In addition to learning the classic signals (“sit”, “place”, “stay”), more and more dog owners are interested in trick training. From simple tricks such as “giving paws” and “role” to complex tasks such as retrieving a bottle from the fridge, there are no limits to the imagination in trick training. With the help of positive reinforcement, good timing and fun training, dog and owner can work out the best tasks together. Trick training has a positive effect on the relationship between humans and dogs, offers mental workload, promotes the dog’s self-confidence, stimulates learning and is simply fun.
Nevertheless, some dog owners are still skeptical about the topic. You hear statements like “My dog is not a circus animal” and “That’s all nonsense”. How about that? Does trick training make any sense?
For that there is a clear YES from me! Trick training makes sense! No ifs and buts! In addition to the reasons listed above (which are crucial enough), there is another unbeatable argument that is unfortunately often overlooked:
Learned tricks can be used for necessary measures, which otherwise often result in stress for humans and dogs. Examples of this are the dog’s personal hygiene, examinations by the veterinarian (from getting on the scales to taking blood and lying still for X-rays), everyday procedures such as cleaning the paws or cutting off many unloved claws.
What does trick training have to do with personal hygiene or blood sampling?
“”Probably the most important reason to train animals is to teach them to cooperate with humans in their own care.””
In the following, shed more light on how a few tricks work and see what these tricks are useful for:
The “give paw” on signal is probably one of the most popular tricks. Even without having to deal more deeply with trick training (or training in general), many owners can often teach the dog this trick before the basic signals.
If the “give paw” has been built up well and the dog does it with pleasure, you can use it for example for:
- Clean everyday paws
- cut claws
- blood draw
- and and and
This trick teaches the dog to lie on its side and remain there until the signal is released. For us it means
this signal “Peng!” In addition to the fun factor, this trick finds many useful applications in living with the dog:
- Search the dog for ticks
- Feeling the abdomen and genital area at the veterinarian
- Still lie on the x-ray
- Implementation of physiotherapy measures
- and and and
With the hand target (also called “touch”), the dog touches the hand of a person or any other object with his nose. This trick is one of my favorite signals because it is so versatile:
- Position the dog in a different position without pressure, pressure or leash printing
- Guide the dog to various objects, such as the scales at the vet
- Auxiliary signal for putting on a breast harness
- and and and
Similar to the hand target, but with this trick the dog places his chin (and thus his head) on the open palm of the person or places the chin on his lap, a towel, a table or other object and stays in it Position calm until the signal is resolved. While the dog is carrying out the signal, the owner can carry out various measures on the now calm dog’s body with a well-trained chin target:
- Examine and clean ears
- Apply eye drops
- Examine body for ticks
- Listen to the dog with the stethoscope
- and and and
With this trick, called “bow” in our case, the dog goes into the lower body position. This trick can be used if the dog e.g. should warm up before sporting activities. We use it every day when our morning muffle Darryl gets up after 15 hours of sleep and stumbles stiffly to the door to go into the garden. When I give him the “bow” signal, he moves to the front of his body and he uses it directly to stretch properly.
This is just a small extract from the various tricks and their possible uses in everyday life, which make it easier for people and dogs to live together. By building tricks and using these measures that are necessary anyway, we can reduce stress and increase cooperation.