“My dog doesn’t listen.”
“He chews up the rug because he’s mad at me.”
“My dog is just so stubborn!”
As a trainer, I hear comments like this frequently, and I have a different perspective on such issues. Your dog is not obstinate, vengeful or stubborn…your dog is bored. Behaviors like barking, digging, chewing on forbidden items inside, and blowing them off when they call. Dogs can get bored and frustrated very quickly, and they are very good at finding ways to entertain themselves, whether we like them or not. The good news is, we can very easily find some ways to keep our dogs occupied that not only involve us and lots of fun, but involve showing off a little! Something else we all do.
What I’m talking about here is Trick Training. I love trick training. It is so much fun, it’s not very hard, it builds a bond with your dog, and it tires them out! What’s not to love? Tricks can be as simple as a shake or high five, to something incredibly complicated, like getting you a beer from the fridge. Did I mention that tricks can also be handy? Well they can! Not only could you teach your dog to get you a beer at the end of a long day, but they could get the mail, grab their leash, carry something for you, close doors, open doors, whatever you need really! If your dog is physically capable of it, you can teach it. Not only does this give you a great way to get out of some chores around the house, it also provides you with an opportunity to show off to your friends!
I mean, who doesn’t love bringing their dog along to a social event and saying “look what my dog can do”, followed by a series of impressive tricks? I know I do! Especially since my dog Tyler and I earned our Intermediate Trick Dog title together. Now, not only do we have a fancy certificate, but Tyler has official letters after her name, just like a true show dog. And along the way we have learned some amazing tricks, and bonded even more than we were before. Going through this process with Tyler has spurred me to become even more involved in trick training, and help other people get to this point with their dogs. If you keep your eyes on our class schedule not only will you see the occasional Trick Workshop, but there will also be classes like Novice Trick Dog, a 4 week class where at the end you have an option to earn your Novice Trick Dog title with your dog. I am also happy to provide private sessions to further trick training goals.
So come and join us, have some fun with your dog, and teach Fido a few new tricks!
Blog post by Meggan Porter KPA CTP, Trainer