Just For Fun

Tricks for kicks
By Karen B. London PhD, September 2010

A lot of training is simply teaching our dogs to be polite members of both human and canine society. Walking nicely on a leash, proper greetings, coming when called, doing sits, downs and stays on cue and letting children eat ice cream cones without helping are all useful skills that make any dog more pleasant to be around.

 
Yet, it’s the fun things we teach our dogs that give many of us the most joy. Even simple tricks such as beg, crawl and rollover provide loads of fun both when we spend the time with our dogs to train them and when we get to show off their tricks to other people.
 
Some tricks are timeless, taught to each generation of dogs. Other tricks cycle in and out of favor, with certain tricks being popular right now. Among the “in” tricks to train dogs lately are the following:
 
“Aaachoo!” The dog retrieves a tissue when you sneeze.
 
“Leg up” To lift a leg as though urinating, but without really doing so.
 
“Stop, drop, roll and crawl to safety.” To stop, lie down, rollover and then crawl as a demonstration of the fire safety behavior
 
“Tidy up!” To put each toy into the toy box.
 
Does your dog have a favorite trick? Is it your favorite as well?

Karen B. London, PhD, is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer who specializes in working with dogs with serious behavioral problems, including aggression. She is the author of five books on canine training and behavior.