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Sure, having your dog fetch you a beer from the â€˜fridge might be a stunt that can impress your friends, but the benefit of trick training with your dog doesn't end thereâ€¦
We find that dedicating some time to teach your dog tricks is time well spent for a number of reasons:
Improves communication - Trick training can help you understand your dog better and allow you to tap into what verbal communication/tone and body language cues help hold your dog's focus and that your dog responds to bestâ€¦it's a good way to practice the timing of your communication to your dog as well.
Mental stimulation - When you train your dog tricks, you'll be asking your dog to learn that certain words or body language cues are requests for particular actions. Think of it like learning a foreign language. That learning and thinking causes the dog to use his brainâ€¦mental stimulation which typically leads to a much calmer, relaxed, well behaved pet!
Exercise - Depending on the tricks you're teaching, your dog may be using muscles he may not use otherwiseâ€¦or in quite the same way. In turn that can help your dog's muscle tone, balance, flexibility and stamina. It can also help channel an exuberant/excitable dog's energy into more appropriate behavior.
Bonding - It's important to educate your dog so that he/she knows what behavior keeps him/her safe and out of trouble anyway. But if you feel like you're training is getting too rigid and as a way to take a break from what can sometimes seem like training too many â€˜rules', mix in some trick training to keep things fun! You may even find that your dog looks to you more for direction in other situations too!
There are other benefits to trick training. Studies have shown some evidence that trick training can help with retention of other appropriate behaviors/training, making dogs more eager to please and enjoyable to be around. It can also often help boost the confidence of otherwise fearful/nervous, soft-natured dogs.
Some things you'll want to keep in mind when trick training with your dog:
Dedicate a little time each day to mix some trick training into your dog's daily education. You'll be able to show off your well behaved, fun companion while you also enjoy being the life of every party!