Tricks

To teach your dog tricks takes time and energy but it is a lot of fun for you both.

The Basics

The basics of teaching any kind of trick are to use lots of rewards at first and expect improvements very slowly. Come armed with patience and lots of treats.

Spin

Teaching your dog to spin around in a circle is always a crowd pleaser. Begin by showing your dog the treat, let them lick and smell it, and then move it around and behind them so that their head will follow. As they complete the circle, reward them with the treat and try again.

High Five

There are many ways to teach a high five, but the easiest and simplest way is to simply pick up their paw. As you are holding it, give them a treat, and then start again. Over time, they will begin to pick up their paw as you reach for it. This is a lovely shake, but if you want a high five, only reward when their paw is a little bit higher than usual.

Roll Over

Roll over is a little bit harder. Ask your dog to drop. Once they are lying down, move the treat over their shoulder so that their head follows. This is as far as some dogs will go, whilst others will roll over onto their side. Whichever your dog will comfortably do, reward them for trying, and then start again. Over time, they will start lying on their side reliably when you move the treat over their shoulder.

Now you can start to expect a little more. Move the treats up and over to the other side, so that their head follows and their body rolls over. Make sure you start on soft carpet or grass and reward them for trying at first!

Sit Up

Sitting up on their haunches is really cute. Start with them in a sitting position. Now move the treat slowly upwards so that they have to stretch to reach it. If their paws move off the floor even a little bit, then reward them with the treat and start again.

Start increasing the difficulty by expecting their paws to move a little higher before you give them the reward. Balancing is difficult for most dogs, and they will have to practise using the right muscles with you as you make it harder and harder. By the end of your training, they should sit up on their haunches with their paws held up – adorable!

More Tricks

By using the skills you have learned in training these tricks, there’s no end to what you can teach them. Simply use a treat to lure them into the right position and then reward them. If the trick is to complicated to do in one session, then reward them for trying an approximation of it and increase the difficulty slowly. The number of tricks they can learn is limited only by your imagination.

For some ideas, try teaching them to go through your legs, over a jump, or crawl along the ground. You can move on to getting them to open boxes or put their toys away if you get really good!