If you think teaching your dog novel behaviors is a waste of time, I encourage you to think again. I have five reasons why you may want to spend a few minutes to train some different behaviors.
They can be used as reinforcers. When taught with a high rate of reinforcement, the behavior itself becomes a reinforcer as it has over time come to be associated with a valued consequence. You can add value to loose leash walking if, after your dog walks by your side so many steps, that you suddenly tell him to grab a ball, run around a pole, or jump.
They build value for paying attention to you. It makes life more unpredictable. If you ask your dog to sit for everything he wants in life, then that sit just becomes automatic. There is really no need for your dog to have to pay attention. If on the other hand, your dog can not predict that you may ask for a bow, a turn, a jump OR a sit, in order to have the opportunity to do or get something he values, then he had better be alert and focused or that opportunity will be gone.
They create better teachers and students. The more you practice teaching with success, the better you will become at teaching; and the more your dog practices learning from you in positive ways; the better your dog will become at being learning.
They strengthen relationships. The more experience your dog has with associating you with positive outcomes, the more your dog will want to be around you. And, the more success that you have in training and the more fun that you have together, the more that you will want to do with your dog as well.
The learning process is great exercise. It is tough work to have to use your brain and your body to problem solve and figure things out.
Can I be of more help to you and your pet? Please contact me!