety.
If you have any questions about Trick Training or would like to schedule a consultation, call or contact me today at 762-218-3708. We currently serve the Columbia County, GA area.