Useful Dog Tricks

It can be easy to think of tricks as something to entertain the neighbors or to impress Aunt Mildred. But I am a huge believer in tricks as an intrinsic part of any trained dog's life. From being able to give paw to playing piano like this delightful poodle mix below, every good dog benefits from knowing a varied assortment of tricks.

It's easy to think of dog tricks as simply cute entertainment, but that's not the whole story. They can be skills of real usefulness.

Many behaviorists feel we have just scratched the surface in understanding what dogs really can do. From avalanche rescue dogs who can smell victims buried deep in the snow to border collies that know over 100 command whistles, dogs have uncanny abilities. Moreover, dogs really enjoy feeling useful.

Dogs love a job. Even if you aren't handicapped and don't need help to, say, undo your shoelaces, your dog will still enjoy and get satisfaction helping you do so.

Most owners want their dogs to live happy and satisfying lives, but don't give them enough to do. A few excellent and even better useful tricks (see Tricks as Distraction for how to do this) can make all the difference.

Watch, for example, how useful Jessie feels! 

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