When was the last time you taught your dog a new trick? Been a while? Sometimes when we get a new dog/puppy we spend a lot of time teaching tricks and behaviors and once we feel the dog is “trained” we… well stop.
Dogs love, love, love to train and learn behaviors. The AKC has launched a new trick dog program and it is just the ticket for some fresh new ideas.
Why train tricks?
- Dogs love to learn new things
- Mental stimulation and activity helps improve your dog’s overall behavior
- New tricks prevent boredom (which can lead to bad behavior)
- Tricks and other learned behaviors give your dog confidence
- No cost, no classes, just you and your dog
- Teaching and playing tricks with your dog is fun, fun, fun!
Why you need to teach your dog tricks, our dog can earn AKC trick dog titles or just play at home, no title required. It is new, fresh and exciting. If you participate in canine sports you know… sometimes it can get serious… I mean really serious and can start to feel like work for both you and your dog. And who wants that right?!
The AKC trick dog program is all about teaching your dog new tricks…pure fun for you and your dog. I love this program because it doesn’t require that you go to any classes or special training sessions, you don’t have to travel to compete and you can do everything right from home.
Who can participate?
- Dogs of all ages, breeds, shapes and sizes
- Kids of all ages
- Training a dog helps children learn responsible pet ownership, kindness and compassion toward animals
- Are you a Pet Therapy Team? You will be the hit of the senior center or hospital visit with some fun tricks under your belt
- Anyone who wants to try something new with their dog
If your dog is nervous or shy in social situations, having “go to” behaviors such as “shake”, “kiss” or “spin” gives them a little boost of confidence – something they know and can do in any situation.
Not interested in going through the process to get your dog evaluated?
The fun in this is the training and the things your dog will learn to do. Some are quick and easy and some of the tricks will take a bit of work and practice for your dog to master.
Your dog can get a leg up on the title if they already have an AKC Canine Good Citizen title – but if not… they just need to do more tricks!
Here is a quick list of some of the Novice Tricks:
- Speak on cue
- Crawl on your belly at least 5 feet
- Fetch it and give
- Go get your… (leash, brush, favorite toy) on command
- Kiss your cheek (my new favorite!!!)
Once you move up to Intermediate it becomes a lot more challenging.
- Balance a treat on your nose or your head
- Leg weave (weave around the handler’s legs)
- Go to your place (bed, mat or crate from a distance of 10ft)
- Sit pretty (sit up or sit w/ head tilted
- Wave goodbye
Then there are the Advanced tricks:
- Back up (walk backwards)
- Balance a treat on nose and flip to eat when told “ok”
- Bow or “take a bow”
- Open door of mailbox or other cabinet and get object
- Turn on light
- Toys – take them to the toy box and drop them in
- Cover your eyes
And each has a handler’s choice for things like smile, push a toy, sing/talk, identify a toy by name out of three toys.
Some pretty tough stuff!!! But what fun to work with your dog to learn some new tricks? Get your training treats and a clicker if you use one and start having some fun with your dog!!
You will be surprised how quickly your dog can learn a new behavior. There are a lot of things you can do with your dog… teaching new tricks is at the top of my list!
Kathryn Durno’s passion is canine sports, nutrition and fitness. She is a freelance writer, the owner of Dog Mamma’s Organic Dog Treat Company and is owned by three Brittanys – Biddy, Tristan and Nate. Visit her on the web at www.dogmammas.com