When you get your dog, you already know what you’re going to teach it. First, there will be housebreaking (if it’s a puppy, or untrained) then you’ll go with the basics. “Sit”, “stay”, “heel”, and maybe even “lie down” or “crate” if you’re feeling motivated. But, for many owners, the tricks stop there. 

What you may not realize is that teaching a new trick for your dog every week, or even ever other week, can greatly benefit both you, AND your dog! 

Regular training by adding new tricks, and then going over and practicing the old ones, helps to keep your dog mentally stimulated. The mind, like every other part of the body, has a “use it or lose it” policy. The more you teach your dog, even starting with very small steps like “stay”, the more he’ll be able to learn.  Toys are a great start for entertaining your dog, particularly puzzle toys, because they generally reinforce your dogs natural instincts and don’t require too much mental effort on his behalf.  Adding a new activity that your dog has to think about to learn exercises his mind. Best of all, the more basic moves you can teach your pooch, the more complicated tricks he’ll be able to pull off later. 

If your dog just sits around all day, doing the same thing over and over, his brain isn’t getting the exercise it needs. A bored dog can develop destructive habits, and anxiety. A dog that is regularly given new tricks to learn is more likely to be better behaved overall, and more able to enjoy “quiet time” because it’s actually tired. 

Finally, teaching your dog tricks can help to strengthen the bond you have with your pet. You’ll be spending more focused attention on your dog, who will be regularly rewarded (you can reward your dog with positive attention like petting and praise, or, you can give them treats giving them motivation. The time you spend together in training will help develop better communication between you and your pet and make time with them even more enjoyable.