Think Your Dog's Tricks Are Just for Fun? How They Can Help in Real-Life Situations

Dog going roll over trick
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Asking your dog to play dead can help her focus her calm down.

Your dog’s tricks aren’t just for show — they can be fabulously functional, too! Focusing on tricks can help your dog calm down in exciting situations and can help redirect his energy away from unwanted behaviors like barking or jumping. For example, a dog who tends to chase everything that moves — including small children and other animals — can be distracted by asking him for a series of active tricks, like sit and roll over and spin. This can create a diversion until the dog — or the child or animal — can be moved to another space.

Here are some simple tricks to teach your dog that can help you manage real-life situations.

Go to Your Spot

Teaching your dog to go to a specific spot — his bed, a mat, his crate — in response to a command can be very helpful. If your dog barks at the doorbell or is an overly excitable greeter, teaching him to go to his mat when the doorbell rings and stay there until he is released will keep him from rushing the door.

Ward off mealtime begging by asking your dog to go to his spot and stay there until you are finished eating. Sending your dog to his spot can also be helpful if your pooch gets overly excited about his own dinner. When it’s time for your dog's meal, ask him to go and wait on his spot until his meal is delivered to him. Bonus: The messy or crumbly remains of a food puzzle, chew or meal can be contained in a specific space rather than scattered around your home.

Is your dog constantly under your feet? This can be dangerous for you and your dog, especially if you’re carrying something in your hands. To avoid an accident, send him to his spot while you unload the groceries or move hot food around in the kitchen. When you’re done with your task, reward him with treats or attention.

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