Do you dream of teaching your dog tricks, especially “show off”? Don’t you know how to proceed to teach him? Here is an article that will allow you to do so.
First of all, it is essential to know and understand why it is necessary to teach your dog tricks. Many would say that it is to consider the dog as a circus animal, yet teaching tricks to your dog meets his needs.
The main advantages of teaching tricks to your dog
Strengthening of the relationship between master and dog
Spending time with your dog strengthens the relationship between a master and his dog since the master will respond to the needs of his animal; thus a mutual trust and respect will be established.
Physical and primarily mental expenses
It is essential never to neglect the mental expenditure, which is much more critical and necessary than the physical expenditure.
Just like us, the dog needs to be stimulated regularly. Even an adult dog will need to learn throughout his life.
Reinforcing basic obedience
Know that a dog that knows how to do the right thing, back up, turn, roll, etc., will have less difficulty in proposing a sit or a down for example. Moreover, this reinforces your collaboration, and your dog will enjoy listening to you and cooperating with you.
How does the dog learn?
Then, to put all the chances on your side in the success of learning the “do the beautiful”, you will have to find the excellent motivation that will correspond to your dog. The reason will be the reward: a caress, a treat, a toy, etc. If you don’t take the time to find the right motivation for your dog, you may fail in learning.
The dog is an opportunist animal, he will go towards what is pleasant for him, so if you “reward” him in such a way, without knowing if he really assimilates this as a reward, then your dog will not be in a learning process.
Know that the dog learns by conditioning: such action generates such consequence! If the result is positive, the dog will repeat the step that allowed him to obtain it, and if the product is harmful, the dog will avoid repeating the behaviour in question.
Be careful, however, that the negative consequence should never be violent or harsh, as you may discourage your dog and lose its cooperation and motivation.
When teaching tricks, the emphasis should be on reinforcing good behaviour and ignoring bad behaviour. If your dog doesn’t understand what you want him to do, the most important thing is to question your attitude, the environment, the complexity of the exercise or the technique used (or both).
Finally, your attitude will be essential! When you want to teach a new indication to your dog, it is necessary to respect these few points:
Be patient: if you want to go too fast, you will “lose” your dog because he will not understand what you expect from him.
Be assiduous: propose short but regular sessions! The dog learns mainly by repetition, so don’t hesitate to repeat the sessions as often as possible.
Respect the dog’s learning rhythm: each step must be acquired before moving on to the next, and everything must be done progressively.
Do not make your requests more complex in an incoherent way (in the same way as you would not ask a child to divide if he does not know how to add).
Teaching your dog to “act nice
First of all, you should know that not all dogs will be able to do this posture. Indeed, the dog needs to be sufficiently muscular to hold his back straight and balance on his hind legs.
To teach your dog to do this, you will need treats because we will use the lure technique, which means that we will accompany the dog to the position we want him to adopt with the help of a guiding hand.
Step 1: Place your dog in the down position and, with your guide hand (the hand that has the treat), accompany your dog from the down position to the sitting position. Your writing should remain at the level of your dog’s nose while making an upward movement. As soon as your dog is sitting, reward him with the treat. Repeat this action as many times as necessary.
Step 2: Then, still using your guide hand, you will gradually raise your hand above your dog’s head to encourage him to raise his front legs to grab the treat. Reward your dog as soon as he lifts his paws.
Be careful; good timing and consistency will be essential! Reward your dog (by giving him the treat that was in your guide hand) as soon as he lifts his front paws. However, do not reward him when he also stands up on his hind legs (they must stay in place).
Be careful, do not talk to your dog at the beginning of the training; only the lure (your guide hand with the treat) is used to make the dog understand what is expected of him.
Step 3: After several repetitions of the previous step, you can move on to the stage where you no longer have a treat in your guide hand. That is, you still do the same movement, but your only reward with your second hand.
If you see your dog losing concentration, it is either that the session is too long or that you have moved to step 3 too quickly.
When faced with a failure, make the request easier, end something successful and offer the dog a short break.
Step 4: Once your dog has assimilated what you were trying to teach him, you can then add an indication, a signal, such as “do it right”, for example. The word doesn’t matter; the important thing is to choose a definitive word that you will systematically indicate to your dog.
Tip: at the beginning, you can help him by putting your arm horizontally in front of him so that he can put his paws on it.
Remember, dogs learn by conditioning and repetition. So don’t try to go too fast and repeat each step enough (even if it is acquired) so that your dog assimilates the indication you want him to integrate.