Why train tricks? Tricks can be fun to teach and show off to friends, but they also can develop foundation behaviors for basic manners as well as specific skills needed for canine sports (agility, freestyle, treibball, and more!).
Many dogs enjoy learning tricks for a variety of reasons – they’re learning new skills (often offering behaviors they already do and getting rewarded for them) and working with their trainers (that’s you!) in new ways.Training tricks can help dogs develop more confidence about offering new behaviors and trying new things.
For dog owners, teaching tricks is often a more relaxed way to train your dog and develop more-detailed training plans. Training tricks will improve a trainer’s observation skills, timing, and comfort level with a variety of training techniques (luring, capturing, and shaping). Trick training also provides new strategies for getting and keeping your dog’s attention when you need it.
Back in March of 2013 we worked on teaching “spin” as our trick behavior of the month. This month, we’ll use similar training techniques (luring and capturing) to teach a variety of tricks that may include “circle me” (dog circles around owner, starting by standing in front of them and ending back in front in a stand or sit); “sit up” (dog sits up on its back legs in “begging” position); “back up”; “shake”; or “weave through legs” (dog targets your hand through your legs and slowly learns to move through them as you walk).
Let us know if there are some other fun tricks you’d like us to work on during the month of December!