How to Teach your Dog Tricks (Putting the “Wow” in Bow Wow)
Dogs are cool, but dogs that know how to do tricks are even cooler. And while you may think that teaching your dog how to do tricks may be long, arduous work, there are a few things you can teach them that won’t take up much of your time.
The Fundamentals Behind Teaching Your Dog Tricks
Chances are, the main reason that you want to teach your pooch a few tricks in the first place is because they can be so endearing. After all, it gives your chance for your dog to show off in front of family and friends. From an owner’s perspective, who wouldn’t feel good about your pooch evoking a happy response from an audience?
On a deeper level, teaching your dog tricks is really an extension of teaching him essential obedience commands. A lot of the basic principles behind teaching your dog basic commands such as “come” or “heel” apply to teaching them neat little parlor tricks. Fundamental elements that are important to the training process, such as praise and reward, certainly apply here.
How Do You Go About Teaching Your Dog a New Trick?
The first thing you want to do is figure out what trick you wish to teach your pooch. This may be easier said than done, as there are tons of really neat tricks that you can teach them. In fact, some of the tricks that you can teach them could even double as life-saving techniques for your dog.
Once you figure out what trick you'll want to teach your pooch, it's important that you keep the training sessions you have with your dog short. Your sessions should only last for about 10 minutes per day. Anything more will bring in potential emotions that could undermine the operation, such as frustration on your part and waning concentration on your dog's part.
It almost goes without saying that rewarding them with a treat is an important part of teaching your dog a trick. Typically, your pooch will thrive on a combination of praise, play, or treats. If you do go the treat route, there are a few things to keep in mind when you select your reward.
For instance, try to avoid treats that have a lot of preservatives, fat, or salt for the sake of your dog’s health. Also, you’ll want to make the treats that you dole out on the small side - you don’t want to spoil their appetite. Eventually, you may find that your dog will end up doing the tricks without the use of the treats; if they get to this point, be sure to continue showering them with praise and play to reinforce the concept of a job well done to them.
Using Clickers to Teach Your Dog Tricks
If you want to teach your pooch tricks with the maximum amount of precision, you may want to consider utilizing a clicker. This device is a handy way to tell your dog that he’s doing what you want him to do, and it does so in a concise, consistent manner. It will also allow you to teach your dog certain tricks from a distance.
When you purchase a clicker, you’ll want to make sure that it makes a consistent sound that your pooch will recognize every time. It is also imperative that you associate the sound of a clicker with the administration of a reward, which typically should be doled out within 1 second of the click. You will probably need to repeat the clicking sound several times for your dog to make the connection between the sound, the desired behavior, and the treat, but once he does, you’ll be well on your way to success.
Tricks are a Great Way to Bond
While teaching your dog tricks is a neat way to show off your buddy's amazing skills, it's also a fantastic way for you and him to strengthen your bond. Keep in mind that tricks are firmly rooted in the trust that a dog will cultivate for his owner, and this trust serves as a foundation for a solid human-canine relationship. In the grand scheme of things, nothing is cooler than that - not even a neat trick.