Originally published on ArlNow.com 

Teaching tricks is great for dogs. It provides them with both mental and physical stimulation and helps create a stronger working relationship between the dog and the handler.

One of the best ways to help your dog perform basic obedience skills better is to spend some time teaching trick behaviors. We know that the more things we teach a dog, the better they get at learning. And the more often we ask for behaviors, the better they get at offering them. One of the reasons tricks are more fun and easier to teach is because we place less pressure on ourselves and the dogs to learn them. It seems critical that the dog learn to stay, but just fun if the dog learns to roll over. The lack of pressure makes us laugh and amused when teaching tricks.

But the extra pressure of “obedience commands” stresses us out and can make us angry when the dog doesn’t get it right away. The reality is that to the dog, they are all just tricks.

There are now some trick dog titles that you can work on with your dog without having to go to class or perform them at an event. The titles are granted on an honor role system, but it is also a lot of fun to post them on line and share them with others. One interesting website is: Do More With Your Dog at http://domorewithyourdog.com/pages/trickdogtitle.html.

There are four levels of trick dog titles and lots of suggested tricks to get you started! We would also love to see your dogs tricks on the WOOFS! Facebook page. The most important thing is to have fun.