Strengthening Tricks

While tricks are fun and adorable (how cute is a dog that can take a bow on cue?), did you know they can also be great stretches and muscle strengtheners for our athletic dogs?  Below are just a few examples of tricks that serve a dual purpose, and how to teach them.

Sit Pretty/Sit Up

  • How to teach:  From a sitting position, place a treat right above your pup’s nose.  Then, very slowly move it up, allowing your dog to lick at the treat as he extends his head and neck.  When his front feet come off the ground, praise her/him and give the treat.
  • What it does:  This is a great core strengthener, toning the abdominals and back muscles protecting the spine.

Back Up

  • How to teach:  Stand in front of your dog, and hold a treat at his nose level.  Move the treat slightly in toward his chest, as you step toward him.  This should cause him to take a step backward; when he does, praise and reward him.
  • What it does:  Great for those glutes!

Spin!

  • How to teach:  Hold a treat in front of your dog’s nose, and slowly move it back towards her hip, allowing her to lick at it as she follows.  Keep up this circular motion, until your dog spins a complete circle.  When she does, reward her!  Make sure to go both directions.
  • What it does:  This is a great side stretch, perfect for a warm up or cool down.

When teaching your dog a new trick, it’s okay to reward for attempts, or approximations of the goal.  This will prevent your dog from getting frustrated while learning something new.  Have fun, and try these during your next workout with your pup!