• Georgina Wingham

I don’t want to teach my dog any tricks!


I hear this all the time.


Sometimes I hear this from some of our clients and other times I hear it on various social media accounts. To me anyone who says this really does not understand the value that teaching your dog’s tricks can have on not only your relationship with your dog, but also their focus and mental and physical wellbeing.


Trick training is a fantastic way to teach your dog to enjoy being with you and doing as you ask of them. It improves general overall obedience and their manners. Often we see dogs jump or bark at their owners or other people simply because they haven’t’ learnt any other way of getting people’s attention. If your dog has a repertoire of tricks under their belt, which each have a high history of reinforcement (food, play or attention based), they are more likely to offer these behaviours instead!


Additionally, it can improve your dogs physical and mental well-being. Many tricks can help build muscle tone, stamina, balance and flexibility which will keep your dog fit and healthy. Any form of training with your dog will also help them build patience, resilience, confidence and use up some of their mental energy which can often resolve into many undesirable behaviours (like digging, chewing, barking etc) if they are not kept mentally stimulated.


The majority of tricks also have a practical application to real life situations or events where they can be used to examine your dog, teach them other skills or for their physical development.


For me ANY dog training is trick training, and if you use positive, fun methods to teach your dog it is so much fun for you both and a fantastic way to increase your bond. Dogs don’t understand the difference between a stay or recall exercise and a trick training exercise, it is all training and pleasing their human to them.


For example, I call heelwork ‘just another trick’ and teach it just as such. Heelwork is one of my dog’s favourite activities which makes walks so much more pleasurable, fun and relaxing for us all.


Here is a list of the top 8 tricks to teach your dog (I will also include some practical applications to each):


1. Hand touch (teach retrieve, move your dog without forcing them)

2. Paw (Paw inspection, nail trimming)

3. Middle (recall, protection, putting on lead/harness)

4. On the box (physical examinations, to keep them out of danger)

5. Take a bow (flexibility, muscle tone, balance)

6. Bang! (physical examinations, grooming)

7. Spin (engagement, focus)

8. Retrieve (recall, day-to-day helping out)

We can show you how to train all of these tricks on our online courses at scdt.online