5 Easy Dog Tricks
5 Easy Dog Tricks
Not only do these easy dog tricks give you bragging rights, but the training process itself deepens your bond with your pooch. Build trust and morale in a way that’s enjoyable for you, your dog, and every lucky witness to their fantastic feats.
As these tricks build off a foundation of obedience, you’ll need to have already taught your pup to sit and stay before showing them these new basic tricks. Below are some absolute classics, perfect for beginner trainers and new pup parents looking to develop their trick repertoire.
It’s highly recommended your dog has already been taught to ‘hush’ or ‘be quiet’ before tackling a barking command. Once your dog knows when it’s time to quiet down, move on to speaking. Pick a command that is simple and clear, like ‘speak’ or ‘talk’.
You will need to create a situation where your dog will undoubtedly bark with anticipation or excitement, like knocking on the door. First acknowledge the reason for their barking (motion to or check the door) and then approach them. Get their attention using a favourite treat or chew toy and in a clear and confident tone say your chosen ‘speak’ command. Reward with a treat and practice practice practice!
Shake A Paw
Start off with having your dog sit, and wait for them to calm and settle if they’re still twitching with puppy energy.
Grab one of their favourite treats and let them take a peek at it before closing it in a fist. Hold your fist, palm up, at collar-level. Your dog (you might need to give them a little go-ahead nod) should instinctively reach for the treat, and when they do, give it to them!
Repeat this several times with lots of encouragement. Then, repeat again except with no treat in your fist – instead wait for them to paw at your fist and then feed them from your other hand. Once this has clicked for your pooch, integrate the word ‘shake’, ‘paw’, or ‘give’ or whatever you prefer, into the trick.
Beyond the fun, this command has practical use when cleaning dirty paws post-walk or clipping nails.
Command your dog first to stay, then take a few steps back. If they follow you and disobey the instruction, repeat until they have successfully stayed put.
Standing a few feet away and facing them, begin taking confident steps towards them. Some dogs will automatically begin backing up, but don’t worry if they don’t – lean forward while walking and keep trying. If you are able to walk right up to your pup without them moving backwards, try softly nudging them with your knee. Prompted by physical contact, most dogs at this point will quickly shuffle back.
Whether the action of backing up is instant or takes a gentle push, you will want to immediately give them a treat and lots of pats when they do it to affirm the behaviour. When you repeat the steps, begin commanding them to ‘back up’ while you walk towards them.
Out in the real world, ‘back up’ is great for keeping your dog and others safe. Use it to pull your pup away from traffic and small children, or push them back from the family dinner table.
One of the all time best party tricks. For this one, your dog will need to have mastered the command ‘lie down’. Once your dog is lying calmly, hold a treat in front of their nose. Move the treat over to the side and slightly behind, so they will have to roll sideways to get to it. If your pup is already a ‘roll over’ veteran, you will find this trick even easier!
As soon as your dog flops onto their side, give them the treat with lots of praise. Repeat this until the roll over action is cemented with your pooch.
Now you’ll want to include the verbal and/or hand signal command. Many love the classic ‘bang’ joined with finger guns. Show them the treat off to the side, say or display the chosen command, and then have them eat it off the floor. Soon, you’ll be able to do this trick sans initial treat, and instead give it to them after they’ve completed the trick and gotten back up.
Take A Bow
Your pooch is a star, and now they’re going to look the part. Begin with your dog standing, and have them ‘stay’.
Take a yummy treat and hold it at your dog’s nose. Slowly lower the treat, down and closer to their chest, with the final goal of having them drop to their elbows in a stage-worthy bow. This may take some time and repetitions, but be patient and consider rewarding half-successful attempts (comes part way to their elbows but doesn’t fully lie there).
After they are able to ‘bow’, start lifting the treat back up and don’t give it over until they’re up and standing again – thus completing the full movement.
Add the command ‘bow’ or preferred and repeat above steps using this verbal cue.
It’s Trick-y – Be Patient!
These tricks will not be mastered overnight. Many dogs take days or weeks to fully understand and be able to execute the above tricks consistently. This, you cannot control. What you do have power over, is your love and patience. Shower your pup with praise and treats when they’ve accomplished a trick (or segment of a trick), but remain equally kind and encouraging if they’re struggling. If you’re witnessing behavioural issues, try reading through Pep & Pup’s blog on Why My Dog Won’t Walk, for potential reasons for disobedience and how you can work with your furry friend to fix them.