Welcome To The Dog Tricks Zone - This Is
The Most Fun You Will Ever Have With Your Dog!
Teaching dog tricks is one of the greatest joys of having a canine companion in your life. Dog trick training is the best way I found to truly interact with my dogs
and it is a sure fire way to forge a strong bond together
. Teaching and performing dog tricks helps to build happy, confident dogs and is a great outlet for all of their energy.
Jump straight down to my list of fun Dog Tricks
Dog Tricks - Give It A Go!
Why Bother Teaching Dog Tricks?
My main motivation or reason for teaching dog tricks is to have fun - that's it!
Dog trick training is not as serious as say dog obedience training but it does provide many of the same benefits - to you and your dog:
- In the process of learning new tricks you open up a genuine form of two way communication between you and your dog - as a result you'll find you are more in-tune with each other.
- Trick training helps to build confident dogs who are not afraid to experiment in the training process - which is important.
- Dog tricks are great if you or your dog are partial to showing off!
- Dog trick training is great for calming overly energetic dogs. Your dog's energy must come out in one way or another so why not channel it into something constructive and fun like trick training?
- Dog tricks can be called on as an "alternate behavior" when your dog is doing something undesirable. For example, if your dog is barking at the door or jumping up on guests you could call on your "play dead" trick to redirect his/her behavior.
- People who are nervous around dogs are often put at ease by a dog performing a cool trick like a "take-a-bow" or "roll-over" - your dog suddenly appears less threatening to them.
How Do We Teach Dog Tricks?
We use proven behavioral science principles that were developed in the lab but are now put to good use throughout the animal training world.
When teaching new tricks we make it a very simple step by step process for our dogs to follow. Training sessions are fun, short and focussed on one easy skill at a time for your dog to master. Then we gradually raise our goal or expectations and take it to a slightly higher level, until we have the complete and polished trick. Then we start all over again with a new trick!
We rely on consistency, timely feedback, positive reinforcement and repetition to shape new tricks. There is no place for excessive force or intimidation in any dog training - especially when it comes to teaching fun dog tricks!
If you would like to read a more in-depth definition of clicker training and operant conditioning visit Karen Pryor's great website.
Tools Of A Dog Trick Trainer
To be honest, the only absolute essential "tool" is your willing canine friend. To help the trick training process along I like to utilize the following tools:
The clicker is also sometimes referred to as a "conditioned reinforcer"
. When you make the distinctive clicking sound you are marking that exact moment
of time in your dog's mind. You are communicating to your dog - "Yes that's what I want, well done, do that again!". A clicker is simply a little plastic box, it is not magic but is very very effective when used properly.
Training treats are also known as the "primary reinforcer"
. After you click to mark a certain behavior you desire the treat or reward must always follow
. If you find your dog's favorite treat or motivation he/she will do almost anything to receive one. My little Shih-Tzu Macy loves liver treats and small pieces of cheese. It's important to note that the use of a clicker and the treats is necessary when shaping a new trick but can be phased out when the time is right.
Target sticks are very handy for guiding your dog into the positions you want from them. This method is called "targeting"
- it is a great way to build a wide range of cool dog tricks. You will also call upon "capturing", "shaping" and "luring"
in your trick training sessions - don't worry you don't need to understand these terms yet.
General Rules To Keep In Mind When Teaching Your Dog Tricks
You will find more detailed and specific instruction within the text and videos provided for each individual dog trick
. Below are a few general rules to keep in mind whenever you are doing some dog trick training:
- All dogs are different. There is no set way to teach tricks that will work for every dog on the block. It's up to you to discover what works best for your individual dog in regard to the motivation you use, length of training sessions and how quickly you progress through each new skill.
- When you start out training a new trick always keep it simple for your dog. Start out with an easy skill, in a familiar place to your dog and with no other distractions present. Then build the trick up piece by piece and add some distractions when you feel your dog is ready.
- Always provide clear, consistent and timely feedback to your dog. It's amazing how much your dog will look to you for cues and guidance. Ensure that you are relaying the right message to your dog in a timely and consistent fashion.
- Generally speaking you are better off not training tricks immediately after feeding your dog or when he/she is bursting with energy. It's ideal if your dog is in a somewhat calm state and ready to focus on the task at hand - I know, this is not easy!
- Always get the behavior (trick) you want your dog to perform first - then attach your cue or command to it. Not the other way around.
- No dog is too young or old for some fun trick training sessions. As long as your dog is not restricted by any health problems you can get started right now!
- Dogs don't generalize well. What this means in the context of trick training is that if you want your dog to perform his jaw dropping "roll-over" trick wherever you go, you must teach him how to do it everywhere you go.
- Some basic obedience training is helpful before you begin to teach your dog tricks. Apart from helping the trick training process, obedience training is vital for your dog's safety and well-being.
Dog Tricks - Written Instruction & Video Examples
Getting Ready For Tricks
|3. Starting With Basic Dog Tricks|
Cool Dog Tricks!