Dogs have us at their disposal at the moment. Whilst we are stuck in isolation, they have never been more social – having our company day in, and day out. And, whilst many assume that our constant presence makes our dogs happy, it is still an adjustment to their routine. That is why it is important that we keep them busy with purposeful jobs each day.
In addition to our dogs, we are also experiencing mass adjustments to our routines, so keeping our dogs busy each day, not only makes them happier and healthier, it can do the same for us too. With mental illness on the understandable incline, it cannot be refuted that the value of having a purposeful life, is in fact; invaluable. So how do you keep your dog active each day, and find joy for yourself within their new and challenging routine? Well, I have come up with 14 tricks in 14 days. This challenge includes a range of behaviours that you can train your dog to do, that not only challenge your dog’s mind, they will challenge yours too!
The beauty of dog training however is that once you start to understand the basic concepts of learning, you realise that dog training is actually very simple. And the best part, is that dog training can be incredibly mutually rewarding. This is because, it is incredibly gratifying to see your dog master a challenge, and it is just as gratifying knowing that the only reason they learnt it so well, was because of your strengthened training acumen.
So, here are my 14 tricks, with how-to videos, which can be viewed at laurav.com.au:
Teach your dog to
- Dance on your feet
- Pretend to sunbake on their back
- Search for a hidden item
- Ride a skateboard
- Weave between your legs
- Shake hands
- Play tug and give the toy back to you
- Spin around in a circle
- Go to their bed and stay there!
- Trim their own nails
- Heel off lead
- Leave it
- Kiss a picture of themselves and
- Learn to make dog treats with just 4 ingredients – yes this one is for the humans.
Expanding your dog’s thinking and teaching them new things equates to a more optimistic state of mind. Dogs who are challenged with achievable tasks get a huge sense of confidence, which is particularly valuable if you have a puppy or newly adopted rescue dog. But, it is also worthwhile training your existing dog to learn new things no matter how old they are. My dog Chester is 11, and continues to learn new skills with me. Alma my other staffy is almost 16, and adores giving me a high five for a treat. The neurons in our dogs’ brains are excited whenever they are used, so the more your dog thinks, the more active their brain will be. Dogs who have active brains, with purpose, are invariably happier and healthier than dogs who do not.
All these tricks are also an excellent way to help a timid dog build confidence, and an anxious dog learn to trust and respect your leadership more.
It is so incredible to watch a dog focus and become motivated with you to learn something new. We are so heavily responsible for the happiness of our dogs, and if it is this easy to make them happy, why on earth wouldn’t we try? Enjoy my 14 tricks in 14 days, I can’t wait to see how you and your dog progress!