Meeting a dog who can perform an arsenal of tricks is always fun and impressive. Watching a puppy perform trick after trick on command is such a delight to watch!
But can you really teach your dog how to kiss, shake, and do puppy pushups without going to expensive dog training classes or spending hours getting frustrated and confused? The answer is, yes! Showing off your smart dog’s cool tricks is definitely great for bragging rights, but even more importantly, it forges a bond between pet and human that is based on patience and trust. Check out these five easy dog tricks and get started!
We’ve chosen the following five tricks for a few reasons.
They are relatively easy to learn and can be taught with just a bit of practice broken up over a short period of time. They are also great building blocks for learning other, more complicated tricks. Once you teach dogs certain basic commands like sit, stay, and down, they can go on to do some pretty impressive things.
Don’t believe us? Just watch these simple tutorial videos and see for yourself. These videos will give you great step-by-step breakdowns of how to teach your pet simple tricks in a manageable way. You and your doggo don’t need to have a fancy pedigree or any formal training to impress your family and friends at your next home hangout session.
Here are five simple tricks for you and your pup to learn together! Remember, training should be fun for both you and the dog, so remain positive, and reward with plenty of treats, play, and positive reinforcement.
To teach your dog how to shake or offer his paw, you need to break it down into small, achievable steps.
The first thing you want to do is hold some high-value treats up to the dog’s nose — the smellier the better. Eventually, since he won’t be able to get them with his mouth or nose, he’ll try using his paw to grab at them. That’s when you want to reward him with a “Good boy!” and a treat.
Once he starts to understand that what you want is his paw, you can add a verbal cue. You can make that verbal cue something like “Paw,” “Shake,” or even “High five!”
2. Roll Over
The American Kennel Club trainers use a process called luring to teach dogs how to roll over. Step one is to present a treat right to your dog’s nose and guide her into a down position. At that point, you can relinquish the treat to the dog.
The next step is to take another treat and guide her head back so her weight shifts and she rolls over onto her side.
The final step is to lure her onto her back with a third treat and complete the rollover move slowly. Then make sure you place the final reward out from where her head is so she has to reach and complete the move.
Notice how the trainer keeps multiple treats in-hand so he is always prepared to begin the next step and doesn’t have to go digging in his training pouch for new treats. This helps the dog stay concentrated on the process for the duration of the trick.
3. Puppy Pushups
Puppy pushups are a combination of three moves: sit, down, and stand. Training your dog to sit can be done in multiple ways. Here the trainer displays how to teach her pooch to sit using capturing, which rewards puppies for displaying the behavior on their own, and shaping, which lures the pup into the desired seated position. This trainer uses a clicker to mark the desired behavior, but verbal cues and treats work well, too.
The same methods of capturing and shaping/luring can be used to teach your pup how to go into a down position as well. Notice the trainer begins to add a verbal cue, “Down,” just as the pup offers the behavior on her own or is lured into position. For dogs who don’t want to go into a down, a leg-bridge is a good way to force them into the desired position so they can obtain the treat they so desperately desire!
To get your dog to stand from a down position, simply hold a treat or even just your hand out from his nose so he must stand up to get to it. Begin to mark that stand position with a verbal cue.
Once your pup has mastered these three moves, puppy pushups are just the continued calling out of these verbal commands to get your dog to do them in rapid succession. Simple — and so cute!
4. Speak or Sing
Before you attempt to teach your dog to speak or be vocal, make sure you consider the possible ramifications. Nobody wants a super-noisy, whiny, or barky dog. But if you feel your dog has good manners and it’s a trick you’d like to try, here’s the lowdown!
Have your pup sit down in front of you, and use a specific hand cue, such as the finger goal posts the trainer uses in the video. Wait for a sound from the dog. Reward little sounds or mouth movements with treats.
As time goes by, ask for more duration and volume from your pet, and reward accordingly. Keep this training session fun for your pet by making it short and sweet and offering up plenty of rewards and positive reinforcement. Your dog will be a singer in no time!
5. Twirl or Spin
Start with your pooch in a standing position. Begin with touching a treat to her nose, and slowly lure her all the way around in a circle. Reward your dog with the treat once she makes a full turn but is still in motion, not at then end in a sit position.
Test going in both directions to see which your dog prefers. Stick with your dog’s preferred direction until she has the trick down so well that she becomes agile enough to twirl in both directions.
After your dog starts to get comfortable with the spin movement, add a visual cue. The trainer uses two fingers pointed down and guides her dog in a spin.
This trick is great for dogs of all breeds and age groups, and you can likely teach it in under 10 minutes!