Tricks Workshop

Trick Training – use Alert Level 4 to teach your pooch some tricks!

Trick Training and it’s many benefits

As a dog trainer, I will be the first to put my hand up and say that teaching your dog basic obedience behaviours like coming when called, walking nicely on leash, and impulse control are extremely important, allowing you to take your dog out and about and make life easier and more enjoyable for both you and them.

However trick training has a whole raft of benefits as well! It’s fun, helps build a strong bond between owner and pet, can boost confidence in your dog, and even health benefits such as increased muscle flexibility, balance, muscle tone, and concentration. One of the more amazing benefits to your pet is an increased ability to learn because the more you teach, the quicker they learn and your training skills improve alongside this. My first labrador Dudley was definitely not the brightest crayon in the box. When we started trick training it would take him one-two weeks of daily training sessions to master a trick. But by the end of our training year he was learning new tricks in 1 – 2 sessions! 

Trick training is also a great rainy day activity when you may not be able to get your dog out for their usual walk. It’s also a great way to exercise your dog while in Alert Level 4 lockdown.

Follow myself teaching Woody to spin here:

And teaching him to sit pretty/beg here:

There are literally hundreds and hundreds of tricks you can teach your dog. I was quite surprised to learn that some of these tricks can have everyday uses as well. For example I taught Dudley to back up/reverse. I called this trick ‘beep beep’ and it was incredibly useful in our everyday life! Whenever I wanted or needed to put space between myself and Dudley I could ask him to ‘beep beep’ and he would back away from me. It made putting on my dog park shoes much nicer as suddenly I didn’t have a furry black face licking mine while I bent down to tie my shoe laces. 

Tips for trick training:

  • Keep training sessions brief but frequent e.g 15 minutes twice per day. 
  • Choose tricks that are suitable for your dogs health, age and temperament
  • Ensure training is fun for both participants and there are plenty of rewards in it for your pooch
  • Set the training at your dogs pace. Don’t expect them to know ‘spin’ the first time you do it. 

If you are really interested in trick training there is a fantastic website called Do More With Your Dog where you can master tricks and enter into trick dog titles. It’s great to show off to your friends what you and your dog are capable of!

Possible trick ideas are:

  • Shake
  • Hi-5
  • Spin
  • Bow
  • Roll over
  • Play dead
  • Crawl
  • Weave
  • Collect beer from the fridge (my husband’s favourite!)

Have fun!!