Here are a few tricks that are nonessential, but fun. You don’t need to teach your dog all of them—just those your dog picks up easily. For example, if your dog’s paw is expressive, he’ll get into the “Paw” or “Wave.” Teaching a trick or two spices up the normal routine.
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Paw, High-five, or Wave:
Is your dog paw expressive? Does he always slap you for a pat while you’re trying to read the paper or talk on the phone? You need to redirect his habits. What better way than a good old-fashioned parlor trick?
Bet You Didn’t Know:
A dog can learn many tricks from one action. With pawing, for example, you can teach your dog to shake your hand, wave a big hello, or slap your hand for a high-five!
Teaching your dog to Paw is easy and fun! Start from a sitting position and follow these steps:
1. Say “Paw” or “Shake” as you extend your hand in front of your dog.
2. If your dog looks puzzled, press his shoulder muscle with your other hand.
3. Take his paw the instant he lifts it off the ground and praises him. Soon he’ll be reaching out to you.
All of my dogs have mastered the Wave. It’s a real charmer, especially for kids. Teach it using these steps:
1. Sit your dog. Hold a treat inches from his nose and say “Wave” as you wave your hand in front of him.
2. Praise and treat him the instant he lifts his paw.
3. Encourage more enthusiastic waving as he catches on.
Your dog’s going to have to reach to learn the high-five. What’s the prerequisite? He must be a champion paw-er. Follow these steps:
1. Do two Paws. Be an enthusiastic praiser.
2. Hold your hand up and out for the high-five. Say “Paw, high-five!”
3. Lower your hand if your dog attempts. Soon he’ll be bringing that paw up enthusiastically!
Good balance is a requirement for the Ask Nicely trick. You’re asking your dog to tilt back from a sitting position and balance on his hind paws, like the old begging routine. Here’s how:
1. Break up five favorite treats.
2. With your dog in a sitting position, place a treat centimetres above his nose.
3. Command “Ask nicely” as you bring the treat back toward his ears.
4. If he tilts back for a split second, treat and praise him. Encourage the slightest effort; increase your expectations slowly!
5. If your dog’s trying, but can’t seem to balance himself, stand behind him with your heels together near his tail. Draw the treat back and catch his chest, leaning his body against your legs. Repeat the command as you hold and treat him. Then praise him.
Does your dog love a good stretch? Betcha didn’t know you could turn this one into a trick:
- As your dog’s stretching, bow toward him and say “Bow!”
- Praise your dog like he just invented the dog biscuit!
- Repeat this each time your dog stretches.
Soon he’ll be bowing on cue!
Everybody wants his/her dog to roll over. Few dogs are so impressed. Does your dog roll over on his own? Does he shift from side to side with ease? If so, he’ll like doing this trick. If not, find another trick to impress your friends.
1. Get a handful of treats and encourage your dog into a down position.
2. Scratch your dog until he rolls to one side.
3. Take the treat and circle it from your dog’s nose to the floor.
4. Say “Rollover” as you circle the treat around his nose toward his chest. It’s hard to visualize, I know, but imagine a string tied from the treat to your dog’s nose; you’re trying to pull his body over.
5. If he seems to lean into it, praise him and flip his paws over. Praise him wildly and encourage him to jump up!
I’ve always thought the trick Play Dead was a little depressing. It is clever though, so I simply switched the command. This one’s easy if you have a calm dog and it’s good practice for the high-energy ones:
1. Command “Down” Encourage your dog to rest on one side.
2. Kneel next to your dog, but don’t look at him.
3. Tap the floor near his head and say “Nap time.”
4. Gently apply pressure to his shoulder and help him rest his head on the floor.
5. Keep his head in place by stroking it gently while commanding “Stay”.
6. Release your dog once he’s still, increasing the still time gradually
Once your dog cooperates, take your hand off his head slowly. Eventually, stand up. Do everything gradually. Remind him “Nap, Stay” as needed.
This is a clever trick. Do you have a dog who has a perpetual back itch? Scratching is common ploy dogs use to escape lessons; however, it can be an awfully cute trick, too.
1. When your dog starts to roll on his back, say “Breakdance!”
2. Bend over and scratch his belly as you praise him.
Repeat this process again and again until you’re able to command him on cue! This trick is a real crowd-pleaser.
Is your dog ahead knocker? Does he always nudge your arm for attention, especially when you’re trying to enjoy your morning coffee? Believe it or not, you can redirect this misguided behavior.
Each time your dog butts his head against you for attention, say “Head down,” and encourage your dog to lay his head in your lap (holding his head still if you must). Though he may resist in the beginning, be diligent. Pet your dog when his headrests in your lap.
Soon, he’ll have a new and more polite way of demanding your attention and you’ll be able to enjoy your morning coffee again!
All You Need To Know About Training Your Dogs:
- Training doesn’t always have to be work, work, work. Once your dog knows the basics, you can have some fun.
- When teaching tricks, stay positive—no discipline allowed.
- Use treats to encourage cooperation. Sometimes tricks can be confusing.
- Laugh a little.