Approaches to Teaching Dog Tricks

Here is an article about a few approaches to teaching dog tricks by a guest author, Jason Brooks. I hope you enjoy reading it.

Many people take great pride in their pets whether it is in their appearance or in their abilities. Teaching a dog tricks is a common approach to show off the special bond that people share with our furry companions.

Some may think that tricks are a little difficult. However, there are some things you can do to make the process easier.

Natural Abilities - Approaches to Teaching Dog Tricks

Just as people have talents, dogs have certain abilities that come naturally to them as well. One of the best approaches to teaching your dog tricks is to make some keen observations about his innate talents and natural abilities. Even things that may not seem like talents can be taken into consideration.

For example, if your dog tends to jump, you can harness that natural ability into a trick that the pet does on command. Rather than extinguishing the behavior you can actually control when and where the dog engages in the act of jumping. If he already enjoys it, you might as well make the most of it.

Teaching your dog to jump on command - and only on command - is a great way to v while still letting him jump from time to time. The dog will be very motivated because it is an action that he already enjoys. The act of jumping is rewarding in itself.

Positive Reinforcement - Approaches to Teaching Dog Tricks

Positive reinforcement is in essence, rewards for desired behaviors. This basically requires immediate, tangible rewards for the target behavior. For example, if you want your dog to jump on command, you would reward him each time that he jumped when given the direction.

It is important to note that you do not want to reward him for jumping without the command. The dog has to make a clear connection between the order, the action and the reward. This helps your pet learn how to think in terms of cause and effect and gradually, the skill will be mastered.

Prompting - Approaches to Teaching Dog Tricks

Sometimes a dog may not make a connection between a command and a behavior right away. There are times when he needs to be prompted to help him understand. Prompting can come in several different forms but many dog owners like to use physical prompts to help their pets along.

A physical prompt is quite simple. You just help the dog complete the action. For example, if you want your dog to learn the command "sit" you would press on his backend, helping him sit down right after making the order. He would still receive a reward for sitting even though he was helped. A few practice runs with prompts are usually all that is necessary.

Other forms of prompting include verbal cues, visual cues and modeling. These are not quite as concrete as physical cues but they can work in some instances. Ideally, the dog will perform a trick on the initial verbal command without any further prompting necessary. Breaking down dog tricks into small steps is a great way to ensure that your pet will learn to understand the process. Starting with activities that are naturally appealing to him is a fantastic way to begin.

Article by Jason Brooks of, leading provider of dog feeders.

Return from Approaches to Teaching Dog Tricks to GSD photos

Whoever said "let sleeping dogs lie" didn't sleep with dogs. - Unknown

Sign up for promotions, news, discounts, and the chance to win prizes for you and your German Shepherd

E-mail Address
First Name

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you German Shepherds Rule.