Dog Tricks 101: Fun, Useful, and Simple Ways to Engage Your Pooch

dog tricksThere’s no denying the benefits of dog training. Properly trained and socialized dogs are happier and safer overall, and are easier and more fun to be around than an untrained pooch. Dog tricks can complement and improve a dog’s command of obedience an, and in many cases can be useful and fun for humans too!

Brain Power and Beyond

It may seem frivolous to go beyond the basics when it comes to training. After all, what’s the point of taking the time to teach a dog tricks like shake, beg, roll over, etc.? As it turns out, teaching your dog tricks can have a variety of benefits, such as:

  • Bonding – Instructing your dog new tricks, in a gentle and humane manner, can strengthen the bond you share while having fun.
  • Mental stimulation – Trick training stimulates a dog’s brain, relieves boredom, improves concentration, and can help expend energy that may otherwise result in problem behavior.
  • Physical health – Many tricks can improve physical health by building muscle and stamina, and increasing flexibility and balance.
  • Improved obedience – Positive behavioral training, such as your pet’s household and social behavior, is reinforced through the use of trick training.

Useful Dogs Tricks

Commands like “sit”, “stay”, and “drop it” are essentials when it comes to dog training, but these tricks take it to the next level when it comes to usefulness (and cuteness!):

  • Dry off/shake – Asking a dog to “dry off” or “shake” as a cue to shake their whole body is a way to remove excess water from their fur after being out in the rain, swimming, or taking a bath.
  • Up – Teaching your dog to jump or step up onto a surface can be helpful when it comes time to be examined by the veterinarian, especially combined with “stay”.
  • Pick up their toys – You may not be able to get your kids to pick up after themselves, but teaching your dog to pick up their scattered toys and put them into a box or basket is not only possible, it’s also extremely helpful!
  • Ring a bell – Teaching your dog to ring a bell when they need to go outside is a fun and satisfying way to enhance the communication between you and your pup.
  • Roll over – Having your dog lie on their back with their belly exposed is adorable, and can come in handy when it comes to veterinary examinations, tick inspections, baths, and more.
  • Bring in the newspaper – It may seem old fashioned, but there’s something special about the image of the family dog trotting inside with the paper in their mouth. This trick is easily mastered by dogs that already enjoy fetching and retrieving, but any dog can be taught to bring in the newspaper.

Make sure to keep training sessions short and always use positive reinforcement. Stop when your dog shows signs of boredom or frustration, and pick it up again later. Most importantly, be patient!

Does your pet know a special dog trick or two? Your friends at West Park Animal Hospital would love to see it the next time you’re in to see us!