Everybody loves learning tricks – especially your dog! Teaching him some simple dog tricks and commands won’t just look impressive, it will give you the opportunity to spend some quality time together too.
Tell your dog to sit, then give them a treat. Hold another treat out of reach (but close by), and say ‘high five’, touching one of their feet.
They’ll probably paw at the treat in your other hand; when your dog does this, gently pick the paw up and let your dog have the treat, making lots of fuss of them at the same time.
Repeat this sequence this until your dog associates the ‘high five’ command with touching your hand with his paw!
If your dog has learned the ‘high five’ trick, the ‘shake’ trick will be really simple. Make sure your dog sees you hide a delicious treat in your fist. When they paw at it, gently catch their foot and ‘shake’ (carefully, and only for a couple of seconds).
Let them have the treat as their reward. Repeat the trick several times, saying ‘shake!’ as they lift their paw to your fist, until your dog understands the command.
‘Fetch!’ is a classic command for dogs, but this isn’t a skill that comes automatically. First, choose a toy – their favourite ball is a great choice. When your dog has the ball in their mouth, hold your palm out underneath the ball. The minute you have the ball, give it back, until your dog learns to drop the ball in your palm.
Now try throwing the ball! Don’t toss it too far at first – the closer you are to your dog, the easier it will be for them to learn this trick. When you’ve thrown the ball, hold your palm out and say ‘fetch!’ Again, if needed, you may want to encourage them with a treat. Make a fuss of them when they come over and drop the ball in your palm again.
Now try tossing the ball farther and farther, each time commanding ‘fetch!’ until they reliably bring it back. When they’ve got the hang of it, try this easy dog trick with different toys.
This handy dog trick doesn’t just test your dog’s willpower – it can also help prevent them from eating something dangerous when you’re out and about.
Show your dog a delicious treat in your hand. As soon as they try to take it, close your hand so the treat is hidden, telling them to ‘leave it’.
The instant they lose interest (even if it just means looking away from the treat and at you for a moment), you should reward them by letting them have the treat. As you give your dog the treat, give another command, such as ‘go!’
Repeat this until your dog reliably ignores the treat in your hand when you say ‘leave it’. Now repeat the exercise, but this time, rather than closing your fist, simply place the treat on the floor and only partially cover it with your hand. Again, when your dog ignores the treat, say ‘go!’ and let them enjoy it.
Teach your dog to play dead
For the more advanced canines, why not try and teach your dog to ‘play dead.’ It’s a great dog trick and is an easy party piece to teach your eager four-legged friend!
Start by getting your dog to lie down. If you’ve moved on to this advanced trick then you’ll already have taught your dog the basics like ‘sit’, ‘stay’ and ‘down,’ so this first part should be easy.
Hold a treat close to your dog’s nose and slowly pull it over to his side so he’ll have to roll over to get the treat. If your dog has already learnt how to roll over, he’ll already know how to perform this action too, making this step a walk in the park!
When your dog is lying on his side, praise him and give him a treat. Then, repeat these steps several times until your dog is able to complete the action. Now add a cue word with a hand signal. Lots of people use the verbal command ‘bang’ with a hand signal in the shape of a gun pointing at your dog, although you might just want to use ‘sleep’ or ‘dead’ if you prefer, with any hand signal you like.
Say your chosen command with your hand signal and repeat steps two and three. By practising this trick several times a day, your dog will soon be falling at your side and pretending to ‘sleep’ or ‘play dead.’
Now you’re ready to begin training your pet and teaching a few dog tricks of your own! There are many benefits of teaching your dog tricks, from improving obedience and keeping your dog healthy to the best part of all – spending quality time together.