It’s not ‘just’ a trick…

Way back in October when Renee and I went to the APDT Annual Conference, we had the opportunity to watch a presentation by Kyra Sundance and her Weimaraner named Jadie. Kyra and her dogs do tricks demonstrations all over the world including pro sports games and talk shows. Performing at the APDT Conference, in front of 1200 dog trainers, has to be something like having a word renowned chef over for dinner but the show was fun and entertaining. If you would like to see Kyra’s dogs for yourself check out the video below!

Kyra was joined in her presentation by Victoria Stillwell and both women emphasised the fact that dog training should be fun and we would do our dogs AND ourselves a favour if we would treat all training like it was all ‘just tricks’. If you have ever taught your dog a trick – even if it was ‘shake a paw’ – you know how ecstatic you were when your dog first “shook” on cue or when your dog first shook a friends hand. Were you that excited the first time your dog sat for a friend? I bet not.

With the goal of encouraging more people to do more with their dogs, Kyra Sundance formed the Do More with your Dog Association which awards Trick Dog Titles to dogs and their owners who can complete a certain number of tricks. Besides encouraging people to do more with their dogs I like that you can earn the titles with any dog in any place. You don’t need to travel to a trial and you don’t need to perform in front of a crowd or even a licensed judge. You can perform in your living room and have a friend sign off on your performances. I also love these titles because you can do something with your dog even he is fearful or reactive. More often than not, when people have a reactive or shy dog the stop doing things with their dog but tricks are perfect for these dogs to gain confidence and learn new, more socially acceptable behaviours.

Bear has a repertoire of tricks which includes the classics such as ‘wave’ and ‘shake a paw’. We started learning tricks as a way to keep busy but Bear now uses his tricks to earn dinner and to show off for friends and family – There’s nothing cuter than a Rottweiler ‘taking a nap’. Tricks are also the way Bear and his ‘dad’ have fun and bond together in fact, Sean has taught Bear many of his tricks in our hallway with a handful of kibble. Last year, Renee introduced a tricks class called Fun and Games at Two Brown Dogs with a class for small dogs and a class for large dogs. Both classes have been popular and Renee has been amazed by how clever dogs and their people can be.

Since we have a decent group of trick performing dogs out there, Two Brown Dogs will be hosting a Tricks Day on January 28th, 2011 when folks can come, show off and have us sign off on their tricks title forms. My plan is to record the dogs doing tricks and post some video here next month. Keep an eye on our events page for the exact times.

For more reasons to teach your dog tricks, visit the Train Your Dog Month website.

For more information on dog tricks and training visit the Do More with your Dog Association

To see what tricks your dog needs to perform to earn titles, download your Trick Dog Title Form

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