4 Crazy Cool (and Easy!) Tricks to Teach Your Dog
by Jessi Larson
So maybe your dog has mastered the basic commands. Sit. Shake. Lay down. Maybe they even know how to roll over. But for some pup parents, the big question is: What’s next?
We love the idea of teaching dogs new tricks to keep them mentally stimulated and engaged. It’s also a fabulous way to connect with them emotionally and bond over a shared activity.
At the same time, this can be a lot of work. You see those women running around an obstacle course with their dogs? The ones whose dog seems to perfectly leap over high jumps and seamlessly zig and zag through poles? They spend years teaching their dogs those skills. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
Instead, here are four super easy but also super cool tricks you can teach your dog this weekend.
Want to really impress your guests? Teach your pup how to wave goodbye! Who doesn’t love an adorable dog waving goodbye to them when they leave?
First, make your dog sit down in front of you. Grab a treat and hold it in front of your dog. They will naturally paw at it. As soon as they raise their paw, press the clicker. This signals that they’d done something good.
Follow up immediately by giving them the treat. (Your pup may reach out with two paws, but only reward when they use one.)
Next, take a small step back and repeat the process above. Your dog will try to touch your hand, but it’ll be just out of reach, and therefore the motion will resemble a wave.
Finally, start saying “Bye!” at the beginning of the process. This gives your pup a verbal signal to raise their paw on command. Every time you have them sit down and say the word, they’ll know it’s time to wave.
It’ll all make sense after watching this tutorial.
Balance a Treat on the Nose
This is a fun trick that even the biggest chow hounds can master. (Although it may be a little easier for dogs without such a big appetite.)
For starters, ask your dog to sit in front of you. Then gently start to touch their nose so they get used to the idea of something resting there. Praise them for their patience.
Next, grab a small treat and securely hold it in your hand. Bring it close to your dog’s nose but don’t allow them to eat it. Repeat “leave it.” This gets them used to the idea that they can’t gobble up the treat right away.
From there, hold the treat directly to your dog’s nose without letting them eat it. Again, provide positive reinforcement that they’re doing a great job.
Lastly, place the treat on your pup’s nose and say “leave it.” After a few seconds, say “OK!” to signal to your dog that it’s time to eat the treat.
It’ll take a number of rounds until your dog gets into the swing of things, but once they do, this is an awesome trick to show off to your family and friends.
Check out this video for a full tutorial.
This is a very easy but super entertaining trick.
To begin, ask your dog to lie down. Then, slowly drag a treat on the floor in front of them to encourage a crawling motion. Make sure your pup moves forward in the down position.
This may seem like a strange position for your dog at first, so have patience. They’ll eventually get into the swing of things.
Once your pup is comfortable with the movement, repeat the word “crawl” as you drag the treat away from them. Reward your pooch with a treat as positive reinforcement.
Before you know it, your dog will crawl on command, like in this video.
Speak on Command
And finally, another fun trick is to get your dog to “speak” on command. This trick does require a bit of patience on your end. Here’s why.
As the video below shows, the only thing you need to do at first is wait. Make your dog sit, then simply stare at them. Dogs instinctively want some sort of guidance from you, and when you don’t give it to them, their reaction is to bark.
When they do start to bark, immediately use your clicker to signal they’ve done something good and pull out a treat.
As your pup starts to get a hang of the process, add the verbal command “speak.” Soon they will correlate the word with the action.
These tricks all go above and beyond the basic “sit, stay and shake” commands but are easy enough to teach your dog in a weekend. So why not try one out and see how it goes?
Quick Training Tips
- Positive reinforcement works best. It’s easier to teach a dog what to do, rather than what not to do. Respond excitedly with a treat when they do what they’re supposed to, but don’t give a negative response if they don’t get it right.
- Timing matters. As soon as they perform the correct action respond with a click or by saying “yes.” This helps make it clear that they did the action you wanted even if you can’t get a treat to them that very second.
- Be patient. Training takes repetitions over multiple days. Just like any skill you’d learn it takes awhile to get the hang of it and understand what is expected.