How well does your dog know basic commands? This is essential to performing circus tricks. If your dog doesn’t even know basic commands, it will be more difficult and confusing to teach circus tricks. Be sure your dog knows the basics very well before starting circus tricks. Basics include commands such as sit, stay, shake, up, down, fetch, drop it, leave it, and more.
Does your dog listen on command every time? A dog who follows instructions will be easier to train. Others can still learn tricks but it may take longer to get them down. In order to perform, a dog needs to crave obedience and listen on command each and every time. Otherwise, the performance may not go so well. Practice and positive reinforcement can help your dog master this – and even crave it.
Does your dog enjoy performing for you? Observe your dog. Is he or she happy doing tricks for you? If so, this is a good sign going into circus training. Dogs who enjoy performing for their owners may also enjoy performing for an audience. Though this is not always the case, it can be a good starting point for determining how your dog will perform on stage or in a circus ring.
Do you have motivational supplies on hand? Treats, a clicker, a favorite toy, or another reward may help motivate your dog to learn tricks. When there is a motivator behind completing a task, a dog is more likely to perform it. For some dogs, just hearing praise from their human is enough. But this won't be the case for all dogs. Be sure you have whatever your dog prefers on hand during all circus training sessions. When you are ready with your dog's motivational tools, your dog will be more ready to learn.
How is your dog around large crowds? Does your dog know how to relax in a crowded environment or does this cause stress? Watch your dog for signs of discomfort as well as signs of contentment around large groups of people. If your dog is too nervous or excited, positive training may help. Ultimately, the safety of your dog and people should come before your desire for your dog to perform in a circus.
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