Animal House: Stop Trying To Make Fetch Happen

Dec 31, 2016

Teaching you dog tricks should be fun for the both of you.
Credit Michael / Flickr via Creative Commons

We train our dogs to do obedience commands to keep them safe and to make sure they're good canine citizens.  Tricks, however, are the gravy of training -- not necessary, but very nice.  But it's not always easy to teach a dog, old or otherwise, a new trick.

  • Teaching our pets tricks can be a lot of fun and bring us closer together, said dog trainer Bob Ryder from Pawsitive Transformations.
  • If your canine doesn't seem interested in learning a trick, it might be that you need a better reward system for that dog.  Find out what makes the dog tick, what reward it desires, and you'll find how to get him to do what you desire.  Might be a treat, might be a belly rub.  That's up to your dog.
  • If you think your dog is just being stubborn when he doesn't take to a trick, you're probably wrong.  It's likely your dog is confused, not stubborn.  Be clear and precise in your directions.
  • Sometimes a dog won't do a particular trick because there's a physical reason why.  Asking your dog to do a flip or walk on his hind legs won't work if your dog has arthritis.  Any limit in movement should be checked out by a vet.
  • If you've been training a dog soley in one room, then try to get him to do the trick elsewhere, he might not do it.  The dog might associate the trick to a particular space and not understand if you ask him to do it in another.
  • Never use fear, punishment or threats to train a dog.  Never.  Ever.  Don't do it.  Treats work so much better.
  • Watch Bob Ryder train his dog, Daisy.

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