by Kelli McCoy (Senior Instructor with Partners Dog Training School, AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator, Certified Trick Dog Instructor - Email)
Dog tricks are fun for everyone!
Why you ask? Well, the dog gets showered with praise and treats and the people get plenty of entertainment with the dog’s goofy antics! I first got into training my dog to do cute tricks when I moved out on my own, let’s just say there was an element of boredom… So my dog learned to roll over and play dead! BOOM hours of free entertainment and a fun way to bond with my dog! Thus bloomed my love of doggy tricks! I have even seen a dog open the fridge and grab a soda for her owner! Possibilities are endless!
So why tricks?
One of the things that draws a lot of people to trick training is the always, ALWAYS positive approach to training a new behavior. Even sit and down can be considered tricks; it takes a little bit of the pressure off of these things that are typically considered “commands.” Trick training may seem like just fun and games but this type of training really does help build a stronger level of communication between dog and handler! Tricks require a lot of focus from the dog, not to mention a certain level of patience from the handler as well. So how do you get started? Grab your dog’s favorite snack and let’s learn a new trick!
Technical Term: Luring!
There are several different methods to teaching your dog a new behavior, in this one we are going to learn something called luring. In which we take a yummy smelling treat in our closed hand and let our dog interested in smelling the treat. In most cases once the dog gets the scent of the treat in your hand; where the hand goes so does the nose! We use this to our advantage to lead them into the different behaviors.
NOW we can teach your dog to "spin"
Start by getting your dog interested in the treat in your hand. Once Fido is interested in that yummy morsel slowly move your hand out to one side and around the back of your dog until they do a complete circle. If your dog loses his connection of his nose to your hand then go back and capture his attention again and this time move a little slower. As soon as your dog does the complete circle make certain to mark the behavior with a very enthusiastic “YES!” or “GOOD!” and reward him with the treat that lured him around!
Spin, and Rewind!
Believe it or not, dogs can actually be “right-pawed” or “left-pawed” just like us humans! Sometimes they prefer to turn in a certain direction, so if your pup is resistant to turning one way maybe try the other! You can always teach the opposite direction once he understands the Spin trick on his favored side. Did your pup get that down? Add a little pizazz! Tucker does “Spin” in one direction and then he “Rewinds” in the other direction! That’s always a hit!
Check it out!
Meet the stars...
Nessy is my 5 year old German Shepherd! She LOVES to do doggy tricks!
Tucker is my 4 year old Cocker Spaniel/Poodle. He will do ANYTHING for a treat... Backflips... Sure (totally kidding!)