Teach Your Dog a Trick

January is National Train Your Dog Month and if you are like me, you may have dogs that aren’t perfectly trained in every one of the 10 American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen requirements. OK stop laughing.  Anyone who knows me is probably thinking of phone calls where you are sure to hear “oh Chester, not my shoe” or “Sophy that was my dinner”. So I have decided that in honor of Train Your Dog Month, I will pick one area for each of my dogs and work on getting better results.

But maybe you already have a well-trained dog well then, why not teach them a new trick.  And despite that old expression that you can’t teach and old dog new tricks, you really can, it just may take a bit longer.

One trick you may want to try, that way’ or “this way”. This command basically directs the dog to go to a particular direction. To teach this trick to your dog, use bait which could be a toy or a food item. Place the bait in three different places and then ask the dog to go to any of the three locations and point to the desired location. If they are successful, praise and reward them with a game if it is their favorite toy or let them eat the treat. If you are using exciting bait like a favorite toy or a tasty morsel, you may have to practice this one with your pup on a long line.  I find this trick particularly useful when hiking my dogs off leash.  When I am hiking in one particular field and they are romping ahead of me, when they reach a bend they can either go right or left. If I do not want them swimming, I say “this way” and point to the right.

Don’t think that trick is fun enough?  How about training your dog to wave, or balance a book on her head, or a cookie on his nose? Other tricks might be training your dog to say prayers, speak, play dead, crawl, bow or cover themselves with a blanket.

So whether you decide to do some basic training with your pup or teach some tricks to a senior, spend some time this month training your loyal pal.


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