Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Unique tricks your dog can master

Training your dog to do tricks can lead to hours of fun, though the drives behind the process can’t exactly be filed as a necessity or a need.

Still, even with a trick’s questionable practical value, doggy tricks do bolster their own entertainment and fun points, and as smart as dogs are, they benefit both masters and dogs with training challenges and more quality time spent with each other.

If you happen to be engaged in training new tricks for your dog to do, here are three unique dog tricks which offer challenging training regimens for you and your dog.

The Prayer Stance – training your dog to assume the prayer position combines different training disciplines with different training phases and reinforcers, just like any unique dog trick. The process entails a single command which involves a series of actions, and getting your dog acquainted with the process is necessary in getting the trick done.

One method would be to initially teach your dog how to hop up on his/her front paws, resting them on a low chair or stool with the paws positioned close under his/her chin. Repetition will eventually instill the “pray” command into dogs, and taking out the chair/stool as the training progresses will eventually complete the trick’s training process.

Giving a command to stop should also be part of the process, and using a unique command word is advised. “Amen” maybe.

Turning off lights – this trick, apart from being entertaining, also has a practical side.

Impressive as it is, the actual training process involved in the trick can’t be described as “universal”, given that not all dogs can reach the same height/positions of light switches.

But dog size not considered, treats play a vital role in teaching dogs how to turn off light switches.

This is done by positioning treats near light switches, allowing dogs to jump up and grab them on command. Once the “jumping” phase is well covered, repositioning treats closer to the actual switch (on the switch itself even) then follows, as the training process would entail the actual turning off and turning on of light switches.

This trick requires a lot of training sessions, practice and patience, and for smaller dogs, furniture items or “booster” fixtures will have to be considered.

Cover Eyes – getting this trick done isn’t really as easy as it sounds, since it requires dogs to position their paw or paws in ways they are not used to.

But if your dog is okay with positioning his/her paws to cover his/her eyes, dog owners can begin the training process through repetitive actions and commands.

One method would be to use a strip of scotch tape, with its adhesive reduced to minimum stickiness. Take a strip of tape and pat it against a piece of cloth for a couple of times. Once its stickiness isn’t as strong, position the strip on the bridge of your dog’s nose, and if your dog would naturally object to the tape being there, reinforce that action with a treat.

Do the process over and over, until you no longer need to put tape on your dog’s nose.

As with any trick, give your dog time in getting what he or she should do once a command is issued. Also, do well in providing a healthy learning environment for your dogs, and acknowledge your dog’s needs during training periods, especially when a training session appears to be too stressful for your dog.

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