Cool Ideas

Tricks Aren't Just For Treats

Most dog owners love the cute factor that comes with a dog performing a trick, and dogs love the treats that usually come afterwards. However, teaching your dog tricks actually has value far beyond that of just entertainment. Here, we outline the benefits of teaching your pooch how to roll over, shake hands, and speak—just to name a few favorites.

Tricks Aren't Just for Treats
  1. Reduces anxiety: Tricks are a great way to distract dogs in anxiety-inducing settings, especially dogs that are prone to getting overly excited or emotional. For instance, if some outside noise seems to be causing your dog stress, asking her to perform a trick is a great way to steer her focus onto something positive.
  2. Makes dogs seem less intimidating: If you own a so-called “scary” breed, you are probably used to an unfair bias that your dog is mean and ready to attack. And while you certainly don't need to prove anything, teaching your dog some friendly tricks like waving or shaking hands will put anyone at ease.
  3. Improves behavior: It probably comes as no surprise that a dog that can roll over on command is going to understand other commands as well—like commands that deter them from going through the trash, having accidents in the house, and so on.
  4. Source of exercise: If your dog is showing off his skills, it's going to be exercising both body and mind, which is important for any breed of dog to do. Tricks can actually improve flexibility, balance, and concentration, as well as built muscle tone and endurance.
  5. Builds bonds: Obviously if you are taking the time to teach your dog tricks, that means you are spending quality time with your pet, which might just be the biggest benefit of all—for both of you.