Dogs make for the most loving and loyal pets. Since you want to make the best of having them around, this leads you to wonder about the best tricks to teach your dog.
When training your dog, focusing too much on obedience can drill into your pup and get them bored too soon. Many professional trainers suggest that breaking free from the monotonous training routine and teaching your dog a new trick can make your pup more successful in all areas of training.
Learning tricks can be very stimulating for canines. Luckily, there are many tricks to teach your dog, ranging from basic ones to advanced tricks. Some of the best tricks to teach your dog include speak, back up, shake paws, wave, spin, beg, roll over, play dead, take a bow, hoop jump, and many more.
When it comes to dog training, most people think of only the basic commands, such as sit, come, down, and stay. While these basic tricks and commands are rather important, don’t underestimate the benefits of training your canine to perform interesting tricks. Learning tricks from their human buddies provides physical and mental stimulation to dogs, and makes them calmer and more obedient. In short, you can expect your furry friend to become the ideal pet.
As dedicated canine lovers, we couldn’t help but find the greatest tricks to convey to other dog parents that can help mentally and physically stimulate their canines. For this reason, we have conducted extensive research, providing you with comprehensive and accurate information to teach your four-legged friend the best tricks in the book!
Benefits of Teaching Your Dog Tricks
There are almost endless advantages to teaching your dog a few new tricks other than the basic commands. Here are a few of those benefits you can expect to enjoy during the lifetime of your furry canine.
Stronger Bond and Improved Relationship
Perhaps, the most significant benefit of teaching your dog any tricks through a gentle and motivation-based approach is that it helps form a closer and more communicative bond between you two. Teaching your dog tricks is an excellent way to spend some quality time with them, which not only makes them happy but also makes you feel more relaxed.
Another great benefit of teaching your dog new tricks consistently is the considerable improvement in their learning power. Just as your teaching skills improve with time, your dog’s ability to comprehend the training game also improves, allowing them to learn more quickly and efficiently.
Learning new tricks can help improve your dog’s overall level of obedience and manners. Only after a few training sessions will you be able to witness a much calmer and patient pet. Once your dog has learned a few tricks, you’ll have a talented canine that not only shows off fun tricks in front of your friends and family but is also generally more pleasant to be around.
Better Mental and Physical Health
One of the biggest advantages of trick training is the phenomenal improvement it brings about in your dog’s mental and physical health. Let’s face it: dogs are highly active creatures that require quite a bit of stimulation to lead happy lives, and trick training does just that.
Many tricks can help build a canine’s stamina and muscle tone, increase their flexibility, and improve their balance and concentration. Learning being the empowering experience that it is, helps boost your dog’s overall confidence. Moreover, learning a new behavior every time is an excellent way to channel your dog’s energy into something positive.
How to Teach Your Dog Tricks Effectively
The methods you employ to train your dog have a direct impact on their entire learning process and overall well-being. Various studies reveal that punishment-based training techniques have a negative impact on a dog’s ability to learn new tricks. Moreover, it also increases a dog’s anxiety and instills fear in its heart.
On the other hand, adopting reward-based training techniques to teach your dog new tricks has proven to produce quite effective results in addition to having smarter and happier puppies. Overall, treating your dog with kindness and making training sessions fun can considerably enhance your pup's chances to pick up tricks more effectively.
Here are a few important things to assist you in teaching your dog the best tricks.
A clicker is a sound marker that informs your dog about the desired behavior. After each click of a clicker, you’re supposed to reward your dog with a treat. This act will help your furry friend associate the sound of the clicker with a pleasant outcome.
Treats are probably one of the most vital items on your shopping checklist for your pup. Using delicious treats and snacks during trick training can help improve and speed up the process.
Training collars are wireless electronic collars that help control a dog’s behavior during their training sessions. Electronic collars employ reinforcement, such as vibrations, serving more or less the same purpose a clicker does, conditioning your dog to associate the vibration of the collar with a reward.
When it comes to trick training, the ideal way to set your dog and yourself up for success is by treading at your dog’s pace and choosing tricks and behaviors to teach that are appropriate for your dog’s age, abilities, health, and temperament. Make sure to keep the training sessions short and always keep your pockets full of treats and rewards.
When to Teach Your Dog Tricks
You should start training your pooch as soon as they are seven to eight weeks old. It’s important to remember puppies have a short attention span, which is why they can only be trained for a few minutes. Therefore, the best time to teach them anything is right before a meal. After all, when a puppy is hungry, it is far more likely to work for treats.
Best Tricks to Teach Your Dog
Here are some of the best tricks to teach your furry friend.
Training a dog to speak is quite a fun activity, and not only that, but it also helps solve a common behavior problem. Professional dog trainers suggest using the ‘quiet’ and ‘speak’ commands to reduce excessive barking.
Teaching your dog this trick means teaching them to bark in only certain situations, allowing you to have control over when the barking should start and stop. Moreover, it is also incredibly fun and entertaining to show off your dog’s conversational skills at gatherings.
To teach your dog this trick, opt for a consistent verbal marker, such as ‘speak’ or some other familiar word. During the initial stage, you will probably need to get your dog excited to start barking, and as soon as they do, you should mark their success with a verbal marker and give them a treat right away to promote this behavior. You must spend a few minutes every day practicing this trick with your dog, rewarding them with a treat each time they follow your command to bark.
Back up another one of the best tricks to teach your dog that can be utterly handy in various situations. Teaching your dog how to back up on command can help you keep your dog rushing out from the door and crowding you in the kitchen or near the refrigerator. Since backing up is something that doesn’t come naturally to canines, you will need to dedicate some time to teaching them.
Back up is a fairly simple trick to teach a pup that comprises only a few steps. All you need to do is exercise some patience and maintain a pocketful of mouthwatering treats.
Start by gaining your dog’s attention and luring them with a treat. Once you’ve managed to engage them, hold the treat up and encourage them to take a step backwards by moving your body forward. Every time your dog takes a step backward, reward them with a treat and reinforce the behavior with an affirmation marker, such as ‘yes.’ Once your dog starts understanding what you’re asking, try moving them over a further distance while using treats, verbal markers, and lots of praise.
Wouldn’t you love a big ol’ smooch from your furry best friend? Fortunately, training a dog to kiss is an easy and adorable trick. Some people might not prefer a big and wet doggie smooch, but this bodes pretty well with children. To teach your dog to kiss, simply put a little treat on your cheek and add the command ‘kiss.’ Soon enough, you’ll be able to receive all the affection you desire from your pooch. Besides the immense love you’ll receive from your dog after this trick, another big benefit of the kiss command is that it helps reduce unwanted licking.
What’s better than shaking hands with another human? Shaking your hand with pooch’s paws, duh! Have your dog greet you and your friends and family by shaking its paws. This paw trick is a rather entertaining and easy trick that you can teach your dog within just a few short training sessions. Since most dogs naturally like using their paws, they’re bound to enjoy the positive attention they’ll get when performing this trick.
To teach your pooch this trick, place them in a ‘sit’ position to keep the weight off their front paws and kneel down in front of them. Now, gently place your hand under your canine’s paw and lift it till your forearm is perpendicular to the ground. Assign a verbal cue, such as ‘shake,’ and reward your dog with a treat. Repeat this a few times so that your cat understands what you’re asking. Then, stick your hand out, and your dog will offer their paw. Follow this up with treats and positive reinforcement, and practice regularly.
There’s nothing cuter than witnessing your dog on its hind legs with its paws up begging for a treat. This dog trick can be fairly more difficult to teach than others, but with just a little bit of patience, your dog will be sitting in a begging position, asking for treats in no time.
When your dog is in a sitting position, hold a treat up to its nose, and give the command to ‘beg.’ As your dog reaches for the treat with its mouth, raise the reward slowly over its head so that your pooch has to reach up to get it. Keep pulling up the treat until your dog is sitting on its hind end with its front paws off the floor in a begging position.
Once in this position, tell your dog ‘good’ or use a clicker, and give your pooch a treat. Repeat these steps multiple times a day, and soon enough, your dog will be begging for treats on command.
Many dog parents train a dog to roll over in several small parts. Although teaching your dog this trick requires much effort, it sure is well worth it. The roll over trick is not only lots of fun, but it also serves as a building block for numerous other tricks, such as playing dead.
To teach your dog the roll over trick, try to gain their attention with a treat, and then get them to lay down. Next, make your dog follow your hand and lay down on their side. Now, do the rollover motion using your hand, and your pooch will follow. Make sure to follow up with a verbal cue and reinforce the command positively with a treat.
Your family and friends will surely be wowed when you hold up your finger like a gun followed by a loud bang, and your beloved pooch falls to the ground and plays dead. This trick can be very entertaining for the audience and will be sure to crack you up every time you witness it. The good news is that this trick isn’t as hard to teach a dog, especially if you’ve already trained it to roll over.
To teach your dog this trick, once you’ve taught your pooch to roll over, add another signal, including a cue word and a hand signal. Most people opt for the verbal command ‘bang’ along with a hand signal, holding up two fingers to look like a gun. Repeat these steps and practice this trick multiple times for a few minutes a day.
Take a Bow
Taking a bow is another impressive trick that involves having your pooch place its chest to the ground while keeping its rear up in the air. Although it may sound like a complicated trick to train your dog to do, the truth is that bowing comes to dogs naturally.
When observing two dogs playing together, you will notice how frequently they go in the bow position. This natural playfulness of your pooch and a previously taught trick to stand on command will make it much easier to teach them this lovely trick.
Once your dog is standing up on all four feet, hold up a treat at the tip of its nose, and move it down slowly, holding it close to your canine’s body. By doing this, you will use the treat to bring your dog down until its elbows are on the ground with its hindquarters still remaining up. Now that your dog is in a bowing position, get them to hold this bow for a few seconds, and then greet them back into a standing position using a treat.
Just as your dog completes the bows and stands up, use a positive verbal cue, such as ‘good’ or yes, and give them a treat. Once your dog grasps the action, add the cue word ‘bow.’
Spin and Twist
Spin and twist is a very cute trick to teach your pup. To teach your fluffy friend this interesting trick, try to gain its attention using a treat, followed by the verbal marker ‘spin,’ and ask your adorable little pooch to follow your hand as you turn in a small circle.
Some canines may sit down or stand up while they are learning, but as long as they finish even a partial turn, reward them with a treat and verbal affirmation. Make sure to continue their process until your canine learns how to make a full turn. Holding a treat near your pooch’s nose is the ideal way to lure it into a spin.
Wave “Hello” or “Goodbye”
There’s nothing more adorable than a waving dog. Simply imagine walking to your car in the morning with your dog standing at your dog waving goodbye.
Teaching your dog to wave is very similar to training them to shake paws. You will merely use the same action in both cases. If you’ve mastered the ‘shake paw,’ get your dog’s attention with a reward and stand up facing them. Next, stick your hand out as if you’re asking them to give you a paw, but pull your hand back immediately before your pup makes physical contact. During this process, your dog will have completed a wave, so make sure to reward them with treats and a verbal marker as affirmative reinforcement.
If you’re looking for the sweetest trick to teach your dog, there’s nothing better than training them to give hugs. Rather simple to teach, this trick will guarantee many years of love-filled and warm-embrace hugs from your fluffy little pooch.
To teach your dog this trick, get them to sit on a step or raised surface. Use a treat to lure your dog’s attention over your shoulder and move your hand forward, encouraging it to come onto your back. Once your pooch moves forward, reward them with a positive affirmation and treat. Keep practicing this trick until your dog seamlessly comes over your shoulder and hugs you naturally.
About THE AUTHOR
I have had dogs my whole life and have always trained my own dogs with patience and positive reinforcement. My dogs are my life. My family always had dogs growing up. I've trained dogs for clients while working at a local dog daycare. I hope that my research and experiences are helpful to you as I share them here.Read More About Russell Wright