How trick training helped our real-life training.
Before getting into “real-life training” we had already started trick training. By the time Tomy became a foster we had already met some AMAZING dogs that did the cutest tricks, so naturally, we were going to try to teach them to Tomy and make him adorable and irresistible for anyone who wanted to adopt him. (Joke’s on us).
He was already so smart and such a puzzle solver! It was a great way to work his mind.
What all of this actually did, was our first way of actual communication.
No, it had nothing to do with his reactivity or the fact that he had no manners, leash walking, etc. BUT it made us work together for the first time, it was the first time that we were actually bonding and feeling connected to each other. We believed he could do the tricks, never gave up on him and I’d like to believe he felt that. The emotion, the ”you can do it” look and the mega happiness and excitement we got when he got the first step right!
Right after we met with our trainers for the first time and were introduced to tools, we realized that we were just transferring that same communication into real-life situations, only this time we could be clear on what was expected of him in different scenarios. Everything started clicking, we had more sessions, but it was for us humans, to understand and master the communication through the tools and know what to do in difficult situations.
To this day, trick training is something we practice and it let’s me know where he’s at.
Some days the weather, some noises or smells make him feel fearful, uncomfortable, or a little off. Taking a look at how much he is listening or how he is performing a trick, allows me to know if we can continue, if he needs to move or if it’s not uncomfortable enough that we can work through it and get to a point where he gives us his 100%.
On a side note, we also trained some great commands in the “trick mentality”, for example, that is how we trained “place” in the first place. We didn’t really know it was going to be so helpful, or the relaxing and staying in place required so much relaxation and self-control. He naturally loves his bed, so after we read the importance of having a command like that, we started playing with his impulse control and now he masters place command like a pro.