You’re probably thinking “oh, my dog needs more training before he is ready to learn tricks”.

Not so much.

Let me tell you two stories. In our last Tricks class we had one dog who did not get along with other dogs. We had a second dog who was afraid of people. A third dog was afraid of everything. By the second week of class every dog was so busy and engaged, working with their person and having fun, that we all forgot about what any dog couldn’t do. They were being successful and doing.

Just last week I worked with a small young dog. Dog had never been to any training class and owner never tried to teach the dog anything. That often happens with small dogs because you can just pick them up and put them somewhere. But now she needed the dog to learn something. First I introduced the dog to a clicker. That took two minutes. Dog heard a click and snapped his head to me for his reward. It was a simple matter to shape him to step up on a plastic box. He had so much fun with this new game that when owner and I would stop to talk, little guy hopped up on the box, posing “look at me!”

When we’re in a formal training class we get a little uptight. Hoping my dog isn’t the slowest learner, the worst behaved. Fearing I will be the clumsiest handler, the least coordinated. In tricks, there is no pressure.  It is all fun, learning along the way.

As more people have come to appreciate the usefulness of trick training there has been a proliferation of books on the subject. Kyra Sundance, for one, has an entire series ranging from Tricks for Puppies to advanced tricks.

So get off the couch, load up that bait bag and teach your dog some tricks.

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