Teaching your dog tricks can be fun, exciting, and a great way to bond with your furry friend. Here are some fun, and even some unusual, tricks to teach your pooch.
Speak- This one usually comes a bit easier than one might expect. Get your dog excited, or even a bit rambunctious. Now, hold a treat, and let your dog see that you have a treat. Your dog, if already trained, may do tricks it already knows, such as sitting or laying down. Once your dog goes through the tricks it knows, it will try to figure out what you want. Your dog will become excited. Give the command, “speak.” Once your dog barks, either out of excitement, or to get you to release the treat, give your dog the treat. Repeat and practice as much as you need in order for your dog to establish the connection between “speak” and his/her action.
Hush/Quiet- This one is especially useful, and it can be very easy to teach if your dog already knows how to speak on command. Give your dog the command to speak. Let your dog bark a few times, then give the command “Quiet.” As soon as your dog becomes quiet, give him/her a treat. Practice this with people at the door. If your dog becomes quiet when told, give them a treat.
Beg- If your dog already knows how to sit, this one is quite simple. Get your dog to sit. Then, holding a treat, raise your hand above its head. Most dogs will automatically pick their front feet up and beg. If your dog is standing on its back feet, try putting the treat closer to the dog. Give the command as you raise your hand. Once your dog begs properly, give it a treat.
Shake- Another simple one. Have your dog sit. Then, say “shake” and grab your dog’s paw and shake it. If your dog allows you to do this, give it a treat. Do this one or two times more. Now, give the command again. This time, simply put your hand out for your dog. It may take a few more times of grabbing your dog’s paw, but eventually they will want the treat and put their paw on your hand. Give the dog a treat when this happens and practice from there.
High Five- This one is super easy if your dog already knows “shake.” Have your dog sit. Then, give the command “shake.” Each time you do “shake,” raise your hand higher and higher, until it is level with the dog’s head. Now, flip your hand over. Give the command “high five.” Your dog will put it’s paw up out of habit from “shake.” Make sure you do this one a few times with your dog in order to drive the concept home.
Wave/Salute- This one stems from “shake” and “high five.” Have your dog sit. Give either the “shake” or “high five” command. When your dog goes to give you their paw, move your hand away and give your dog a treat. Your dog may be confused at first. After the first time, switch the command out with “wave.” Do this a few times with your hand up, then take your hand away. Eventually, your dog will be waving without your hand up. Be sure to give your pup lots of praise!
Fetch- This one can be tricky if your dog doesn’t enjoy running around. Get your pet’s favorite toy, and get your pet excited about playing with it. Toss it just a few feet from you. If your dog takes off with it, don’t chase them. Chasing them will only make it a different kind of game, one you will not likely win. Instead, call them back to you, and wait for them to come back with the toy. If they drop it somewhere, go get it, and toss it again. Keep doing this until the dog brings the toy back. Once it does, reward it with a treat. Keep practicing, and soon your dog will have this trick down in no time.
Put Away- This one is both fun for your pet, and useful for you. Many dog owners are also parents. It’s nice once you children are old enough to be told to put away their toys, and even nicer when they actually do it. What if you could teach your four-legged friend to do the same? Well, you can. Give your dog a toy. Show them their toy-box, and say “put it away.” If your pet needs to be enticed to drop the toy, offer them a treat. As soon as the toy is dropped into the box, give them a treat. If the toy is not placed in the box, don’t give them a treat. Instead, give them their toy again, and repeat the process. Soon your dog will be doing the laundry and dishes too! (Wouldn’t that be nice).
Dance- Dancing can bring joy to all, including your dog. This one can be extremely easy for a dog who already knows “up” or whatever variation you may use to have your dog put its front paws on you. Give your command, and have your dog hold the position. Give them a treat once they have held it for a moment. Now, give the command again. This time, catch their paws and say, “dance.” If your dog lets you walk around a few steps with him/her, give them a treat. Repeat this process until you and your dogs are winning “Dancing With The Stars.”
Army Crawl- This trick is super fun, just be careful about doing it on carpet or other textured surfaces; we don’t want any carpet-burned bellies! First, start with having your dog lay down. Next, show them that you have a treat. Let them smell and even lick the treat, but do not let them have it. Then, drag the treat across the floor, and give the command, “crawl.” If your dog successfully crawls a few inches, give them a treat. If your dog gets up, start over and repeat the process. Each time your dog masters a few more inches, give them a treat. Soon they will be an expert crawler!
Kiss- This one is for the ultimate dog-lover, and not the germaphobe. Almost all dogs love to lick, but getting one to touch noses with you without leaving a slimy slick mess across your face is another story. For this one you can choose to have the dog “kiss” you wherever on your face you like: cheek, nose, etc. Start off by putting a treat in front of your face and saying the command “kiss.” As soon as your dog’s nose touches your face, pull back and give the treat. Do this a few more times and soon your dog will have it down pat. (Note: If your dog is licking, it’s not the same, and should not be rewarded with a treat).
Play Piano- This one is super cute, super fun, and super easy. Teach your dog to play the piano by first having him/her sit on the piano bench. Then give the “shake” command over the piano keys. When your dog goes to shake, move your hand and let them hit the keys. When the piano makes a sound, immediately give your dog a treat. Now change the command to “piano” with the same hand gestures. Once he/she has that down, remove your hand entirely, and just give the command. Each time your dog hits a key, give a treat. Expand by having them play than one key.
Walk Backwards- This is actually more useful than you would think, especially when trying to get your dog to move away from something dangerous or not appropriate for you dog to be around. For this one, start by having your dog stand/stay. Take a treat and put over their head and say, “back.” Some dogs will catch on very quickly, while others will take work. If your dog is having trouble with it, nudge your dog with your leg or body. Each time the dog takes a step back, praise and reward it.
Fetch a drink from the fridge- This trick should only be taught to a dog who is not going to eat everything in your fridge once it is opened. Tie a rope to the handle of your fridge. Encourage your dog to pull and tug on it until the door pops open. When it does, give your dog a treat. Now work on getting your dog jump up onto the fridge with his/her front paws to close the fridge. Again, don’t forget the treat. You can use something like, “fridge” or “drink” as the command. Now, add the next element. Put one of your dog’s toys in the fridge. Encourage them to open the fridge and take the toy. Then have them close the fridge. After they have that down, work on getting your drink out and bringing it to you. Viola! You now own a drink-triever, a close cousin to the golden retriever.
Prayer Time- This one is great if your dog already knows how to jump up with their front paws. Have your dog sit, and then have them jump up on your forearm and hold the position. Give them a treat each time they hold the position a little longer. Next, command him/her to put their paws on your forearm, and hold a treat under your forearm until their head is between their paws. Once in this position, give them the verbal command you choose, such as “pray.” If the dog starts to get up, restart the process until they get the hang of it.
Sing along with songs- This one is usually really easy, especially if your dog is already vocal, but it may be a bad idea if you have close-by neighbors or live in apartments. For this one, flip through some music to see if any spark your dog’s interest. If not, lead by example and begin howling at your favorite music to howl at. (If you can’t think of one, here’s one to try out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ). Soon, your dog will be howling right along with you. Be sure to connect a command, like “sing” to it.
Slalom- This can one of the best tricks to help your dog with speed, agility, and overall exercise and health. We do advise that you use dog training slalom poles for this, as we don’t want any head injuries to fur babies. Use a treat to weave your dog slowly between the poles. At the end of the poles, give your dog their treat. Repeat this until you can simply give your verbal command and your dog automatically does it. If you’re using slalom poles, you may want to encourage your dog to go faster by weaving your hand through the poles faster. If you want to work on your dog’s fancy footwork, move the poles closer together, just be sure that the poles are still the exact same length from each other.
Take a bow- For this one, start your dog in the standing position. Hold a treat at the end of your dog’s nose and slowly move it down. Use the command “bow.” Make sure you keep the treat close to his/her body, as this will help keep his backside in the air. Once he/she has their chest on the ground, slowly move them back up. Once they are back to standing, reward your dog with the treat and praise. If your dog is having trouble keeping his backside in the air, use your arm, or another object of good height to encourage his buttock to stay in the air. Most dogs usually catch on pretty quickly.
Spin- Super easy and super cute, “spin” will have you laughing, and your dog exercising, in no time! It is super easy to lure your pooch into spinning with a well-placed treat in front of their nose. Use the command “spin” and move your hand in the motion you want your dog to follow. Once your dog makes a full spin, give them the treat. Repeat until your dog is spinning on their own. Just be careful not to let them get to moving too fast. Your pooch may get dizzy and hurt itself if it spins too much/fast.
Play Dead- This one is made a lot easier if your dog already knows “down” and/or “roll over.” If your dog doesn’t already know these, you may consider going back and learning those first. Start by having your dog lay down. Put the treat in front of your dog’s nose and use your command. A lot of people like to act like their dog is being shot by their fingers, so “bang” could be the verbal command. As you give the command, have your dog roll onto their side using the treat to coax them. Once they are in the correct position and holding it, give them the treat. Keep practicing until your dog falls or roll over without the treat. Some people even like to remove the verbal command and only use the hand command with two fingers like a gun, but that’s up to you.
No matter what tricks you choose to teach your dog, always be sure to keep your canine’s health and safety at the forefront of any trick. Enjoy the hours of fun to come with these awesome tricks!