From sit to spin: The benefits of trick training for dogs


Why I love trick training! 

Trick training (well any training to be honest) is all about teamwork – you and your dog work together to learn something new. Choose tricks that are appropriate to your dog's age (avoid anything that put's pressure on a pup's developing joints), and level of fitness.

Trick training is great for:

  • Improving your dog’s ability to learn and try new things
  • Bonding and teaching your dog that it is great to learn with you
  • Reactive and anxious dogs and owners to spend time together doing something fun
  • Building up your dog's confidence and enabling your dog to succeed
  • Giving their brain a workout
  • Having fun together!

When training tricks (or anything) there are many different ways you can do it.

1) Capturing a behaviour

One of the quickest and easiest ways to train certain behaviours is to capture them and give them a specific cue. For example, saying “take a bow” when your dog is doing a stretch, "lie down" when they settle down or “shake” when they shake off. 

Through enough repetition, your dog associates that action with the verbal cue and you then have 'put the behaviour on a cue' and you can continue to mark and reward the cued behaviour to strengthen it further. In addition to capturing, these are some of our favourite ways of training tricks (we sometimes use a combination of these when training certain tricks):

2) Using a lure

This is when we teach our do to follow a piece of food (or a favourite toy), in order to teach things that involve movement..

3) 'Shaping' a behaviour

This is done by breaking a complex end behaviour down into tiny steps, and marking and rewarding each subsequent step towards this end behaviour. Clicker training is great for this.

4) Using targets

Such as paw targets, nose targets, target sticks and chin targets.

Trick training is a great rainy day activity, and you can do it even in a really small space.  

Start off with some easy tricks such as teaching a paw, a high five, a spin, a paws up, a hand touch.  Once your dog is loving their training you can increase the level of difficulty and teach more complex tricks.

Have a go and have some fun with your dog learning a pawsome new trick today!

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