Why You Should Teach Your Dog a New Trick
When you have a dog, it is your responsibility to keep them healthy. Playtime is a vital part of keeping your canine healthy and happy, and it prevents boredom which can lead to behavior problems. When you introduce your dog to new tricks, it keeps him or her mentally stimulated and active. Introducing your pup to new tricks on a regular basis stimulates physical and mental sharpness.
The first step of learning a new trick is to learn the name of their toys and common household items. Dogs are smart creatures and can learn a wide range of words. In fact, a dog named Chaser has the record for having the largest vocabulary among dogs. Chaser successfully learned the names of more than 1000 different items. To teach this trick, show your dog a treat. Next, hold the object you want him or her to learn in your hand and have your dog touch the object. Call the item by its name as he or she touches it and repeat this step five times. Next, hold the object and say its name. If he or she touches the item, then give your dog a reward.
Once your dog has mastered common household items, then you can now teach your dog other tricks. If you want your dog to be the talk of the doggy park, then teach him or her these tricks that are sure to impress.
Essential Trick: High Five, Paw, or Shake Hands
If you want to teach your dog how to shake hands, you will need about five minutes a day and your dog’s favorite treats. Here are the steps to teach your dog to shake hands:
- Have your dog stay in the sit position.
- Hold a treat in your hand and let your dog see the treat, and then close the treat in your hand. When you hold the treat, make sure your hand is next to his foot. Be sure your dog remains in the sit position.
- When your dog lifts his or her paw, give him or her praise and the treat as a reward.
- Most likely your dog will use its paw to bat at the treat in your hand, so when he or she does this, show your dog the treat and give praise.
- Have your other hand held flat out so your dog can shake when he or she lifts the paw, so you grab his paw when he takes the treat.
- Even if your dog only lifts his or her paw a little, still praise them with reward.
- Once your dog is accustomed to lifting his or her paw for the treat, you can begin to use the word “shake.”
- Now you can start to phase out the treats, but be sure he or she gets one every once in a while for shaking your hand on command.
Tips for Shaking
• Do not practice more than five to ten minutes a day, which will prevent your dog from getting frustrated and bored.
• Be sure to end on a happy note. If you or your dog starts to get frustrated, then have your dog do a trick he or she has mastered and give them a reward.
• Be sure to give treats that do not need to be chewed for extended periods of time.
Just for Fun Trick: Jump Through a Hoop
Teaching your dog tricks is fun and keeps him or her mentally stimulated. When you train your dog to do tricks, it reinforces obedience and good behavior. When teaching your dog a new trick, it is vital to remember to stay patient. If you become frustrated, then your dog will pick up on how you feel and will not want to spend time learning a new trick. If you become frustrated with your dog while he or she is learning a new trick, then take a few minutes to walk away and reflect on why learning a new trick is a bonding experience that should be enjoyable for you and your pet. It is also helpful to teach your dog a new trick in an area where he or she will not be easily distracted. A living room full of children with a loud television will distract a dog, and he or she will have a difficult time learning a new trick.
If you want to teach your canine companion to jump through a hoop, then it is important to get your dog accustomed to a hoop as an everyday item. For most dogs, a hula-hoop is ideal for this trick because it is cheap and durable. To begin, leave the hoop out for a few days so your dog will get used to the new item. Once your dog is comfortable with the hoop, you can start to teach them how to jump through it. Learning how to jump through a hoop is considered an advanced trick, so be sure your dog is well rested and free from any distractions that could have an impact on how well he or she pays attention. Be sure to check the surface where you will have your dog practicing. The ground should be soft, so avoid practicing on concrete or asphalt.
Children Can Benefit from Having a Dog
If you have children, you want them to be healthy. Children who live with a dog from infancy may have a reduced risk of developing health conditions when they are older. In 2013, UCSF scientists found that living with dogs in infancy may lower the child’s chances of developing asthma and allergies from exposure to “dog-associated house-dust.” Those who have dogs share microbes, which aid in digestion and energy production from eaten food, help build immunity, and protect against invading pathogens. There have been more recent studies that show the same effects are possible for grown children and adults.
- Have your dog stay in the sit position using a collar and a leash.
- You can have another person hold the hoop in an upright position, but you can also tie it to stable stakes in the ground.
- While having your dog sit on one side of the hoop, toss the end of the leash through the hoop.
- Go to the other side and pick up the loose end of the leash.
- Give the command “hoop” while gently guiding your dog through the hoop.
- Once your dog is through the hoop, you can give them a reward.
- As your dog gets used to this trick, you can raise the hoop a few inches off the ground, which will make your dog take a hop or jump to get through the hoop.
- Continue to practice and always give your dog praise for mastering a new trick.
Practical Trick: Put Toys Away
Teaching a dog to put toys away is helpful and impressive. It will save you time and keep your dog busy when he or she is gathering up toys and placing them in a box. Teaching a dog to pick up his or her toys is also a great way to motivate your children to pick up after themselves. If the dog can do it, then children will want to do it, too. Here is how to teach your dog to pick up toys:
- Get a large box or a basket and put all of your canine’s toys in a pile.
- Stand with the box between your feet, and then play fetch with his or her favorite toy. Have your dog place the toy in the box instead of your hand.
- When the dog can place the toy in the box, you can move away from the box, giving the dog a command to place the toy in the box, which can be “pick it up” or “put it away.”
- When your dog is an expert at picking up toys, you can start to scatter them throughout your home and command your dog to “pick it up” or “put it away.”
Teaching your dog a new trick is a great way to promote bonding and keep your dog entertained – and it can even entertain you and your family members to watch your dog do tricks. Dogs are capable of learning so much, so take advantage of your dog’s skills and teach him or her new tricks.
Your dog (and you) will likely work up an appetite practicing these tricks. Feed your dog a food that is proven to keep your dog healthy and energized. Already a loyal fan? Share this info with a friend or family member who may enjoy it.