My extended families and friends have been asking me about how to teach a dog tricks. It’s not that difficult actually, and yet it’s not that easy also. Anyway, to make life easier for you and your dog, here’s a quick guide on how to teach a dog tricks. Some commented that you need a clicker to train a dog tricks. Actually you don’t have to.
Now whatever being written below is based on my 17 years of dog training experience. Just a disclaimer, it may or may not work on your dog as it depends on your dog’s personality too. Anyway, hope that you can use it for reference purposes.
1. Teach Your Dog to Shake Hands
This is the easiest trick. Get your dog into a sitting position and say “shake” as you reach down, take his paw and shake it deliberately. Repeat this many times, and reward your dog if he/she responds correctly by giving some small treats. If your dog lifts his paw on command, praise him and reward him even more. remunerate him with a treat and considerably more acclaim.
2. Teach Your Dog to Wave
Waving is considered a simple trick, but it may need more time for your dog to master. Same as shaking hands, put your dog in a sitting position, then you simply lift one hand and wave to your dog. Give the command “wave” while doing it and touch one of the dog’s paws with your other non-waving hand. If your dog is paying attention, praise him/her and reward him/her with a treat provided the trick is performed nicely. Another approach to get your dog to lift his paw is to put a little sticker on the base of one paw before issuing the command to your dog.
3. Teach Your Dog to Roll Over
Roll over is my favorite dog trick. To teach a dog to roll over, first thing to do is to you need to get on the floor with your dog and coax your dog onto one side. Give the command “roll over” while putting one hand under the dog’s back and the other one on his/her tummy. Help him/her to roll over while giving the command. If your dog is cooperating, just praise him by saying “good dog” or something similar. If your dog is big in size, you may get the dog on one side then use some treats in front of his/her nose to coax the rollover to happen. Reward the dog once the rollover is completed successfully. Doing it multiple times, you dog will be rolling over with less or no assistance at all, not even treats also. Be sure to reward your dog and enhance this positive behavior.
4. Teach Your Dog to Catch
I just love playing catch with my dog. It’s fun. Instructing a dog to catch is actually quite straightforward when you use a treat instead of the toy at the very beginning. Stand in front of your dog, keep some distance and say “catch” as you toss a treat to him/her. If your dog manages to catch it, let him/her to eat the treat. If your dog is not successful in catching it, snatch the treat before your dog does. Make it like a game. Keep repeating this until the food is gotten successfully by your dog. Reward your dog with the treat and provide a lot of praise too. Once your dog showing signs of excitement with catching the treats, start to replace it with a toy. Reward your dog with a treat for getting the toy, and offer treats every so often alongside with large amount of praise.
5. Teach Your Dog to Fetch
Most dogs really enjoy fetching. You can teach your dog to fetch by tossing a ball for him/her to catch and come back to you. Toss the ball simply past your dog and say “fetch” as he/she pursues the ball. He will want to play again once the ball has been caught. Move on to sticks and other objects once your dog gets a hang of it. Keep in mind to always reward your dog with a treat if he/she returns the object. Give him/her plenty of praise too!
6. Teach Your Dog to Crawl
You will need few treats to teach your dog to crawl. Get your dog onto the floor, lying on his or her tummy. Next, place your hand firmly on his or her back and place the food on the floor. Make sure the food is out of reach for your dog. Now, slowly move the food away, while telling the dog to “crawl”. At this stage, your dog will instinctively attempt to stand. Don’t worry about it, keep your hand in place and wiggle the food a bit. Your dog will in the end crawl toward the food. This trick requires some time for your dog to learn, so be persistent and continue working at it until the point that he/she will crawl on command. Do reward your dog with treats and lots of praise if he/she does it correctly.
7. Teach Your Dog to Differentiate Left from Right
Guess what, it is totally possible to teach your dog the difference between right and left. It’s just that you need to repeat again and again to teach this cool trick to your dog. Stand behind your dog and say “left” as you toss a treat or ball to your left. Do it again with left, until you see that your dog respond to your command without tossing a clue. Next, proceed to “right” similarly. Always teach one first (either left or right), then only the other (either right or left). Otherwise your dog will be confused. Again reward your dog with lots of praise and treats if he/she does it perfectly.
8. Teach Your Dog to Follow You
I like this trick very much. It makes me feel like I have a bodyguard at all time. Haha… To teach this trick, it’s best to do it without a leash if possible. The whole objective is to get your dog to copy your actions, turn him/her to be a copycat or shall I say, “copydog”. If you walk left or right, your dog will tail you. To do this, tempt him or her with a lot of treats and be generous in giving praise when they follow the command.
9. Teach Your Dog to Move From One Side of You to the Other
The initial part of teaching this trick is to keep your dog on a leash, and take him or her for a walk. Fill your pocket with treats, and chances of you be able to teach your dog to switch sides should be quite easy. Put your dog on your right and a treat in your left hand. Place your left hand behind your back to where your dog sees the treat. Say “switch” as you pull the treat. Make sure that your dog is following you to the left side. Repeat this to have your dog move to your right.
10. Train Your Dog to Bark On Command
Instructing your dog to bark on command, using “bark” or “speak” can be an incredible method to show him when NOT to bark as well. To start, get your dog familiarizes with the command that you will use. Give your dog a treat if your dog barks. Once he/her has mastered the “bark” command, you can now use the command “QUIET” and reward him/her when he/she stops barking. Do note that you should teach one command at a time. Otherwise your dog might be confused.
11. Train Your Dog to Tell You When He Wants to Go Outside
It’s impossible to assume that we can read a dog’s mind or his/her language. They can’t speak to us, right? So, this simple trick is about teaching your dog to tell you when he/she wants to go outside. Hang a bell at the door entrance could be a way. Every time you take your dog out for a walk, have him/her ring the bell. Then give him/her lots of praise for doing that. Doing this multiple times, our dog will associate bell ringing with going outside. After a week or so, you will be amazed to see that the bell keeps ringing and there’s a dog sitting there, waiting to go outside. If you don’t have a lot of time walking your dog, don’t teach them this trick. You’ll regret why you want to teach your dog this trick. Haha…
12. Teach Your Dog to Dance
Yes, you can easily teach your dog to dance, alone or with you. When you find your dog bouncing up, say “DANCE”, and take his paws and wiggle a bit. Give your dog great amount of praise for his/her good behavior if he/she doesn’t reject it. Basically you are redirecting your dog from jumping here and there with this method. Be consistent and repeatedly say “DANCE” while redirecting his/her jumping actions to something positive. This is an awesome way to keep your dog from bouncing on visitors at the entrance door.
13. Teach Your dog to Find Something You Have Lost
This is a more advanced trick, so do keep in mind that it’s going to take more patience than the other tricks. However, if you were to ask me, it’s really handy. The whole idea is not to have your dog discover something particular, however rather to find anything with a human scent on it. Bring your dog outside and hide something like a shirt with your scent on it. Encourage your dog to find it and lead him/her in the direction the shirt is hidden. Sooner or later, you won’t have to lead the dog to find it. This is handy the next time you drop something outside of the house.