Our dog friends have a knack for softening us up in so many ways! They give us the paw and give us the puppy eyes look. We like to share fun moments with them. And very useful and fun activity is teaching a dog a “showing off” trick!
Why teach your dog “tricks”?
Teaching your dog tricks can be very important for your canine companion. These are fun tricks and they are far from useless! It stimulates him and allows him to learn all his life.
What we call tricks are really just obedience. Learning should always be fun for both dog and owner. Taking turns with your dog helps him become aware of his body (proprioception) in the space he occupies.
Doing “tricks” on it allows you to spend it physically, but also mentally. Mental expenditure in dogs is just as important as physical expenditure. Studies show that the energy that results from mental expenditure is about ten times greater than just physical expenditure. Playing and learning helps strengthen the bonds between a dog and his master. By stimulating your dog, you are meeting his needs. It is an exchange that allows your dog to gain confidence in you.
Another great benefit for most owners is that learning tricks builds a dog’s obedience. Even if learning takes discipline, its tricks are often learned with fun and good humor. A dog who manages to “give a paw”, a “turn” or a “show off” will have less difficulty in sitting or lying down.
For which dogs?
Basically all dogs can learn all their life. If a dog has never been stimulated it will be more difficult for him to learn new things.
You must still consider:
- the age of the dog: a dog learns more slowly as it ages
- the breed: the basset will have a lot of difficulty showing off, a husky will not necessarily be focused on obedience unlike a Malinois for example
- size: it is not recommended to teach large dogs such as great dogs to show off
- the state of health of your dog: we do not ask to show off a dog who has problems with his hips and elbows
- Some tricks are a real physical expense for the dog, so you have to take care of him.
Also consider that a dog needs to build muscle, especially for this trick, which requires a strong back. The dog must be able to see the placement of his body in the space he occupies. This allows him to be able to position himself well and succeed in a round without getting injured.
5 steps to learn to look good
Now let’s see together the five stages to be taken for this learning. The first rule is to take your time and exercise without skipping steps. Respect your dog’s learning pace. For this trick, you will need tasty treats. Indeed, you will accompany him in the desired position by luring him. The sweets should not be too big (small pieces of raw meat, knackis, pieces of Gruyère).
1- Your dog must be comfortable going from bed to sitting and from sitting to bed. He is learning to use his back at this time. You can lure him by placing your hand at his nose and moving up and down to lay him down. And from bottom to top to go from bed to sitting. As soon as the dog goes sitting at bedtime or from bedtime to sitting, reward him. Repeat, until your dog has no further hesitation.
2- Then, with your hand that holds the treat, guide your dog. To do this, gradually place your hand above his head, to encourage him to lift his paws off the ground. As soon as he lifts his paws a little, reward him. Pay attention to the placement of your hand. If it is too low, the dog will not be able to lift its legs. If your hand is too high, your dog will jump and be more likely to get excited. Your timing must be perfect so that the dog can associate more quickly with what you want from him. You don’t have to say “no” if your dog is doing “badly” or not doing what you want. He will not understand and will get stuck. So it is better not to speak and to concentrate on your hands.
3- Repeat these exercises several times. Your dog should start to understand your request. If you are sure about this step, you can start to dispense with treats to lure him. That is, you no longer put the treat in your hand, but just keep doing the same thing. Once the dog does the exercise it can be rewarded with the other hand. For this step, the dog really needs to know how to exercise on each request. Otherwise, you will have skipped the mark and you have to go back. You don’t have to do all of the steps on the same day. If you see your dog getting discouraged and stalling, don’t hesitate to make the exercise easier. Then finish on something that will make him successful.
4- Once the first three steps have been assimilated, you can then put a verbal indication to this “request”. Add a sound signal like “show off” before indicating with the gesture what you expect from him. The word doesn’t matter, but it should stay the same so as not to confuse the dog.
5- The last step, you will have to make sure that everything is understood by your dog: the gesture as the verbal indication. Remember to reward him, even if you can ask him little by little without treats.
You have all the keys to succeed in this trick! All you have to do is get to work. There are so many ways to keep your dog busy while having fun with him! Keep in mind that each dog should be able to go at their own pace and that not all are comfortable with the idea of getting on their hind legs. It’s no big deal, because there are tons of tricks you can teach your dog!