By Suzanne Alicie
Dogs are highly intelligent creatures and they love to please their people. They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but in fact a dog of any age can learn to do tricks; it’s just a matter of how you go about teaching them. Dogs are similar to children in that they all have different personalities and even different learning styles. Some dogs love to perform and eagerly soak up any new tricks the first few times you teach them, while some may take a little more time and effort. On the other hand, there are also dogs like my Bear – she knows exactly what is expected but seems to think she can make the humans do a few tricks of their own before she will deign to lift a paw!
Repetition is the key to teaching your dog tricks, the same as with training your dog. Essentially sitting, heeling and even walking on a leash are all tricks your dog has learned. When you want to teach them to shake, beg, dance or roll over, it’s just a matter of letting them know what you want them to do, offering them a CANIDAE TidNips treat when they do it successfully, and repeating the action over and over until your dog associates a certain word or gesture with the trick.
Keep in mind that while your dog may have certain qualities of a child it is not a person and it takes time and dedication to both train and teach your dog to do tricks. Yelling or becoming upset with your dog will not help him learn a trick. First you must teach the dog the action of the trick – yes, this means you may have to get down and roll on the floor! Then you have to work on the word or gesture to make him do the trick on command. Make sure you have plenty of treats on hand and are generous with praise.