One of the best ways to bond with your pet is with trick training. Trick training your pet has a variety of different benefits:
• Trick training teaches your pet that you are in charge.
• Trick training provides constant treats that help you and your dog bond.
• Trick training teaches your dog neat tricks that you can show off to your friends.
Trick training is easily one of the most overall beneficial activities that you can engage in with your pet. However, trick training is not that easy. It takes a lot of practice and a lot of patience, two things that not every pet owner has in today’s busy world.
Yet there are ways that you can make trick training much easier, and still enjoy the time that you spend with your pet while coming up with clever little tricks that you can show to your friends.
What is a Trick?
The first thing you need to ask yourself is what a trick really is. A trick is an unusual behavior that your dog performs on command. “Sit,” and “Stay,” are not necessarily considered tricks, but beyond those two simple commands, tricks can be anything the dog owner wants to train their dog.
Most of the time when a new dog owner thinks of tricks they think of something very complicated, such as getting a soda from the refrigerator or standing on its hind legs. Dog tricks do not need to be that complicated. All you need to have a successful dog trick is to have a:
Everything else is optional. It does not matter what the behavior is, nor does it matter what the command is. You simply need to have both of those and Voila! You have yourself a dog trick.
Making Dog Tricks Easier
There are a number of complicated tricks you can train your pet. But to make trick training easier, all you need to do is find a behavior that your dog already does and give it a clever name. For example, when a dog stretches they often put their head to the ground with their rear in the air and hold it for two or three seconds. Use a command such as “Bow” and suddenly you have what appears to be a complicated dog trick, but is actually a behavior your dog already performed without prompting. You can easily do this with all of your dog’s interesting behaviors, and in no time you will have a large number of tricks you can command at your disposal.
How to Train These Tricks
All you need to train your dog in these tricks is a clicker. First, train your dog to recognize the clicker with basic classical conditioning techniques. Once your dog understands the clicker, simply keep the clicker (and a few treats) on you at all times and wait until you see your dog performing one of these desired behaviors.
As soon as your dog performs the behavior, click and give the dog a treat. From then on you should focus only on that trick until your dog does it easily on command. Most likely your dog will perform the behavior again right away and you can give the dog another treat. If not, simply wait until the next time your dog does the behavior and click again.
Once your dog is doing it often for more treats (always give a treat after they do the behavior), start prompting with the command you have chosen and only give the treat if the dog does the trick after you have said the command. Your dog will quickly learn that the command is for the behavior and will pick up on this simple trick easily. You will not need to go through any excessive clicker training or worry about leading your pet.
Within no time, you will have a large number of tricks you can call on at any time. You and your dog will have bonded and you have a number of interesting and cute behaviors you can show to your pet.