Myths About Teaching A Dog Tricks.


Honored Member
another one, maybe not so much of a myth, as a mistake made during teaching dogs tricks, is the use of the word "no". No one has to say "no" when dog does wrong move. Just ignore wrong moves,
and reward correct moves.
or reward attempts in right direction.

Occasionally, on some cues, i will interrupt/distract a wrong move, but, typically, i just ignore wrong moves.

If Buddy is getting frustrated with trick, i intersperse tricks he DOES know well, in between his efforts on the new trick. Or, a tip i learned from Jean, is move from room to room, or train tricks outdoors, this can help a dog find it more interesting, to stay at tricks they find harder. As well as swapping out what type of reward i am using, also helps Buddy stay at a trick.

but, most of us here, just never ever use the word "no" during trick training.​


Honored Member
I have one I hear all the time... Tricks? Why, my dog isn't a circusdog!!!
Then I ask them why they taught their dog to sit, because that is a trick too;):D

I do use no:oops:, but not in a way to correct them. I try not to use it, but it just blurts out most of the time... I am teaching myself to use OOPS. And use the NO for only the necessary times.
In trick training I don't go wrong(in using no) often, but in agility I use OOPS. Just because NO sounds bad and angry. OOPS sounds friendly and is used to point out that he/she didn't do what I wanted. Like skipping a pole in the weavepoles or diving into the wrong end of the tunnel. My trainer points out to us everytime we use NO:D She even threatend to make us pay money for everytime we say no:ROFLMAO:


Staff member
I get told all the time that I must spend a ton of time training my dogs, especially the deaf ones... umm no, they're lucky if they get a training session once a week!!!

For some reason, at 3 years old, Mouse has started learning things at an incredible rate! She has become brilliant to train!!! And her memory is AMAZING!!! she seems to remember everything after doing it right ONCE! and almost never "misses" I am humbled by this dog, whom I once thought to be kinda "dim"


Experienced Member
I understand the concept of not saying no, but I use it. My last two dogs seemed to understand - While "off" was the general stop whatever you are doing command, I would use no in front of things they did know .. like no pull, no treat, they even understood puppies no go - meaning I'm going out and you arent. But I think its all in how you use it and how a particular dog takes it.
Zoe now hears no a lot ... but its more of an interrupter to make her "start again" as borders tend to trip over themselves at warp speed


Experienced Member
I too,16 years ago thought teaching stupid pet tricks was somewhat demeaning along with crate training as being cruel ... until I got my first dog - then I understood. My doggy needed things to do and if she wanted to run upstairs to jump on the bed to "find gramma" well I think we BOTH got enjoyment from that.


Honored Member
Nah, i never ever say no, never, not for errors in trying to learn a trick, since i do use word "no" for bad (unwanted) behavior occasionally rarely , so for my dog, "no" means "that's bad", so it's got no place in trying to learn a trick for my dog, or most dogs. I stay all positive.

I occasionally do say, "oh, so close, so close.." lol, but never "no". Lol, to break a bad habit, put a rubber band on your wrist, and snap it on inner wrist each time you say "no"--you will cured by bedtime! ha

Lol, i have similar thing, when i say to my dog, "i'll be back" he knows, that means, "i'm leaving and you are not" and he slumps with a moan to the floor! ha. If i see him getting stoked to go with me, but he's not going to get to go, i say it early on, to avoid him getting himself all stoked up for nothing.


Honored Member
Yeah, Sara, and Amatuer, i have heard similar things, ppl referring to teaching a dog tricks as if it is demeaning to the dog, "a circus dog" etc, i have heard that, too. but i try to point out to them, it's a rare chance for the dog to use his own mind to figure something out, since the typical dog
gets his food chosen for him, and handed to him. Where he lives, where he sleeps, how he spends his day, is largely chosen for him, etc. Most dogs don't get much chances to use their own brains too often to make a decision.

Lol for MY dog, tricks are sort of like his "job". many ppl are aware of notion "dogs need jobs", so tricks kind of helps my dog feel important and useful, and proud.

Plus, many cues are safety cues as well, like stay, drop it, "wait" to get in or out of a car, (picture a flat tire on the toll road) leave it, come, etc, etc,

many are plain handy, like a finger- gun "bang!", and dog falls and puts 4 feet up into the air, i use that one whenever he is coming indoors with wet or dirty feet, or
"stand" for grooming, etc.

but yeah, that is common attitude, "the circus dog" it is, good point to add, i have heard that one.
I also point out to such ppl, how obviously my dog LOVES learning tricks, how tail-waggy he gets when he sees that clicker come out of the drawer.

another sign my dog loves tricks:
Lol, my dog can also tell time, ( i swear, he CAN tell time)
if i give him a lesson, every day at 3pm,
you know, each day at 3pm Buddy comes to pester me for the lesson, poking his nose to me and watching me with pleading eyes. too cute.


Honored Member
also, many dogs lead lives of quiet desparation.
and training tricks does stave off the NUMBER ONE dog complaint,

I just wish more ppl would even try teaching tricks to their dogs, imo. So FUN for the dogs.


Honored Member
Lots of otherwise sensible people say, "It's demeaning for a dog to perform tricks."

It is no more demeaning than for a dog to be fed from a plate rather than catching his own dinner or being a pet rather than a working dog. People obviously find it hard to distinguish between the questionable ethics of teaching a lion to jump through hoops and the same thing taught to a family pet. To be honest when I look at large intelligent animals in zoo cages I think their quality of life could only be improved by getting them to bend their brains on dozens of tricks through clicker training.


Honored Member
yes! i've heard that one, too, RDog!

here's another, Tx and i were chuckling about this one last year, is "It's MEAN to make your dogs do tricks to get a treat. Just be nice, and just hand the dog that bit of meat."

lol. whereas, i think it is "mean"
to nutritionally abuse one's dog by making it obese,
or robbing the dog of the rare chance to figure something out for himself,
or robbing the dog the chance to earn something/ to have a "job"...


Honored Member
"It's MEAN to make your dogs do tricks to get a treat. Just be nice, and just hand the dog that bit of meat."
My family sometimes try that one on me, especially when I cut down Zac's meals to allow me to train more, or make him work for half his dinner. Still one of them came to me and said, "You didn't spend time with Zac last night, I think he missed training."

The related complaint is, "Don't you think it would be better if the dog obeyed because he liked you rather than just because he's hungry?"


Honored Member
//The related complaint is, "Don't you think it would be better if the dog obeyed because he liked you rather than just because he's hungry?" //

rofl, yes, yes, i've heard that one, too. :ROFLMAO: I see it as i am just rewarding my dog, giving him chance to EARN his treats. In all honestly, my dog will do tricks for free. But he is the kind of dog who needs a "job"...and he deserves a paycheck for good work, just like we do! ha ha!!

when actively TEACHING him a trick, i do often use food for rewards, so he knows YES, THAT IS CORRECT!
but, my dog still likes "me", rofl. Odd they can't understand how dogs learn, or a simple reward system, similar to their own paychecks.
I wonder if they feel children in school should not be given "A's" or praise, when they do correct answers..

i wonder if they also feel giving a dog a meal means the dog doesn't really "like" them,


Honored Member
Other myths about dog training, include, puppies have some advantage over adult dogs in learning tricks.
i disagree, i think dogs of all ages can learn tricks. I think many adult dogs have better attention spans than many puppies have.


Honored Member
Re: "It's takes so much time" myth, mentioned above......because so so many ppl really do think dog lessons "take a long time" i think that myth also causes some beginners to make a common mistake, of trying to get a beginner dog to pay attention to a solid hour of lessons............

and sometimes the beginner dog may zone out long before the hour is over.
Then the human, gives up in frustration, walks away, and says, "See? My dog can't pay att'n."

I know many ppl who claim, "my dog won't pay att'n." but i think one factor there,
that the human expected their beginner dog to suddenly have ability on first lessons, to pay att'n for an hour.

The dog CAN and WILL pay att'n, but many beginner dogs have to have their att'n spans slowly built up to last for a 45 minute or 90 minute lesson. I think beginners should be encouraged to keep all lessons short for first month or so, to avoid the dog zoning out on them/frustrated humans. That way, with shorter, quickie lessons, the human AND the dog can build up a love of tricks training,
and advance along from there.


Honored Member
I also think, *sometimes* for *some* dogs,
the belief only treats or tugtoys or leaving on walks, are only possible rewards is almost a myth, imo. almost.

if one is working with dog who is less than enthusiastic for tricks training,
it might be helpful for the human to show some enthusiasm, too.

I think praise is extremely rewarding for many dogs,
and i think anyone using treats only,
and has a less than enthusiastic "student"
that maybe adding in some praise might help perk up the less enthusiastic dog to press on with the trick, to have more fun, and to feel lessons are big fun.

enthusiasm can be contagious.