There Are Tricks to Teaching Tricks

We’ve all seen dogs on TV and YouTube who perform amazing and entertaining feats. They’re impressive and it looks like the dogs are having fun. Have you ever wished your pooch could learn to do some cool tricks?”  Well, teaching your four-legged friend a few simple stunts is not as hard as you might think, once you understand and make use of his or her natural tendencies.

Clover in her “sitting pretty” pose. Image by www.dogwatchofcolumbus.com

Dogs are a lot like people in that they each have different talents, abilities, and propensities. They need to work on developing their abilities, just as people do. That’s where you come in. Simply by observing your pet you can discover what his natural abilities or tendencies are and what types of tricks your dog is most inclined to be able to do.

For instance, some dogs, especially Huskies, like to “talk back.” That is, when you speak to them, they seem to try to imitate what you are saying. If you have a dog that does this, you can easily teach him is to “talk.” Listen to what he already says. What does it sound like?  Whatever phrase or word he seems to be saying can become the name of his new trick. Reward the behavior, and encourage your dog to repeat the word or phrase time and time again. Soon enough,  your dog’s quirky, natural little trait will become a very cool new trick.

Yogi practices the “turkey pose.” Image by www.dogwatchofcolumbus.com.

Some dogs are especially adept at walking on their hind legs and seem to enjoy it.  These dogs are good candidates for learning “touchdown,” which is to stand on his hind legs with his front paws extended upward like the touchdown signal a referee makes in football. Or, If you have plenty of time to work with your pet, you can teach her to “dance.”

You can even turn the simple act of sitting into a trick, if your dog sits in an unusual way. This could include sitting upright on her rump, for instance, in the trick called “sit pretty.”  Or, if Fido lays with his legs sprawled out behind him, he could be taught to do this on command. This pose is sometimes called “turkey.”

If you keep an eye on your dog’s little idiosyncrasies,  you can often develop them into a trick that is more unique than the common tricks out there. No one needs to know that teaching them to your dog took so little time and energy. Work with your dog’s talents, and you both will have fun showing off.

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