Teaching our dog tricks is fun, but it creates a stronger bond and fosters trust between you and your dog. The more tricks they learn, the smarter they become. When your dog performs the tricks, it also helps them build their stamina and endurance and improves their muscle tone, which is good for our dog’s overall well-being.
Trick training also helps your dog handle distractions better. It also helps them channel their excess energy, which fosters fewer dog misbehaviors.
13 Tricks to Teach your Dog
1. Teach your dog to shake hands.
To teach your dog this trick, let him sit and say “shake” as you reach for his paw and gently shake it. Reward your dog by praising him. Repeat this a few times and when your dog lifts his front paw on command, reward with a treat, and more praise.
2. Teach your dog to wave.
Let your dog sit and wave to him by merely lifting one hand. Then, say the command “wave” while raising his paw with your free hand. Praise your dog for being attentive and reward him with a treat when he lifts his paw on command.
3. Teach your dog to roll over.
Lay down on the floor with your dog and guide him onto one side. Then say the command “rollover” while you place one hand under your dog’s back and one on his tummy, and as you give the command guide him as you are holding him to roll over. Reward and praise your dog.
4. Teach your dog to catch.
Catch is a fun activity that you can play with your dog in the years to come. It’s a simple trick to teach by using food in the beginning. Stand a few feet away in front of your dog and say “catch” as you toss your dog a treat. If your dog catches it, let him eat the treat. If not, pick it up before your dog gets to it and repeat until he catches the treat. When your dog catches it, give him lots of praise. Once he is successful in catching the treat, use a toy instead. Please give him a treat when he successfully catches the toy and lots of praise.
5. Teach your dog to fetch.
Teach a dog to fetch by throwing a ball for him to catch and return to you. Throw the ball past your dog and say, “fetch.” When he catches, he will want to play more and return the ball to you. Once he learns fetching the ball, you can change it up to sticks, and other objects. Don’t forget to reward when he brings the item with a treat and lots of praises while running your hand over your dog’s body.
6. Teach your dog to crawl.
Get your dog on the floor to lie on his tummy. Place your hand firmly on his back, place it a bit out of reach, and slowly move the food away while telling your dog, “crawl.” Your dog may try to stand, so keep your hand over his back as you wiggle the food in front of him. He will eventually crawl toward the food. Learning this trick takes time but always reward and praise your dog. Repeat for a few sessions until he crawls on command.
7. Teach your dog left from right.
To teach your dog this trick, stand behind your dog, and say “left” as you toss a treat or a ball to your left. Repeat this with left until when you issue the command, he will go to the left without throwing a clue. Reward him with treats and praise—the move on to teaching him”right” in the same way.
8. Teach your dog to follow you.
The command “follow me” is very powerful and rewarding to your dog. The goal is to teach your dog to follow your actions so that your dog will follow you if you walk left or right. Teach this command without a leash, if at all possible. To teach your dog, say the command “follow me” and entice your dog with treats to follow you, give your dog another treat when he follows you correctly, and lots of praises.
9. Teach your dog to switch from one side to the other.
Put your dog to your left and a treat on your right hand. Place your right hand behind your back, so your dog sees the treat, and you say the command “switch” as you pull the treat, with the dog following, to your right side. Repeat, and now have your dog move to your left.
10. Train your dog to bark on command.
Teaching your dog the command “bark” or “speak” cal also be a great way to teach your dog not to bark. Choose which command you want to use and use one. Issue the command, and he barks, give him a treat. Once he masters the barking on command, say the “quiet” command and reward him if your dog stops barking. Teach one command one at a time so as not to confuse your dog and avoid undue frustration on your part.
11. Train your dog to let you know when he needs to go outside.
Teach your dog how to show you when he wants to go outside. Tie a bell by the doorknob of the door, you use to bring your dog outside, and every time you bring him out, touch the bell, praise him, and go outside. He will associate the bell ringing and the door being opened. After a few repetitions over a few days, you will hear the bell ringing and see your dog anxiously waiting by your door to go outside.
12. Teach your dog to dance.
Say the command “dance,” and then raise your dog to stand on his hind legs and hold his paws and give him a treat and lots of praise. Practice this a few times, until he can stand on his hind legs and hold his front paws up when you say the command.
13. Teach your dog to find something you have lost.
This is more advance. The goal here is not to let your dog find something in particular, but instead, find anything with human scent on it. Go outside and hide something with your scent on it, let’s say a shirt. Tell the command “find” and lead your dog to where you hid the shirt. Do this a few times, and after a while, you will not have to lead your dog.
This command will be handy next time when you drop or lose something outside.
Now you know how to teach your dog the different tricks, teach it to them one at a time. Master one trick first before teaching them the next. Be patient with you and your dog; take your time, and have fun. And don’t forget to reward and praise your dog generously.
Teaching your dog tricks will give you a smart, well-rounded, confident, happy, and healthy dog—a loving life companion for you and your family.
Dog Training, Tips, Tricks, and Techniques for Training Man’s Best Friend. Kindle ed