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Tuesday Training Byte: Tricks with a Purpose

When I got my very first dog when I was 11, I went to the library and checked out a book by Rudd Weatherwax, the owner and trainer of the famous "Lassie". The book was about teaching your dogs tricks. This was the beginning of my passion of training dogs. Teaching your dog tricks can be fun, but can also serve a greater purpose. Teaching your dog to "play dead" allows you to check your dog's belly for fleas, ticks, lumps, etc. This comes in handy for a vet exam as well. A large breed dog can be intimidating to children. I would have my dog lay on their back, and then have the child give the dog a belly rub, which makes everyone happy. Teaching your dog "paws up" allows you to examine their feet and toenails and makes them more comfortable when introducing nail trimming. Some dogs naturally love to carry things. When I am setting up cones for my Rally course, my dog has a fun job of carrying one of the cones out for me while I carry the others. After we are finished, she enjoys retrieving the cones back to me one by one. Then the last cone, I have her pick up and carry back to the house. When I would take my watering can out front to water flowers, she would wait anxiously for me to hand her the watering can to carry back inside the house. When we lived in a quiet cul-de-sac, several of my dogs loved going out to get the mail from the mailman, and carry it back to the house (Of course anything that looked like important mail, he would hand to me). Teaching tricks can increase the mental stimulation for your dog, the human bond, and can impress your friends. AKC has videos on teaching tricks for the trick dog title. Check it out and have fun training!

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