Trick Training – What’s The Big Deal?

Recently professional dog trainers, hobby trainers and passionate pet lovers are all about promoting trick classes and trick training in general.  The majority of people believe that trick training is cute, but not necessary nor beneficial to their dog or their relationship with their dog.  Here is why they are wrong:

Improved Relationship & Communication
The words “play together, stay together” summarize the fact that those who spend time with their dogs through regular activities are less likely to relinquish their pets.  There is no better way to deepen your bond with your dog than working on some fun training goals.  The key is that training is fun for both you and your dog, which is where many traditional obedience or manners classes fall short, and many competitive canine sports tend to scare some people away.  Trick training sets goals for each individual and does not require meeting set criteria for success.

Mental Stimulation
When teaching tricks dogs utilize both their bodies and their brains, using problem solving skills and draining energy.  By teaching tricks you are channelling their energy into something productive and giving them a job to do.  Increased exercise and mental stimulation is one of the most common remedies for dogs with behavioral problems such as destructive chewing, digging, barking, anxiety and reactivity.

Refine Your Training Skills
There are many ways to teach new behaviors – shaping, luring, capturing, and targeting.  When it comes to using the science of training, practice is essential to master the art of timing, rewards, and communicating effectively with our four-legged companions.  A good trick training instructor will provide feedback on ways to improve your technical training skills.

Body Awareness & Fitness 
When trick training is done correctly, your dog does not become overweight nor dependent on treats.  Quite the opposite in fact – they build muscles, balance and strength that many couch potato dogs don’t even know about, and develop a partnership with their people.

Socialization and Confidence Building
Taking trick classes are especially good for providing another avenue to socialize your puppy or dog.  You are getting them into a new environment, with new people, dogs and experiences.  Through praise, motivation and positive associations, many fearful or submissive dogs gain confidence through learning tricks.

Trick classes are all about promoting fun, positive training methods and engaging more with your pooch.  If you would like to see the benefits yourself, we would love to see you in our upcoming tricks class running every Saturday in February from 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.   Sign up here!

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SO YOU NEED A PET PROFESSIONAL… How to choose?

At some point in your pets’ life, you are likely going to need some sort of professional help; maybe a trainer, behaviorist, groomer, pet sitter or dog walker. There are a multitude of different considerations when looking at hiring someone to help with your pets. Here are some general guidelines when investigating professional pet services.

  1. Always ask for references. It’s not enough to get the names – make some phone calls and ask some questions!
  2. Check their qualifications. Did you know that dog training is not a regulated industry? Anyone can call themselves a dog trainer and charge a fee. You want to look at schooling – did the person take an online course? Watch a television show? Go to school?
  3. Are they licensed, insured and bondable? This is crucial to ensure that you are hiring a reputable professional.
  4. How long have they been in business? This isn’t to say that new businesses aren’t any good – but you do want to know that the person you are hiring has the experience required to do the job properly.
  5. Ask around. Has anyone heard anything about this company or their services? Is it good feedback or bad?
  6. Support small businesses rather than large corporations to do your part in helping both the economy and your community.
  7. Trust your gut. Don’t get a good feeling? Look elsewhere!