Teaching your dog tricks is great fun for both! It stimulates your dog both mentally and physically, plus it is an excellent way to bond with your dog and stay active.
With some extra time on our hands with Covid-19 restrictions, here are some cool tricks you can easily teach your dog and have some fun!
All you need is some dog treats, some basic commands, and some time to practice!
1. Shaking Paws
Teaching a dog to shake paws is generally pretty easy because some dogs naturally raise their paw when asking for a treat.
How to teach your dog to shake paws:
- Ask your dog to sit.
- Hold a treat in your closed fist.
- When your dog lifts its paw up, even the slightest, give them a treat
- If they don't lift it naturally you can gently lift your pet’s paw and say shake and then give them a treat.
- Repeat the command until your pet willingly shakes paws with you.
2. Roll over
If your dog already knows how to lay down the next step is to teach them to roll over. This trick is much easier for smaller and more agile dog breeds, however, with persistence any dog can be taught to roll over. When teaching this command it’s important to remember to not physically force your dog to roll over using your hands. Rather use the treat to lure them into the position that you want, this will help them learn the behaviour faster.
How to teach your dog to roll over:
- First, get your dog in a down position.
- Using a treat lure your dog's nose over its shoulder to encourage them to displace their weight and lie on their side. Where the nose goes, the head and body will usually follow.
- Continue the motion until their body rolls over fully and then give them a treat.
- When they are consistently following the treat all the way around in a “roll over,” add the verbal cue ‘roll over’.
Encouraging your dog to bark on command is easy if your pet is naturally vocal. This is a good trick because you can then teach them the "quiet" command. Remember, it can take a bit longer to train if your dog is on the quiet side.
How to teach your dog to speak:
- Get your dog to bark naturally - A good way to do this is to show your dog that you have a treat and not let them have it.
- As your dog barks, say 'speak' in a clear, upbeat voice.
- Praise your dog and give them a treat.
- Repeat the “speak” command process several times until your dog seems to understand.
Training your dog to go to a place can be helpful when you need them to settle down, get out from under your feet, or for when you want them to go to bed. For this trick all your pet needs to already know is the down command.
How to teach your dog to place:
- First decide where you want your dog to go, it can be a bed or a mat.
- Start by standing close to the bed or mat and give your dog the command "place" and lure the dog onto its bed.
- Once your dog has all fours on the bed or mat you can give them a command to lie down.
- Repeat the command until your dog confidently finds and lays down on their "place".
- Now that your dog is consistently lying down on their mat after you give the "place" command, you can increase the amount of time they spend there and the distance away that you give the command from.
5. Shy (cover their eyes)
One of the cutest tricks you can teach your dog is to cover their eyes with their paw on command.
How to teach your dog to shy:
- Place a small piece of masking tape on your dog’s nose.
- Most dogs will immediately attempt to take off the tape with their paw.
- As your dog brings their paw to their nose, say “shy” and reward the behaviour with a treat.
- Repeat until your dog understands the command without using tape and will respond to the word “shy”.
With the bow command, your dog will lower their head and front end to the ground while their hips remain elevated. This makes for a great trick and is relatively easy to teach as a bow is a natural behaviour dogs use when they are trying to engage in play.
How to teach your dog to bow:
- Get your dog to stand on all four paws facing you.
- Hold a treat in front of your dog's nose and move it down between their legs to the ground.
- If they bend their front leg without lowering their rear, they get the treat, but if they lay down all the way, don’t give them a treat.
- Keep your dog in a bow position for only a few seconds. Then use the same treat to lure them back up into a standing position and then give them the treat.
- After 5 successful repetitions, start luring your dog with an empty hand instead of a hand with a treat in it.
Spin is a great stretch for your dog and an awesome exercise to do before you go for a run or do physical exercises such as agility with your dog. It’s relatively easy to teach as it can be taught with the use of your dog's favourite treats.
How to teach your dog to spin:
- Let your dog know you have a treat in your hand.
- Move your arm in a wide circle around your dog.
- Encourage your dog to follow the food in your hand and therefore spin in a circle. Use the word "spin".
- After one rotation, reward them with the treat.
- Once your dog understands this trick, graduate to only using the word “spin” or making a circular hand or arm gesture without the treat.
With a bit of practice and patience, your and your dog will be showing off your new ‘party’ tricks in no time!