One of our newer offerings at Dog Willing has been our Tricks Class. It's a more recent offering because it's harder to "sell" to people than our Basic Manners or Level 2 Manners classes. Many people that get dogs now realize that they have to train their dog to have the companion that they envision and a roommate that they actually enjoy having around! However, what isn't immediately apparent to people is why those dogs should then move on to taking classes like agility, nose work, or tricks. As an owner of two working breed dogs- I can attest both personally and professionally to the importance of these classes!
As city dwellers many of us have little time to take our dogs to a place where they can explore, sniff, and run around off of a leash. Many of our clients don't have a yard for their dogs and many dogs don't enjoy the dog park. Especially as the weather gets colder and the streets less walkable- what is your plan to keep your dog occupied and exercised? It's hard! Tricks (and the other higher level classes) are a great solution for this. They work your dog's brain!
Think about it from your perspective- while many of us enjoy a day off, we also often spend it doing something that we find interesting- reading a book, rock climbing, hiking with friends, or going to the beach. If you can't get out- do you get more fidgety if you just sit and at the wall or if you're actively engaging your mind in something? It's the same for our dogs- when their exercise regimens drop, their mental tasks need to increase to keep them happy and behaviorally sound. Many dogs without this type of stimulation end up engaging in behaviors that we don't like such as barking, chewing, pacing, attention-getting behaviors, etc. By taking a class and working on other skills, you can help avoid this boredom and these less desirable behaviors.
It also helps build your relationship. After basic manners is done, many people slide on their training, spend less time engaging with their dogs, and start to expect them to be more sedentary. While this is all well and good, it also decreases the time we spend building our relationships with them- and isn't that why we got a dog? By teaching them tricks it engages us with them and also gives us a way to "show them off" to our friends and family - which always makes me proud of my dogs!!
So try it out! Chase away those winter blues- find a class (either with us or one of our other great local trainers on www.netrainersnetwork.org) and engage your dog's mind! Trust me, it'll be fun!