Whether your dog is the smartest one on the block or just the cutest, chances are you’d like to have a few tricks up your sleeve to wow your guests and neighbors. Both old and young dogs can happily learn new tricks. When you teach your dog new tricks, you mentally stimulate them, challenging them to use their noggin, and you bond with them in a new and exciting way. If you’re new to the training game, grab a clicker, some treats, and get ready to train your pup and impress your friends with these easy tricks for dogs.
Paw and Shake Hands
This crowd-pleaser is a classic and a great way to greet guests. Start with your dog in the seated position, and hold a treat in your hand around your dog’s chest level. Your dog will likely paw at your hand to get at the treat, and when it does, add the verbal command “paw,” click, and offer the treat. Praise your pup, and repeat the process several times.
When your dog masters the “paw” command, you can up the ante with “shake.” Hold the treat just out of their reach, say “shake hands” as you catch the paw gently, and offer the treat. Repeat the steps until your dog connects the command with the desired action.
This simple trick is an “oldie but goodie”! It can be a little harder to master than some other tricks because your dog needs to learn to balance on its haunches, but with a little practice, your pup will be begging adorably in no time.
Start with your dog in the sitting position and a treat in your hand. Hold the treat near your pup’s nose and say, “Beg!” As your dog attempts to take the treat, slowly lift your hand so that the dog must reach to get the treat. If you’re using a clicker, once your dog is in the right position, click and offer the treat. Repeat a few times a day until your dog has mastered this adorable trick!
With your dog standing, hold a treat close to their nose and gently move it towards the side of their head. As your dog moves their head to follow the treat, you can move the treat around the dog, which will require the dog to spin. When your dog has made a circle, add the command “Spin!” and offer the treat. Repeat the trick a few times a day until your furry friend has mastered it.
Your dog is likely becoming a trick master with these tricks for dogs. If you’re ready to up the ante, then you might want to brush up on the “sit” and “lie down” and move on to the “roll-over” trick!
Begin with your dog in the “down” position. Hold a treat near your pup’s nose, then move the treat from your dog’s nose towards its shoulder. Your dog will need to turn its head to keep its eyes on the treat. As it does, keep moving the treat alongside your dog’s body until the dog has to roll over to keep following it. If your dog can complete the roll-over, use the command “roll over,” click or praise your dog, and offer the treat.
Take a Bow
Play bows are common among friendly dogs. Teaching your dog to “take a bow” takes the play bow to the next level! To master this cute trick, you’ll start with your dog standing. Hold a treat near your dog’s nose, and move it down to lower your dog until it’s in the bowing position. Use the “take a bow!” command when your dog reaches the bow. Try to maintain the bow for a few seconds before using the treat to lure your pup back into the standing position. When your dog’s bow is complete, offer plenty of praise or a click and the treat. Repeat the process several times a day until your pup has mastered this fancy new skill.
Tips for Easy Dog Tricks
Any dog can learn a few tricks and impress everyone from the mailman to your great aunt. When you train, you’re building your bond and strengthening your connection, but it should be fun, too. Keep training sessions short and sweet with proper cues and timely rewards. Make it fun, light, and as distraction-free as possible. When your dog performs as desired, offer plenty of praise and affection!
If your pup makes a lot of mistakes, you might be pushing a bit too hard or going too fast. Slow down, and move back to a previous step where your dog was performing well. You can also take a break for the day and try a different activity. Training should be fun for both you and your dog, and making a game of it and keeping sessions short and pleasurable can keep even the most stubborn pups engaged, energized, and ready to perform.