At A Glance: Dogs can perform some human activities like sitting, kissing, and even dancing. With patience and a gift of treats, there are more than 10 easy tricks you can teach your dog. It’s a fun way to bond with your best friend too.
How many times have you marveled at a dog stealing the limelight on America’s Got Talent and thought of easy tricks to teach your dog?
Sure, teaching cool tricks makes your dog the center of attention in social situations. But when you train a dog, it allows your pet to be active, which is tantamount to exercise. More importantly, the process helps you build a better relationship with your pet.
So, let’s get started.
How to Get Started?
Now that you have a dog, the first question is to ask: What tricks should I teach my puppy first? The principle behind it is similar to raising babies—they have to learn how to crawl before they can walk and then run. With a dog, you also start with the basics:
- Down (lie down)
- Heel/Loose-leash walk
When they learn the basic commands, it gets easier for them to learn the more advanced tricks in future.
The best way to teach the dogs new tricks is through positive reinforcement. So, make sure you have a bag of treats to reward your pet when they do well during the training session. Patting and saying “good dog” are also great ways of boosting your dog’s confidence.
Stay away from yelling at your canine companion — patience is the key to success when training your dog.
Instead, repeat the commands so the dog will get used to the word and eventually associate it with the trick you want it to perform.
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Tricks to Try
Once your dog knows how to sit and lie down on command, it’s easier to train it to roll over. The first step to getting it to roll over is to command it to sit “down” or lie down. When the dog is in that position, get a treat and slowly hold it by your pet’s nose. Move the treat from its nose to over its shoulder.
The dog’s instinct is to follow the treat with its head, and when you move the treat around, the dog has to roll to get to it.
As soon as the dog completes the roll, make sure to congratulate the dog and give it the treat in your hand.
Kissing or licking comes naturally to dogs, so you don’t have to lure them to do it. When they happen to kiss or lick you, you just have to repeatedly appreciate this gesture and offer a pat or a treat.
Along with the praise and the treat, you have to mention the word “kiss” to the dog so it can associate the word with the act.
What is the easiest trick to teach the dog? A handshake! You can hide a treat in your hand and hold it out to your dog. Dogs react differently—they may sniff your hand while others might lick it.
Wait until the dog raises its paw to yours before you open your hand with the treat. You have to praise the dog and mention the word “shake” to build an association.
The high five is a natural progression to the shake-hands trick. Instead of holding your treat-holding hand out to your dog, raise your palm like you are in the act of giving a high five. Wait for the dog to react appropriately.
Some dogs would start licking your hand. Some may rub their body on it too. Just stay still. When the dog hits your hand with its paw, immediately say “high five.” Don’t forget the treat and the obligatory praise after the act.
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Fetch is not one of the easy tricks to teach your dog. Playing comes naturally to some dogs like Labrador Retrievers and Boxers. Other dogs like Akitas and Siberian Huskies may be too stubborn to fetch for you. Some dogs are not interested in toys, making fetch training more difficult.
The process demands patience and dedication on your part.
When teaching dogs how to fetch, you need multiple toys so they can find the one that they like best. The most common dog toys are balls and plushies. Make sure the toy is small enough to fit in the dog’s mouth but not so small that the dog will swallow it.
Start the training by familiarizing the dog with the toy. Let it sniff the toy until it is comfortable enough to put it in its mouth. When the dog learns to put the toy in its mouth, you can then transition to throwing the toy and allowing the dog to go fetch it.
Do the training in a large open space like a dog park or a safe terrace.
When you are in a public place, be aware of your surroundings. Your dog might start munching on the trash and other items on the ground that may make your pet sick. If you see your dog swallowing trash, try to make your dog throw up.
Obviously, dogs cannot talk. However, you can still train them to speak “dog” i.e. bark. Speak or bark training also depends on the personality of your dog. If it is naturally vocal, the training will be a breeze. It is a challenging exercise to train quieter dogs.
The best way to train the dog is to get it excited. You could play with toys and then ask it to sit still and get ready for a treat. Just wave the treat around until the dog makes a sound. When the dog starts barking, reward it and say the word “speak” for the association.
Make sure the dog doesn’t overdo the barking. Withhold treats when it barks too much, especially when it is barking at people.
Stand on Hind Legs
Teaching a dog to stand on its hind legs is practical for both parties concerned. As a dog owner, it’s ideal because you don’t have to bend too much if you want to clean your dog’s paws or when you put the harness on it. It also comes handy during grooming sessions or vet visits.
Standing on hind legs makes your dog’s legs strong and muscular too! It’s a win-win situation.
Start the training by commanding your dog to sit. Now let it sniff a treat in your hand and raise it over their head — the dog will follow the treat. The dog will eventually stand up, at which point you must indulge your pet with the treat.
Eventually, you need to stop giving out the treats and just allow the dog to realize that when you put your hand up, you want the dog to stand. You will then replace the hand signal with the word “stand.”
Now, isn’t it fantastic if you can dance with your dog? Dancing is among the most impressive dog tricks you can teach your pet. It’s also something you can do together, which makes it a great bonding experience.
Although complex, if your dog has learned to stand on its hind legs, it already knows the most important step. To train the dog to dance, you have to command it to stand. Then take out a treat and hold it over the dog. You already know that the dog will always follow the treat, so start slowly moving it in a circle.
The dog will also move in a circle, which you can start referring to as “dance” for association building.
Take a Bow
If you’ve trained the dog to dance, you might as well teach it to take a bow. The dog bow entails having the dog’s chest on the ground with its butt up in the air. It’s not as difficult as it sounds because bowing comes naturally to most dogs.
They usually do it to invite other dogs to play. It’s just a matter of honing the act and using the word “bow” or the phrase “take a bow” to associate it with the action.
Find easy tricks to teach your dog and make it a fun bonding experience. It also prepares the dog for social settings. When the dog is with other people and other dogs, you can command it to sit and stay when it becomes too rowdy. A social gathering is also the perfect time to show off your dog’s tricks.