Looking for a way to keep your dog occupied on those days when it’s just too cold outside to play? Consider exercising his mind.

One of the biggest shames in all of dogdom is how few things most people teach their dogs. What many people don’t realize is that training is a way of communicating with your dog, of sharing a common language. The more words you both know the meaning of, the more you are sharing your lives.

How many words can your dog know? A lot more than you can imagine, I’m guessing. Consider that dogs who help wheelchair users are routinely trained to perform dozens of different tasks — more than a hundred in some cases. And if you argue that your dog is not as smart as a service dog, I’ll argue back that even if he’s only half as smart, he can learn a couple of dozen more things than he knows now.

Besides, tricks are great fun for any dog of any age. While canine whiz kids such as poodles and border collies will pick up things quickly, any dog will catch on eventually, if you’re patient, consistent and encouraging. You can teach tricks one at a time or a couple at once, as long as you’ve time to practice each one a couple of times a day.

Read the rest on dog tricks here…

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