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The Benefits of Teaching a Dog Tricks

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Many pet owners, especially those faced with stubborn and independent dogs that do not readily obey commands or respond to regular training, find themselves asking: What is the point of teaching a dog tricks? Dog tricks are any commands or taught behaviors which are not related to basic commands, such as “Sit” or “Stay” which are considered to be vital for the regular socialization of a dog. The most popular types of tricks include simple tricks like “Shake Hands,” or teaching a dog to roll over—or even do flips or jumps through hoops! There is really no end to the type of tricks you can teach a dog, although the type of tricks they are likely to learn is dependent on their breed, size, athletic ability and willingness to learn. More athletic dogs, for example, are more likely to excel at tricks like jumping through hoops or catching things in the air—while smaller dogs are morel likely to excel at things like rolling over, shaking, and spinning.

The_Benefits_of_Teaching_a_Dog_TricksBut what is the point of teaching a dog tricks? Is it just for show? Let’s take a look at some of the many overlooked benefits of teaching a dog tricks.

Benefit #1: Tricks are engaging for a dog.

Dogs are intelligent animals. Without the proper type of mental stimulation, they may become bored, restless or even frustrated and upset.Training a dog involves mental stimulation that keeps their mind’s sharp, occupied and can even make them smarter. Because tricks can be more advanced than basic commands like “Sit” and “Stay,” training them to do tricks is a great way to keep them mentally engaged?

Benefit #2: Tricks can make potentially “unlovable” dogs more likeable

Many dog breeds, such as pit bulls and Rottweiler’s, have bad reputations in society due to their aggressive appearance. But these breeds, like any dog breed, can make loveable house pets. Training these breeds to do fun tricks—like shaking or rolling over—can make them more likeable and friendly in the eyes of the public. This may be especially important for shelter dogs; pit bulls, Rottweiler’s, and other dogs stereotypically considered to be aggressive are much harder to adopt out than breeds considered being mild or friendly. But if the dog is capable of doing a cute and fun trick, they may be seen as more adoptable by people looking for a new dog.

Benefit #3: Tricks are a great way to involve the family in the dog’s well-being.

It’s all well and good to make sure everyone in the family is involved in taking care of the dog’s needs—such as feeding the dog, taking the dog for a walk, and brushing the dog. But when you involve the family, especially children, in training the dog to do tricks—and exhibiting those tricks!—you make everyone a part of the dog’s life in a fun and exciting way. This may be especially helpful if someone in your family has not endeared themselves to the dog yet. Maybe they just need to shake hands!