If you’ve recently found yourself with a new dog or want to teach your canine companion a few fun and easy dog tricks we’ve got you covered. Although even the simplest of dog tricks will require a level of dedication, tolerance, and treats, teaching your puppy fun tricks is rewarding so we’ve gathered a top ten list of easy tricks to teach your dog
Why Teach Your Dog to Learn Tricks?
Teaching a pup basic tricks can help you and your dog develop a bond and establish a healthy relationship. In addition to this, by spending time training your dog you will also keep their mind stimulated and help them improve their focus and concentration. This can result in great behavior and obedience later in life and will also benefit their physical health too. If you go on to teach your pup more advanced dog tricks you can even help them refine their muscle tone, agility, stamina, and balance.
What You’ll Need To Teach Your Dog:
- Plenty of treats (also known as a ‘food lure’)
- Your dog (of course)
- Clicker (optional)
- Your pup’s favorite toy (just in case)
- A spacious and comfortable area, away from other dogs, to train in.
Top Tips To Start Training:
- Dishing out praise when your dog succeeds will encourage them hugely- especially young puppies!
- Train in short sessions so they don’t lose focus or become fatigued
- The American Kennel Club recommends 2/3 sessions a day on their dog training YouTube channel.
- Break the training into small achievable chunks
- Repeat the steps as often as possible until you and your dog are confident
- When deciding on a voice cue, always stick to the same word.
10 Tricks To Teach Your Dog:
1. Roll Over
What To Do:
To begin, we’ll kick off our list with one of the easiest tricks to teach dogs. First, using their favorite treats, you will need to get them into a down position by bringing a treat to the dog’s nose and lowering it to the floor with your them following closely. Once down, reward them.
Next, you will need to get the dog onto its side by applying the same treat-to-nose method. Using the treat, guide your pup’s nose so that it lifts its head and its weight is shifted onto its side.
Using a treat you will then need to slowly guide your dog’s head so that they begin to shift their weight again onto their back and on the other side. Then, by shifting the treat away and in front of the dog, you will encourage them to roll up and get it. Voilà!
Positive reinforcement is key! Your pup will learn faster if you reward them, not just with treats, but with your praise. Using a happy voice and saying things such as ‘good dog!’ will keep your dog interested for longer.
2. Shake Hands/Give Paw
Shake hands is another great trick and also a good way to formally greet your dog after a long day at the office. Shake, or, give paw is an easy dog trick and can be learned relatively quickly compared to other dog tricks.
What To Do:
Have your pup sit in front of you. Hold a treat in one hand and show them, but close it in your fist before they can wolf it down. Once you have their attention you can start to implement your command word or cue.
Initially, like most dogs, they may try and nudge your hand with their nose but it’s important that you keep using your vocal cue. Tap their paw with your treat hand to encourage them to use it. Once they touch your hand with one of their front paws, reward them with the treat and some words of encouragement. Repeat until you’re happy your dog knows the command well!
What To Do:
For this, you will once again need to use the treat-to-nose hack coupled with a vocal command. Hold the dog treat close to their nose and guide your dog’s head to the side so they eventually have to move in a circular motion in order to follow it.
When your dog has come full circle, offer them praise and the treat and repeat as many times as needed until you’re able to take the treat away and rely on the command.
Not many owners like their dog to bark but it’s a different matter when you teach them to vocalize on cue. This trick may even be used to prevent barking problems. Getting your dog to speak is surprisingly easy and achievable with the steps below.
What To Do:
You can easily teach a dog to speak by taking advantage of a trigger that can cause them to bark. For instance, if a knock at the door causes them to bark, simply knock on the door, and when they bark say “Speak” and reward them with a treat or a toy.
After a few minutes and tries, experiment with the cue only to see if your dog understands the association. If they have: success! If not: continue the lesson until they pick it up.
5. Sit Pretty
Otherwise known as ‘beg’, sit pretty is a fun trick to teach dogs.
What To Do:
First, have your dog sit and get yourself on their level. With a treat in one hand, guide your dog’s nose up and over their head so that they may position themselves on their hind legs. Most dogs will, at first, stand up completely in order to get the treat but it’s important that you have them sit back down in order to try again.
Eventually, when your dog raises their front paws but remains sat on its back legs, repeat your phrase and reward them with your praise and treat. Repetition is key again, so keep going until your dog masters the trick.
What To Do:
In order to teach your dog to fetch, you will need to acquire their favorite toy as well as several treats. You will need to encourage their playful side before you throw the toy so play with them a little first. When they go to retrieve the item use your cue and treat to entice them back to you and reward them as they return.
Taking the toy away, repeat the throw, cue, and praise process until you can gradually take the food lure out of the trick altogether.
Fun Trick Fact:
There’s no doubt that this will be one of the first tricks to teach your puppy as it is an easy one to learn however, some persistent dog owners have gone one step further and trained their pup to retrieve snacks or beverages from cupboards and even the refrigerator. Throughout the learning process, owners have tied rags or ropes from a door handle for their dog to pull on to retrieve an item.
7. Play Dead
This trick may require a little more time than others but it is certainly the most entertaining when the typical verbal cue is added.
What To Do:
First, have your dog lie down on its tummy with you close to their level. With a treat in your hand, use it to guide them onto their side whilst using a verbal cue. “Play dead” or even “bang-bang” are two of the most popular communications for this particular trick.
When your dog rolls onto their side successfully, make sure you praise them and offer them the treat. Repeat this a few times until you are certain they are picking up on the process and cues.
Once you’re confident that they can complete the roll onto their side, you will next need to phase out the lure and begin to introduce your verbal command. This is where you can also introduce a hand signal. Whilst they’re still learning, you must offer a treat when the trick is completed successfully.
When a dog learns the trick confidently, as an added touch, you should increase the time between them rolling over and giving them the treat, telling them to “wait”.
8. Army Crawl
If you’re looking for cool dog tricks to teach your pup, we’ve got you. Especially if you enjoy fun dog tricks to incorporate into specific dog training sessions and/or assault courses.
What To Do:
Have your dog lie down and hold a treat in your hand and slowly lure them along the floor. Instinctively, they may get back up into a standing position but always have them lie back down before trying once more.
To encourage your dog to stay down, spend time using your vocal cue and a hand to keep them in a lying position as you slowly coax them along the floor. When your dog makes an effort to crawl rather than get up make sure you reward them. After a while, you will be able to slowly increase the distance between you and your dog as they learn to crawl with your command word.
9. Take A Bow
‘Bow’ sometimes isn’t one of the easiest things to teach your dog but with some persistence and repetition, your pooch will master this in no time.
What To Do:
Begin with your dog in a standing position. Hold a treat in your hand, use your command word, and guide the dog’s nose down. Be careful not to mix up your commands. If your dog knows ‘down’ they may automatically lie down or sit as a response to you attempting to get them to bow.
When your pup eventually bows its head, wait before you bring the treat back up and shower them with your praise. Repeat until you’re satisfied!
10. Jump Through A Hula Hoop
Although others may class this as one of the more advanced tricks to teach your dog, once they grasp some of the easier ones, this should come quickly.
What To Do:
Have your dog become familiar with the hoop and reward them with a treat when they approach it. Now hold the hoop up vertically with it still touching the floor and use a treat to lure him through the ring. Do this several times so your dog knows to go through the hoop to get the treat.
After you teach your dog to maneuver through the ring, elevate it, and begin incorporating a voice command such as ‘leap’ or ‘jump’ to encourage them to jump through to get the reward. Over time, you can increase the elevation of the hoop and eventually take the treat out of the loop.
Other Things To Consider
Breed Of Dog
Certain dog breeds pick up lessons quicker due to having a higher intelligence so you may find that your training sessions progress a lot faster than you’d expect. For example, breeds such as the border collie, golden retriever, and the poodle are known to be extremely intelligent and therefore easier to train.
It is also worth noting that some breeds are more stubborn than others and will therefore require a lot more patience. Fortunately, PetSide has some great resources to take advantage of when training your canine, take a look at the guides available here.
The Age Of Your Dog
If you want to teach your puppy tricks you will certainly need a little more patience to deal with their short attention span and copious amounts of energy but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. In fact, training a puppy will be satisfying and possibly one of the best sources of entertainment.
Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks
We’re sorry to say it – you’ve been lied to. You can absolutely teach an old dog a new trick. Although it is easier to teach dogs new tricks when they’re young it is possible to teach a mature pup as they naturally observe their surroundings and remain curious throughout adulthood.
Also, due to your existing bond, your dog is also more likely to remain obedient and listen to you without losing concentration or motivation if the right methods are applied. Therefore lessons may be shorter and efficient.
Sometimes, dogs with pre-existing conditions or mobility issues may struggle to pick up certain tricks. Easy dog tricks such as ‘speak’, ‘sit’, or ‘give paw’ may be simple enough for them, but you will have to reconsider teaching them more strenuous maneuvers to avoid causing them further pain.