5 Easy Tricks to Teach Your Dog
Many dogs have the intelligence to help them in learning new things. And with their insatiable appetite to please their respective owners, teaching them a few tricks is easy. Before you start thinking about more complicated tricks to showcase in a reality show, you’d better start with the easy ones first. Here are 5 easy tricks you can teach your pet dog.
Teaching your dog to roll over on command is one of the easiest tricks in the book. It requires the animal to be in the “down” position, however, as a starting point for the training. If you have not yet trained your pet to go in the “down” position when told to do so, then it is best to start with this.
In the down position, present the dog with a treat placed in one of your hands. Do not let your furry friend snatch the treat. Make sure that your pet sees the treat. Now, move your hand around your dog’s head, behind its neck. Your aim here is for the animal to turn its head towards the back without ever standing up. If the dog tries to stand up, close your hand and start again. Wait a couple of seconds for it to calm down.
If the dog does not stand up, continue moving your hand around its head. Allow your pet to sniff the treat as motivation. When its head is already as far back as possible, assist your pet to roll over on its side. As soon as it completes the rolling maneuver, give your pet its treat and shower it with lavish praise. Do this a couple of times before going into the next step.
In this stage of the training, issue a verbal cue such as “roll” as you start rolling your dog to its side. As soon as it has completed the maneuver, give the hound its treat and praise it in an enthusiastic manner. Repeat this step for about 5 to 10 minutes. Take a break for about 4 to 5 hours. Train the dog again for another 5 to 10 minutes after the break.
It is crucial to keep the training sessions as short as possible. It is also better to have shorter yet more frequent training sessions than having them in a single session. A dog will grow bored if the session lasts more than 10 minutes at a time.
In the succeeding sessions, your dog should already know what to do whenever you say “roll”. You no longer have to give it its treat every time it performs the maneuver. However, you should never forget to praise your dog for following your commands. Instead of the treat, the reward for the dog is your loving embrace.
Some dogs have a knack for sitting on their behind with their two front limbs curled right in front of their chest. And with their pleading looks, it is very difficult not to fall in love with them. While some dogs tend to “sit pretty” without the aid of their pet owners, there are still those that require some training.
For this trick it is important that your pet already knows how to respond when you tell it to “sit”. Otherwise, you will need to train it to put its rear end on the ground. Teaching a dog to “sit” is easy as they do tend to do it without command. Of course, you would want them to “sit” whenever you tell them to.
Once your pet has mastered the art of “sitting” on command, you can start teaching it how to sit pretty. Start by having the dog in a sitting position. Present a yummy cookie in front of the animal’s nose. Again, do not let your pet take the treat. Close your hand the moment it starts grabbing the treat with its mouth. Start over.
Raise the yummy treat very slowly. Your dog’s natural reaction will be to follow your hand. It will also rise up to get the treat. The dog will try to raise its front limbs. The moment you see its front paws come off the ground, give your pet its reward. Do not worry if it was only able to raise its feet a few inches off the ground. Praise your furry friend.
Continue doing this step. With each cycle, make sure to raise the treat higher. Your aim is for the dog to be able to sit on its buttocks, with its forelegs curled in front of its chest.
Some dogs do not have problems sitting on their buttocks. For some dogs, they may not be able to maintain their balance. Offer one of your arms for them to rest their front limbs on. Allow them to use your arm as a support during the entire time that they are in a sitting position. Give it time to get accustomed to holding this position for several seconds. You can then gradually remove your arm.
When your dog is already consistent in sitting pretty, you can start including a verbal cue like “sit pretty”. Entice the dog to the “sit pretty” position. Once it is in the desired position, say “sit pretty” and reward the dog.
Not only is this trick so adorable, it can also help dogs in strengthening the muscles of their backs. This can help prevent back problems.
Another easy trick that you can teach your furry friend is performing the handshake. It is also a fun way to impress your guests as they get to shake hands and paws with the four-legged little master of the house.
Shaking hands requires the dog to be in the sitting position. It is also imperative that there are no distractions in the room so that your pet can focus on you and you alone. Tell your pet to sit down. Make sure that its focus is on you. Get a treat and show it to your pet. Place the treat in your palm and close your fist over it. This will prevent the animal from snatching the treat.
Do not allow your pet to stand up. Say “shake hands” and wave your hand that has the treat. Wave it under the dog’s nose so that it stays interested in what’s in your hand. Some dogs will sniff at your hand. It would be wise to loosen your grip of the treat to allow its aroma to escape. This will encourage the dog to get it from your closed fist.
The natural reaction of dogs will be to dig your closed fist. They do this in an effort to pry it open and gain access to the yummy food inside. As soon as the animal touches its paws on your hand, mark it with the sound of a clicker. If you don’t have a clicker, say “yes” and open your fist to reveal the food item. Give this to your pet and praise it.
Do this for about 5 minutes, take a break for about 3 to 4 hours, and do it again. Some dogs already know what to do the moment you say “shake hands”. They will already offer you their paws. As soon as you notice this, you can start removing the treat out of the equation.
To do this, get ready with your other hand holding another treat. Say “shake hands” and wave your closed fist. The moment the dog places its paws on your hand, say “yes” and reward it with the treat coming from your other hand. You can also alternate your hands in giving the hand shake and the treat.
Over time, reduce the number of times you reward the dog. For example, you can alternate the giving of treats. Give it one time, then withhold the food the next. What you want to achieve is for the dog to be consistent in offering you its paw every time you say “shake hands”.
It is such an adoring sight to see a dog being able to give a “high five” to its owner whenever told to do so. One thing that is great about this trick is that it is very easy to teach. And if you have already taught your pet how to shake your hand when told to do so, then your job is almost half done.
Teaching a dog to do high five is almost similar to teaching it how to shake hands. The only difference is that the animal will have to raise one of its front limbs as high as possible. Also, instead of having a closed fist, you will present the palmar surface of your hand. This completes the trick.
As always, the dog should be in a sitting position. With the same maneuver as in shaking your hand, let your dog touch your closed fist with one of its front paws. The moment it does this, reward it. Give the treat and praise. Do this for about 5 minutes before taking a break for about 3 hours.
In the next session, you can continue with the “shake hands” approach. If the animal is already consistent in its behavior, start presenting your open palm in a high five manner. Rub a treat onto your palm and let your dog sniff this. This should motivate it to touch it with its paw. As soon as it does, reward your pet.
Next, introduce the “high five” command. Use the same technique. The moment you notice your pet extending its paw towards your open palm, say “high five”. Once it touches your palm, say “yes” and reward the animal. Do this several times. With each training session, you can reduce the number of times that you give the dog its yummy treat. Do not forget to praise your pet, though.
Teaching a dog to spin is one of the easiest tricks in the book. It also happens to be a great foundation for another, albeit more difficult trick – the dog dance. If your pet can master this trick, then teaching it to dance will be so much easier.
Have your dog on all its fours. Place a delicious doggie cookie in your hand. Allow your dog to see it, sniff it, or lick it. However, do not let your pet eat it. Now, move your hand towards the right (or left). It is best to teach the dog to spin in one direction at a time. This minimizes confusion in the dog. You can always teach it to spin in the other direction once it has “mastered” the initial direction of the spin.
Right after completing a full 360-degree spin, mark the behavior by saying “yes” in an enthusiastic manner. You can also use a clicker for this. Reward your pet by giving it the yummy treat. Do not forget to shower it with praises, too.
With each session, move the doggie treat further away from your dog’s nose. Use your hand to signal the animal to do the spin. Mark the behavior as soon as the animal completes the 360-degree turn. Take your cue from the dog. Try to spin it without the treat in your hand. If it does not follow, return the cookie. If it follows, then you can proceed to the next step.
The last step is to add the verbal cue, like “spin right” or “spin left”. While your dog is spinning, following your hand signal, say “spin right” (or left). Every time you start a new cycle of training, say the command a little earlier until such time that you can give the command before giving the hand signal.
With practice, your dog should be able to spin on cue. If it doesn’t, go back to using the hand signal.
Teaching a dog a new trick is easy if you persevere and be patient in the training sessions. Remember, different dogs have different learning curves, much like people do. Some learn faster than others. Whatever is the case, your patience and consistency can help your pet dog learn the trick you’re teaching it.