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Friday, April 17, 2009

How to Teach a Dog Tricks

Dogs are man's best friend, and they wish to please us. This can mean behaving and doing what they are asked to do. "Sit" and "stay" are good for well-behaved dogs, but tricks like "shake," "roll over" and "play dead" are also fun.

Difficulty: Moderate

Give treats. Dogs react to food. Give small treats to reinforce good behavior as you teach a dog tricks. As they learn, take away the treats a little at a time until they are obeying commands without food.
Repeat the action. Repetition is key when you teach a dog tricks. They need consistency to understand what action they are being asked to perform, and repeating the action solidifies the learned behavior.
Work with the dog every day. Training has to be done on a regular basis in order for the information to stick with the dog. Taking time every day will ensure that the tricks that have been learned in the past will continue.
Use a clicker. Food is a good option, but seeing as dogs process information with their sense of hearing and smell more than humans, using a clicker to train is helpful. They can be purchased at any pet store. To properly use a clicker to teach a dog tricks you must familiarize the dog with the sound and follow it with the command. You can still use treats as a reward, but the clicker can be the main training tool.
Use verbal and physical commands. Dogs can associate a word and a hand motion with different actions. When you tell the dog to roll over with your words and hands, it will help them to comprehend what is being asked of them.

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