So your pet is well-mannered and obedient – congratulations! Mastering the basics with your dog is something every pet parent should do. However, taking your pet’s skills to the next level is also beneficial to you and your dog. Going a step further with training has many perks for your pet’s mental and physical health in addition to entertaining you!
Why Go Further
The basic tricks – sit, stay, down, and come – are necessities for pet parents; if your dog didn’t obey your commands it would be impossible to control him or her! These more advanced tricks include maneuvers like fetching objects, shaking paws, rolling over, and jumping through a hoop. Some of these tricks get your dog moving – exercise is essential for maintaining a healthy pooch – but all of them utilize an equally important part of your pet – the brain. Needless to say, how impressed will house guests be when your dog extends a paw in greeting?
How to Teach a Trick
The saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” isn’t true, but it is true that any dog past puppyhood will take slightly longer to train. Patience is key when working with animals; don’t become frustrated and take it out on the dog.
Dogs also tend to have short attention spans. Train in short sessions of no more than fifteen minutes and try to end on a high note before you or your pet become annoyed.
Sample Trick – Fetching Objects
Advanced dog tricks typically build on knowledge your pet already has. For example, in order for your dog to learn how to retrieve specific objects, he or she has to already know how to play basic fetch – and actually return the item to you!
Here are the steps for teaching your dog how to retrieve and specific objects, like slippers, a newspaper, or really anything! The following content is from Iams.com.
- Begin with a regular retrieve of a ball or chew toy. When the dog is getting the object, say the command, “Take it” as he’s picking up the object.
- Praise him for returning the object as normal. Continue teaching the “Take it” command so your dog begins associating it with picking up an object.
- Now, place the ball in front of your dog. Say, “Ball, take it.” If your dog just looks at you, put the object gently in his mouth, and praise him as soon as he’s taken it.
- Repeat the step above with one object, such as the ball, until your dog will retrieve the stationary object from further distances away.
- Begin introducing new objects. Use the name of that object and “Take it.” Your dog will begin associating the various objects as being unique, but the take it command as relating to picking something up and bringing it to you.
- Now it’s time to introduce the slippers. Teach the stationary retrieve with, “Slippers, Take it.” Upon successful retrieves, move the slippers closer to the place you’ll keep them – by the bed for example. Soon your dog will be bringing your slippers on command!
Teaching your dog a more complicated trick can be a fun bonding activity in addition to stimulating your pet’s mind and muscles. Keep training times short and sweet to prevent stressing yourself and your dog out. Be patient when working on a new trick, and praise your pet often for good behavior and attempts. Happy training!