Monday, 6 February 2017

But I don't want my dog to do tricks...

Can you remember ever uttering these words?  “I don’t want my dog to do tricks, I just want them to …..”?

It’s a pretty common thing to say to a dog trainer. Often what you do want is your dog to come back when they’re off lead, or to walk nicely by your side instead of pulling your arm out from the socket.

I’m going to let you into a very badly kept secret.

It’s all “tricks” to your dog.  A thing your dog does on request to earn a reward.

The only difference lies in how we prioritise the importance of walking on a loose leash versus sitting pretty or dancing.

Actually there are some other important differences too. In class we often include tricks because it’s easier to train them in a relaxed way (takes the pressure off), you have a clear goal to aim for (you give clearer signals to your dog), you can see the step-by-step progress (rewarding for you and your dog!).

It’s easier to see some of the common challenges we all face in any training too. Lets take just one example, dogs struggle to generalise. So that means even though you taught “shake paws” at home in the kitchen, it doesn’t work first time in class – new location. Yet how many of us teach loose lead walking in class, but are disappointed when it doesn’t work on your local walk the next day?

Training tricks is a great way to focus in on your skills, and build a better relationship with your dog.

Ironically the “tricks” can be useful too. “Play dead” can be used for lie quietly for a vet examination or acupuncture session, while “paws on” helps you lift your dog over a stile on a country walk and many more!

Have a wonderful week.

PS If you want to build a stronger more rewarding relationship with your dog, and you DO want your dog to learn tricks, come to our workshop on Sunday 23rd April, with Sian.

PPS Want to SEE how much fun it can be - click here for a short'n'sweet video

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