Is Your Jack Ready to Learn Some Tricks?

So you've been seeing talented Jack Russell terriers in the movies, at dog shows, and on TV, and you know your pup is smart enough to do that.

Perhaps you sense that your Jack is bored with his or her routine and longs to be doing something more.

Or maybe you're looking for a way to get closer to your doggo by doing something that's fun for both of you.

Have you ever thought about teaching your dog tricks?

What Kind of Tricks?

That's the great thing. If your Jack can do something — something cute, something useful, something fun — then he or she can learn to do it on command.

Check out the irrepressible Jesse:

In the video, Jesse makes coffee, picks up trash and puts it in the bin, fills the dishwasher, and more.

But maybe you're thinking about more traditional dog tricks.

The AKC Trick Dog Program

The American Kennel Club's Trick Dog program might be just what your little friend is looking for.

The Trick Dog program offers five levels of qualification for your dog. Here are just a few of the tricks at the first level, Novice Trick Dog. (You can view the full list here.)

  • Bark on cue
  • Fetch
  • High five
  • Spin in a circle
  • Go through a tunnel

Getting started with the AKC Trick Dog program

The AKC offers testing and registration for dogs who meet the Trick Dog qualifications. However, if you want training, you'll have to locate a club that will help you to train your dog for the test.

Once training is complete, your dog will have to perform the tricks for his or her level in front of an AKC evaluator.

Other Ways To Teach and Learn Tricks

You can also look for classes and seminars. Some good places to find training classes include your local Parks and Recreation department, large pet stores like Petco and Petsmart, and various animal rescue organizations like the Humane Society.

You can also do it yourself.

DIY Dog Tricks

If your dog likes to learn, you could give it a go yourself.

Two tricks that form the foundation for many more advanced tricks are responding to a clicker, and teaching your dog to touch the end of a dowel with his or her nose.

Clicker training is a reward system that rewards your dog for doing a specific task. When you start the training, the reward is usually food-based. But by gradually introducing a clicking sound from the clicker when the treat is given, your dog will learn to respond to the clicker in the same way.

What about that touch stick? This video explains the concept and where you can go with it, once your pup has mastered it.

If your dog can touch a touch stick on cue, you can teach them to identify (by touch) other household objects, and even bring them to you. Check this out:

See? With just a few foundational tricks, you can build an entire repertoire.

With a little creative engineering, you can even teach your dog to text a selfie!

Let's Learn Some Tricks!

The first step, of course, is some basic obedience training. This will ensure that your dog will listen to you and pay attention!

Next, train your dog to respond to a clicker. A clicker is small and light. It'll fit into your pocket, and won't get dust or grease all over the place.

After that, train your dog to touch a touch stick. This will help him or her to learn other tricks.

Finally, think about other tricks you'd like your buddy to learn. Doggiebuddy.com has a database of 52 interesting and useful tricks you can teach your dog, along with instructions and videos.

Teaching your dog — old or young — new tricks is a great way to challenge that sharp Jack Russell mind. It's also a fantastic way to bond with your dog.

So, which trick will you learn next?

Featured Image CC0 by Nick Trumble, via Pixabay