If you’ve ever seen a cool dog trick online or on TV and longed to show off in that way, you most certainly can! You don’t need to be a dog whisperer or use odd techniques such as hypnosis to get your dog to perform tricks. Here are seven fun tricks that you can start teaching your pup today!
If tricks are too advanced right now, you may want to focus on training your dog to be obedient first. Once it can follow simple commands, it will be much more likely to pick up on all sorts of cool dog tricks.
Your pup should know the commands “sit,” “stay,” and “lie down” prior to learning these tricks. Not only are those basic commands required for fun tricks but they’re useful in all kinds of scenarios.
To teach your dog how to high-five, start by having it sit and reward it with a treat. Then try it again but this time, hold the treat in your hand a few inches from it.
Say the command “high-five” while you use your other hand to tap one of its front paws. It should instinctively reach its other paw up to the treat in your hand. Catch its paw in your hand as it’s lifted and reward it with a treat.
Have your dog sit and then hold a treat above its head. Use the command “dance” while coaxing it to stand on its hind legs.
Keep repeating this process before you start to move the treat around its head. This will encourage it to spin, or “dance.”
#3. Jump Through a Hoop
Start with a stick on the ground between you and your dog. Call its name and as it crosses over the stick, reward it. Over time, you can progress to it jumping through a hula hoop.
Make sure that it is comfortable with the hula hoop first by rewarding it when it approaches and sniffs the hoop. Then have it walk through the hoop to get to you. Progress by holding the hoop higher so the dog has to jump through it.
#4. Walk Backwards
Stand in front of your dog and as it takes a step backward, reward it. Repeat the process so that it progressively takes multiple steps backward. Add the verbal cue “back” and decrease the treats.
Make your dog feign embarrassment with this trick! Stick some Scotch tape on its nose and reward it when he tries to get the tape off with its paws.
Repeat this process a few times, adding the verbal cue “Are you shy?” Over time, you can stop using the tape and rely only on the verbal cue.
#6. Take a Bow
You can start training with this one by playing with your dog. Whenever it “bows,” or bends low with her rear in the air, give it a treat. Keep doing this until it starts to bow more frequently.
Add the verbal cue “bow” and reward the dog. Keep practicing until it can bow without the need for a treat.
#7. Play Dead
The “play dead” trick is a crowd favorite and involves your dog pretending to drop down dead when you give the signal, usually pointing a finger gun at it. This trick takes a bit of time to master but it’s worth the time investment.
This trick uses a technique called back-chaining, which means that you teach your dog the end of the trick first and then go from there. It’s a useful method that works in all kinds of behavioral training and therapies, not just with dogs!
To teach your dog this trick, start by commanding it to lie down. At this point, use your hands to guide the dog to lie down on its side. A clicker and some treats can be useful in solidifying this motion in your dog’s memory.
Spend some time repeating the process of commanding your dog to go from sitting to lying down on its side. You want to get to the point where the dog does this in one seamless motion so it looks as if it’s lying down, or dead.
Next, you can add the verbal cue “bang!” to the command. Start by using the verbal cue while holding a treat in your hand, gradually eliminating the treat from the equation and using a finger gun motion instead.