Training tricks has a lot of benefits for any dog, and is especially beneficial for a disc dog. Trick training teaches your dog how to learn, improves human-canine communication, provides the dog with mental stimulation, increases the bond between you & your dog, and improves body awareness. Win! In disc, trick training has the added advantage that the tricks can be used in your freestyle routine. There are tons of books & YouTube tutorials on training tricks, and you can certainly start it on your own. Today, I’m going to talk about the trick titling program through Do More With Your Dog.
Do More With Your Dog (DMWYD) offers 5 levels of trick titles – Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, Expert & Champion. For the first four levels, you can have a friend or family member witness your tricks OR you can submit video on Facebook to have your tricks witnessed. The Championship level requires video submission.
DMWYD offers Spark Teams to help you stay on track earning your trick dog titles. Spark Teams are Facebook groups led by a Certified Trick Dog Instructor, and you can find a full list here. There are several Spark Teams for each level. In my experience, the amount of support and the quality of the training offered by a spark team varies a lot, so don’t hesitate to join a different spark team if the first one you try doesn’t work for you. In general, new programs start the first of each month. Throughout the month, the instructor will post tutorials and demonstrations of some of the tricks for that level. In most, by the end of the month you will have learned enough tricks to pass that level. Once you submit the application for that title for a small fee, you can join a spark team for the next level & progress through the series.
To give you an idea of the types of tricks accepted by the program, I’ll list a few tricks that would work in freestyle routines. There are LOTS of tricks to choose from at each level, and you only need to pick a small number to earn your title. I’m listing just a few!
- Drop It/Give (See Drop That Disc!)
- Fetch to Hand
- Figure 8s through my legs
- Flying disc (See Backhand Grip with Matt Bilderback)
- Jump Through Circled Arms
- Leg Weave
- Paws On My Arm
- Roll Over
- Spin Circles
- Wave Goodbye
- Back Up (See Scoot!)
- Play Dead
- Chorus Line Kicks
- Cross Your Paws
- Jump Into My Arms (See Dog Catch with Sara Brueske and Dog Catch with Chris Mashburn)
- Jump Over My Back
- Disc Vault Off Leg or Back
Here is puppy Legacy’s Novice level title submission.
You certainly don’t need to join a spark team, or to earn the trick dog titles in order to teach your dog tricks. But with the disc season winding down and a long winter ahead, this might be a good way to maintain your motivation. By the time spring arrives, you can have a bunch more tricks in your arsenal to freshen up your freestyle routine!