5 Cool Tricks to Teach Your Dog
We all love the idea of having a well-trained dog who hangs on our every word – and now your puppy has all the basics under their belt, it’s time to move on to the more advanced dog training techniques. These cool dog tricks might take more time to master than learning to walk on a lead, but they’re totally worth it.
Some of these fun dog tricks are based on mastering basic dog training skills, so if you need a refresher make sure you check our article first.
How to focus your dog’s attention for learning dog tricks
Having a dog who will give you their attention when you ask means they are ready to listen to you, and this is the first step in every other part of your advanced puppy training. The fun dog tricks below require your puppy’s attention for the learning process to begin. There’s no point asking your dog anything if his mind is elsewhere!
Teach your pup to look at you when you say his name. This is something you should have been doing since puppyhood, but this is a good time to have a refresh. Have treats in your pocket while you’re in the house or garden. At various times when your dog isn’t expecting it, say their name brightly and enthusiastically. If they look at you, drop a treat on the ground between you, so the dog moves towards you to get the treat.
You are teaching the puppy that their name means “give me your attention and good things happen”. Start doing this when there are no distractions and build it up until you can do it everywhere, no matter what is going on. Positive association like this is an important step in advanced dog training.
Top tips for teaching your dog tricks
- Be patient. It can take several repetitions over a few days before your dog gets the hang of these advanced tricks. Arm yourself with plenty of patience and treats before every session.
- Keep the sessions short. Even when you’re the master of your pup’s attention, dogs will cease to be interested in what you have to say if the training goes on for ages. Limit the sessions to a few minutes each. It’s better to have multiple short dog tricks training sessions a day than a long one lasting the entire afternoon.
- Don’t scold your dog. They’re doing their best to learn, so even if it takes longer than you expected, be calm and keep the training fun and exciting. This way your dog will be more likely to enjoy it and more willing to go through many iterations of the same routine to get it right.
5 Cool dog tricks to teach your canine friend
Teaching your dog to “roll over”
A dog dropping into a roll every time they hear the signal is bound to impress even the most distracted onlooker. This popular dog trick will be much easier for canines already familiar with the “down” command. Once that’s mastered, get their favourite treat and begin the training.
- Get your dog to lie down
- Get the treats out and begin the process of luring them into forming a complete roll.
- Move the treat from their nose to their shoulder and as the dog starts following the treat you will notice them starting to roll while pursuing their reward.
- Sometimes, dogs will stop after moving their head or end up helplessly flopping on the floor while sitting on their side. If that’s the case, continue moving the treat and stopping for praises at each of the following stages: resting on their back, sitting on their other side and finally for standing up.
- Once they get the whole roll done, repeat the process and add the “roll over” command. Don’t forget to shower them with praise and rewards for their amazing achievement!
- The final goal is for your dog to be able to do the trick based on your verbal cue alone, so as they get more comfortable doing the roll you will be able to eventually stop using the treats.
Teaching your dog to “play dead”
Turn your dog into a canine thespian with this cool dog trick. Although it takes a little bit of practice and patience, soon enough your dog will mesmerise the home audience with their acting chops.
If the dog has already cracked the “roll over” routine, the playing dead dog trick will be a breeze.
- Get your dog to sit down.
- Using a treat, place it close to their nose and then move it towards their shoulder to cause them to fall on their side.
- Once in that position give them the signal “play dead” and reward them with the treat.
- To make the drama more intense, get the dog to lay on their back instead and change the verbal cue from “play dead” to “bang”. Such an impressive dramatic performance is surely deserving of at least one Oscar!
Teaching your dog how to “spin around”
This dog trick doubles as a great exercise too, so whether you’re going for a half moon or a full spin, this is bound to become one of the best tricks you’ll ever teach your dog. Get a few treats in your hand and start the training.
- Show your dog their favourite treat and move it close to their nose.
- Start slowly drawing with the treat the air circle you want your dog to follow for this trick. As your dog keeps track of the treat they will start to spin.
- Once they form a complete circle, say the command “spin around” and give them their reward.
- Repeat this sequence a few more times until the dog is confident enough to do the trick without being lured in by any treats.
Teaching your dog how to “high-five”
Every owner needs a way to celebrate team work achievements with their dog, and high-fiving each other might just be the ticket. For this cool dog trick, choose a treat your dog will find irresistible and follow the steps below:
- Get your dog to sit.
- Show your dog the treat to get their interest.
- Then hold the treat in your palm and while you’re positioning your hand vertically (with the treat facing the dog) curl your fingers over it.
- At this point your dog should try to smell the treat or even lick it. Wait until they try to get it with their paw and then say the command “high-five”.
- If the dog is precious about their high-five and doesn’t offer the paw, you can lift it yourself and touch it against your hand.
- Repeat this a few times and once the dog completes their high-five all by themselves, reward them with a treat from your other hand.
- As the dog gets used to this new salute, you can remove the treat completely to encourage the dog to offer their paw just based on your high-five command alone.
Teaching your dog to “walk backwards”
Is there anything cuter than a dog doing the moonwalk? Teaching this dog trick is your chance to get your own pup to walk backwards like a pro.
- Get your dog to stay.
- Then step back from your dog.
- Make sure you’ve got your dog’s attention, then start moving towards them. Some dogs might have the natural instinct of backing up as they see you walking towards them.
- If your dog doesn’t start walking back at this point, you can try again, this time holding a treat above their head as you walk toward them.
- Once they start walking backwards say your command and offer a treat.
- You can use a narrow hallway in the beginning to give your dog less movement options.
Ultimately these advanced dog training techniques are a fun and exciting bonding experience that will set you up for a happy and healthy life together. For even more bonding ideas discover games you can play with your dog and get inspiration from out top 5 fun puppy sports list.