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Fun Tricks You Can Easily Teach Your Dog

Dog Training Can Be Fun for Any Age Dog and for Its Owner Too

Dog TrainingMany people have likely heard or perhaps even uttered the adage that you cannot teach new tricks to an old dog.  This expression if frequently used as a figure of speech when a human displays an aversion to learning new skills or changing any part of a daily routine.

However, from the canine point of view, this adage is actually a long way from the truth.  People can truly teach new tricks to their dogs, regardless of the age of those dogs, and such an activity is quite frequently encouraged as a means of providing some degree of mental stimulation – for both parties.

This type of dog training can also be a lot of fun for the dog and for its owner as well.

There are many fun tricks that can be taught to a dog using a little bit of patience, some treats, and a lot of praise.  These tricks can be separated into two distinct categories:

  • Tricks that mimic or parallel human behaviours
  • Tricks that amuse dog owners and their friends

Here are some simple and easy steps to apply for teaching the following fun tricks to a dog – the inclusion of praise and giving treats is inherent whenever the desired response is observed throughout these dog training exercises.

Tricks that Mimic Human Behaviours

  • Shake
    • Hold a treat in one hand and show it to the dog – give the sit command
    • When the dog sits, enclose the treat in a fist – give the shake command
    • Wave the closed fist under its nose until the dog paws at the hand/treat
  • Wave (only after shake has been taught)
    • Give the shake command – lift the hand a bit higher when dog reaches for it
    • Repeat a few times until dog is lifting its paw above/higher than its own head
    • When the dog does this routinely, add a command like ‘say hi’ or ‘wave bye’
  • Take a Bow
    • With the dog in a standing position, hold a treat at the tip of its nose
    • Give the command to take a bow – lower treat slowly toward the ground until dog’s elbows rest on the ground and its hind legs stay in the standing position
    • Hold this position for a few seconds, then raise treat back to the starting level
  • Speak
    • Start with a quiet command – examples would be quiet, enough, or shush
    • When the dog barks, make a sharp sound (clap) and give the quiet command
    • Reward and praise when the dog stops barking – repeat/practice this often
    • When quiet seems understood, choose a speak command – speak, talk, bark
    • Expose dog to situations that will cause it to bark (doorbell or knock on door)
    • When these situations are created, give the speak command – recognize with praise and a treat when the dog barks a few times in a row – repeat this often
    • When speak seems understood, teach these separate commands in sequence by having the dog speak (bark) a few times then obeying the quiet command
  • Kiss
    • Place a small amount of peanut butter or jam or cream cheese on your cheek
    • Give the kisses command and lean forward – dog will likely respond instantly

Tricks to Amuse Owners and Friends

  • Roll Over
    • Begin by giving the down command – hold a treat at the tip of the dog’s nose
    • Move the treat toward the dog’s shoulder so that it turns its head to follow it
    • Continue to move the treat behind the shoulder until the dog lays on its side
    • Give the roll over command, moving the treat as the dog rolls to its other side
  • Play Dead (only after dog has been taught to roll over)
    • Choose a verbal command (bang) plus a hand gesture (like pointing a pistol)
    • Give the down command – hold a treat near dog’s nose – give bang command
    • Follow the process outlined for roll over trick to get the dog to roll on its side
    • Repeat several times, extending the length of time dog lies prone on its side
  • Back Up
    • Give the stay command then walk a few steps away from the dog
    • Turn and face the dog – give the command to back up while re-approaching
    • If dog does not back away, lean forward while continuing to approach
  • Beg
    • Give the sit command – hold a treat at dog’s nose and give the beg command
    • As dog reaches for the treat with its mouth, slowly raise treat above its head
    • Continue until dog raises its front paws off the ground and sits on its hind end
  • Spin
    • With the dog starting in a standing position, hold a treat at the tip of its nose
    • Give the command to spin – slowly move the treat around length of the dog’s body so that it will have to spin in order to follow it
    • Add further depth to this trick by teaching the dog to spin left or spin right

Most dogs have the natural tendency to want to please their owners and to receive some praise and affection, not to mention a strong liking for treats.  Teaching tricks like those above aligns well with these tendencies, while also integrating the fundamental elements of trust and respect that are inherent to any and all types of dog training regimens.

A Foundation in Dog Obedience Training is Needed Before Teaching Fun Tricks

As noted in the previous section, many basic commands are an integral part of teaching a dog to perform a few tricks.  Therefore, a dog obedience program that teaches a dog the fundamental commands of sit, stay, and down (among others) is a critical step – not only in ultimately moving forward with teaching these tricks but also from the standpoint of establishing a strong foundation for a mutually respectful dog-owner relationship.

Basic obedience sessions are provided by the dog training professionals at Alpha Paws.  The sessions are customized to meet the specific training needs of your dog, and based on a one-hour in-home assessment by an expert Alpha Paws dog trainer.

For more information on the in-home assessment and dog obedience programs provided by Alpha Paws, click here. If you need help training your dog to be more obedient with basic commands or learning fun tricks, call the professional dog trainers at Alpha Paws today at 905-830-9500 or toll-free at 1-877-868-PAWS (7297) to discuss how we can help you and your dog.

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