Six Easy to Teach Dog Tricks
There are a number of cute dog tricks that you can teach your dog to get your dog’s attention and make him better trained. Some are useful and some just downright cute—and easy to teach.
Trick One: Shake
This classic is the easiest to teach because most dogs give their paw naturally. Put a treat in your closed fist and hold it right against your dog’s nose. When he lifts his paw, say “shake,” grab his paw and praise. Give the treat. If your dog doesn’t offer his paw, you can also say “shake,” pick up his paw and then reward.
Trick Two: High Five
Once your dog has done shake, high five is a piece of cake. Just raise your hand a little higher when your dog starts to offer his paw. Say “high five” and give the reward.
Trick Three: Roll Over
When your dog is lying down, he naturally rotates to one side. When he is on that side, take a treat and move it slowly in a circular motion toward the direction on which he has already shifted his weight. If he is starting to do it but hasn’t made it all the way, gently roll his body over. Give the command and give a big reward.
Trick Four: Get It
If you have a dog that loves to fetch, put his ball or favorite toy on the floor and say “get it.” Get excited so he runs to it (point if you have to) and brings it to you. Reward with a game of tug or fetch when he brings it.
Once he is good at that, start naming the toys. Change the command to “get your ball.” Then, add a second toy and say “get your bear” (or whatever the toy is); If he brings you the ball, ignore him while pointing to the toy.
Once he’s good at that, start adding household objects you would like him to bring to you. “Get my checkbook” or something similar is very useful. Once he can get it off the floor, put it on a chair or desk that he can reach and have him get it from there.
Trick Five: Leave It
Start with a handful of treats. Offer him a couple, saying “take it” before each one. Then close your fist and say “leave it.” Your dog will probably paw, nip or bark. Ignore it. Leave your fist by his nose. Repeat the command every 20 seconds or so. When he stops the bad behavior and looks at you, say, “good” and give him a treat.
Once he is doing this well, hold the treat in your open palm and say “leave it.” Be ready to close your fist quickly. Start practicing with tougher things like people food. When Thanksgiving comes, impress your family by holding out a turkey leg and saying “leave it.” Just be prepared to reward!
Trick Six: Take a Bow
Once your dog is finished performing, let him take a bow. With your dog standing, hold a treat at his nose and slowly lower it to the ground. Move the treat slightly toward his body so he has to bow down to get it. Say “take a bow” and reward. If he drops to lie down, keep your foot underneath his back legs so he can’t go all the way down. Now everyone can applaud his performance!