Trick Training IS for the Dogs, Agility Dogs

trick training good for the dogThere is more to trick training than preparing for a “dog and pony show.” Though we do agree that it can be great fun to show off your dog’s amazing repertoire of tricks to friends and family. However, tricks can do so much more for you and your dog besides halftime entertainment. It can teach your dog confidence, body awareness, and build a stronger bond with their handler.

We have heard many stories of dogs gaining confidence while learning tricks, but one in particular makes a great point of how you can use “tricks” to help your dog. We had this story of KC, a shy German Shepherd Dog, shared with us. KC had started family life late as a 5 month old pup that had never been out of the kennels. He developed a fear of strangers that his owners wanted to help him overcome. After basic in home obedience lessons his owners decided to try dog agility.

During the required Home Manners class they taught KC a trick to help him overcome his fear of strangers. He learned to greet new people with a “kiss” to the back of their hand. His confidence grew, though never a social butterfly, and he soon became comfortable with greeting strangers with his new trick. Losing his fear of strangers helped him become a great dog agility competitor as well.

In dog agility, body awareness tricks are so popular they are a prerequisite for many trainers before even taking dogs near the equipment. It also gives owners a bunch of work to do with puppies that are too young to be on the equipment. Tricks like hand stands, begging, getting in and out of boxes/containers, balancing on objects all build strength, coordination, and confidence in dogs before taking on agility equipment.

And it goes without saying that trick training builds a stronger bond between you and your dog. While you might cringe at lessons such as loose leash walking, stays, or recalls, trick training itself is fun for dog and handler. This atmosphere of fun creates a lovely learning environment and perfect ground for building trust, communication, and teamwork that grows any team’s bond. And the better your bond the stronger your team, the stronger your team the better your dog agility performance.

So, get out there, get creative and get training tricks. It is a win/win that you can’t afford to pass up. You and your dog will benefit from it and then you can go show off your new talents to all your friends and family. If you have a story about how trick training helped your team, we would love to hear it. Just scroll down to the comments below and leave your story for everyone to read.