Teaching your dog how to perform tricks can be a lot of fun. Besides all of that fun, it can actually be helpful in day to day life. Here are 3 ways it’s helpful:
Reinforcement history Whenever pet parents teach their dog tricks, they’re not afraid to pay out with rewards. Because of this, dogs start to pay more attention to what their pet parents are saying. More rewards means a more motivated dog. A dog that is very motivated is going to respond faster. Incompatible behaviors Some tricks can be used in place of unwanted behaviors. If you teach your dog to go to their place and hold a down/stay, they can’t do this and also jump up on counters to try to grab goodies. If you teach your dog to sit and give a high five, it can prevent them from jumping since they both cannot be done at the same time. Pet parents often use tricks out on walks to help decrease on leash reactivity. This works by waiting for their dog to notice the distraction and then asking for a trick that is doable in the scenario and has a high payout history. With repetition, instead of barking and lunging when the distraction is present, a more appropriate trick is performed and rewarded. Mental Stimulation Teaching tricks is also a fantastic boredom buster. Some tricks take some physical effort, but most are going to take a lot of mental effort. Practicing tricks for 5-10 minutes a day gives your dog something to focus on and will likely lead to some “chill” time after.