Dog Tricks Strengthen Relationships

Dogs need three things to be happy, well-balanced animals; love, training, and exercise. A dog lacking in any of these areas will be anxious and stressed and will probably develop behavioral issues.

One type of training that challenges dogs while still being fun is trick training. There is a book named “101 Dog Tricks” by Kyra Sundance, who has made a living trick training dogs. There is also the Canine Circus School in Oakland, CA that helps people with reactive dogs through trick training.

Trick training makes the dog think, teaches focus, and improves your relationship with your dog. Dogs really can’t multi-task so if you keep him busy doing a roll-over, high five and balancing a treat on his nose, he won’t be barking at the dog that’s walking by. That is part of our management of reactive dogs – ignore the dog.

I met a pet parent in Grand Rapids that would tell his reactive dog, “none of your business.” That was his version of “ignore the dog.”
Here are a few easy tricks you can teach your dog;

1. Shake – Take your dog’s paw and treat him. Say “Shake”. It will not take very long and he will be lifting his paw. You can also teach “wave goodbye” when the dog starts trying to give you his paw during the shake command.

2. Sit up Pretty – Lure your dog with food over his head and reward when he lifts his front paws up to reach the treat. As he learns, reward for him keeping his bum down and not jumping.

3. “Hup” means to jump over something. Teach your dog to jump through a Hula-Hoop. Again, use food to lure the dog through the hoop, first with the bottom of the hoop on the floor and then raise it as the dog learns.

4. Turn – Teach your dog to turn, luring with food, then once the dog has it down teach “the other way” so your trickster learns to turn in both directions. The command “turn” means to turn one direction (clockwise) and “the other way” means to turn counterclockwise.

5. Nose Touch is another easy trick to teach as well. First, teach the dog to touch your palm with their nose.

More complicated tricks can be learned by signing up for a trick class at Adams K-9. My dog Bracha shakes, waves bye-bye, speaks, turns, jumps through hoops and does push-ups. She loves food and loves working for her food.

Build a stronger relationship with your dog by teaching him a few tricks, and your dog will love you for it. For more information or to sign up for one of our training classes in West Michigan, please contact the Adams K-9 team today.

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