To Trick or Not to Trick...

...That is the question.  As someone who works with dogs on a regular basis as an instructor at KODC, as an animal attendant at a shelter and as both a foster carer and case manager for Siberian Husky Rescue Inc. I have witnessed how trick training can help build a bond between dog and handler. I believe teaching your dog tricks is the best way to build a close bond, trust and respect between yourself and your dog.

Spending time working with your dog in a fun and casual way will help you to develop the knowledge of how your dog likes to work, what your dog will work for and how to best teach commands so that not only will your dog understand but respond to you.

Being that I have seen the results of trick training, I am a firm believer in teaching your dog the ancient art of performing tricks. Tricks such as ‘roll over’ promote trust in your dog and ‘beg’ helps to build the core muscles. ‘Speak’ can help to control otherwise uncontrollable barking. Target practice will help with those wanting to work in agility, fly ball and dances with dogs activities. Tricks like ‘shake’ and ‘high five’ will assist the vet if they need to examine the dogs paws. There are a host of tricks that you can teach your dog that will help not only yourself and your vet but will help your dog understand how to associate with people, especially young children.

Introducing young children to dogs can be difficult, however if you can show the child how to perform tricks with your dog they will get along like a house on fire in no time, and the child will be seen as a higher rank in the pack by the dog.

Knowing your dogs cues for when it is bored or doesn’t understand something, only comes with watching your dog react to your commands. Having your dog sitting in front of your while you teach tricks is going to help you to recognise these cues during other activities.

Tricks can be helpful around the home too. If you have a medium or large sized dog you can teach your dog how to turn on and off light switches on command, just with a little bit of target practice. How about having a dog that can bring you your socks on a cold winters night? Well in order to do that, you must first teach your dog the ‘tricks’ to get to the socks.

Dogs are amazing creatures that humans have breed for 13000 years to be our companions.  They understand every language in the human race, they understand human facial expression, tone and emotion, the least we can do is show them the respect of learning there language and how to talk to them on their level. Think of trick training as DSL – dog as a second language – class. During trick training your dog is actually teaching you how to remain calm, how to teach more complex actions and most importantly how to understand their language.

Canine Familiaris is mans best friend, lets treat them that way. If you like to have fun and play with your human friends, then honour your dog in the same way. Obedience training for a non-trailing pet is not all about heeling and stand for exams it’s about building an unbreakable bond between man and his dog.

Go out and teach your dog a trick today…and have fun!

Written By: Kristy Proudlock

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Knox Obedience Dog Club Incorporated


Knox Obedience Dog Club

Knox Obedience Dog Club Incorporated (KODC) is a volunteer organization, run by members, for members.  If you would like to get involved, please let us know.

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KODC is affiliated with Victorian Canine Association Incorporated trading as Dogs Victoria.

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