Pawing, beautifying, or catching treats on the fly? With these 8 tricks to teach your dog, you and your little companion will become stars. And the best part is that these tricks not only create excitement around you but also provide a mental and physical challenge for your dog. Practicing these dog tricks together will also strengthen your relationship with your pet.
When a dog runs around in circles on command or waves its paw, you can be sure to create a sense of wonder around you and receive a round of applause. But far more important than surprising those around you is how your dog feels. Fortunately, most dogs are curious by nature. They like to keep themselves busy and physically active. If they also get a reward, such as a treat or a pat on the back from their owner as a token of appreciation, then they’re on cloud nine.
Teaching your dog tricks: the main thing is to have fun!
Knowing that learning dog tricks also offers many benefits to strengthen the relationship with the animal, many masters set ambitious goals for themselves. But before you start training, you should be aware that not all tricks are suitable for all dogs. While most dogs have a willingness to learn, especially if they are entitled to a reward, their size, build, or weight may prohibit them from practicing certain tricks. Moreover, dogs, just like us, have their own preferences and reluctance. For example, if your dog doesn’t like to lie on his back, you shouldn’t teach him to roll over right away, and if he doesn’t like to jump, you’d also be better off leaving out the trick of catching a treat on the fly for the time being.
The most important thing about teaching your dog tricks is that it’s fun for both of them. You’ll also get a lot more satisfaction out of it if you focus on having fun rather than repeating an exercise when your dog would much rather be in his basket.
It’s not the destination that matters, it’s the journey.
Teaching tricks to your dog should be a positive experience for the animal. Stress or severity is not at all appropriate here. Proceed carefully and always perform the tricks step by step. Be patient with your dog and respect his learning rhythm. This does not mean that you should give up directly when your dog does not play the game or when a trick does not work the first time. Sometimes it takes a while before the dog understands what his owner expects of him. It is important that you observe your dog carefully and learn to understand his behavior.
If your dog is no longer motivated, it is best to end the training and resume it at another time. In time, you will know if your dog is still interested in the trick or if he prefers to concentrate on something else. Practicing tricks therefore also promotes a better understanding of your dog. In turn, your dog will gain confidence in you because you will meet his needs. The true success of a trick is not only shown by its perfect execution, but also by the training with your dog. Rigorous and progressive training and the small successes that punctuate it promote self-confidence and strengthen the bonds that unite you and your dog.
How do you teach your dog tricks?
Mutual trust, reliability, and clear orders are the cornerstones to succeed in teaching your dog tricks, even the most basic ones. But in order to really get the dog interested in our rules and tricks, it will take a little more. Although some breeds of dogs show a certain “will to please”, they are also basically a little selfish. Ultimately, these dogs know that adopting the expected behavior will bring them many benefits while adopting unwanted behavior will mean being ignored or even punished. In other breeds that are known to be stubborn, it is clear how they feel about whether or not carrying out an order brings them any benefit.
Rewards are the key to success
This “craving for recognition” can be used in training. Dogs choose the path that promises them the greatest success. If a treat awaits them at the end of a successful exercise, it will of course motivate them to play the game. Rewards, in the form of treats, pats, or a toy your dog wants, will therefore allow you and your companion to reach your goal more quickly and effectively than if you force him to do something or punish him if he doesn’t perform an exercise according to your expectations.
In order for dogs to understand which behavior is the right one and which one brings them the much-coveted recognition from their master, the reward must always be given immediately. Dogs live in the moment and always report their master’s reaction directly to the current situation. It is also important to always finish training with a sense of satisfaction. If you notice that an exercise overwhelms your dog, it is best to take a step back. Give your dog a command that he can execute without any problem and reward him for doing so. Only then can the training be completed. He’ll be happy to do it again next time.
Teaching your dog tricks: before you start…
For these 10 tricks to teach your dog, it is necessary to master basic commands such as “sit”, “down” or “let go”. Don’t start teaching your dog tricks until he has mastered these basic commands. Also, make sure that the time is right to start training together. If your dog is tired or hungry, he may not be very interested in your tricks. After eating, you should give your dog at least an hour’s break to digest. Once rested and satiated, he will certainly be happy to follow your training.
The 8 tricks to teach your dog
Gives the paw
“Paws” is a great classic and is also the basis for many other tours. But even though this trick is relatively easy to learn, you will need a little patience (and a few treats) until your dog reacts with both paws when you give the command.
How to do it: Give the command “sit” to your dog and kneel down next to him. With your hand flat, lift your dog’s paw from underneath and say the command “give paw” clearly. Repeat until your dog lifts his paw on his own when you command him to do so. Reward him immediately with a treat.
You can also hide a treat in your hand from the start and place it near your dog’s head. Your dog will try to access the treatment and will probably use his paw at some point. If your dog then places it on your hand with the treat in it, give him the reward he wants and say “give the paw” clearly again. Over time, your dog will have learned this exercise and will raise both of his paws once you have put your hand flat in front of him.
High-five or paw salute
The clap of the hand, known as a “high five” or “high five”, is for us a fairly casual event, and has long been known as an expression of collective success, and not only in the field of sport. No wonder this trick is also becoming more and more popular with dogs. If your dog already knows how to paw, you will teach him this movement relatively quickly.
How to do it: Extend your hand in a vertical position (not horizontal like when he gives you the paw) and say the command “give the paw” that he already knows. As soon as your dog lifts its paw and touches your hand in a vertical position, give it a reward. At first, he will probably be a little confused and not understand why you are already rewarding him when he hasn’t yet put his paw on your hand. But over time, he will get used to this new exercise. Once he has developed a certain routine, you can introduce the new “high five” order.
Later, you can try it with some distance. During the exercise, move further and further away from your dog, until he can no longer touch your hand when he lifts his paw. Reward your dog as soon as he lifts his paw. He will then learn that all he has to do is lift his paw. Finally, if you stand further away and raise your hand in an upright position, he will “salute” you with the paw back.
Do the beautiful
The “do the beautiful” exercise, where the dog sits up and lifts both front legs to stand up, is extremely popular. This requires your pet to shift its weight backwards. Depending on your dog’s ability, it may take some time until he finds his balance in this position and is able to do this without any problems. It is important that your dog always stands on his hindquarters during the exercise. If he stands on his paws, he won’t be able to play beauty.
How to proceed: As with the two previous exercises, “beauty pageant” begins with the “sitting” position. Lead your dog to a wall and give the command “sit”. Ideally, your dog should sit with his back to the wall at the beginning of the exercise to help him find his balance at the beginning and to prevent him from standing up too quickly, since he would have to move back a little to do so. Now show him a treat and direct it with your hand over his head. Caution: not too high, otherwise your dog might try to stand on its legs.
As soon as your dog stands up a little and lifts his legs slightly to get the treat, say the command “do the nice thing”. Reward him with the treat. If he stands up, say “sit” again and keep the treat for the moment-until he can stand up using only his front paws.
This exercise results from arrhythmia. The handler stands in front of his dog and alternately raises his left and right leg. In a synchronized way, the dog raises, in turn, his right and left leg. Thus, it looks as if the dog and his handler are walking together on the spot.
How to proceed: Again, your dog needs to master the command “give paw” before starting this exercise. Let your dog sit down and stand in front of him. If you now give the “paw” signal, raise your right leg instead of your hand. Many dogs that have already learned the “paw” command will instinctively lift their paw and move towards your leg.
However, if your dog is initially confused by raising his leg and does not obey your command, help him by placing your outstretched hand on your leg. Praise him when he lifts his leg almost at the same time as your leg and give him a small treat. Now do the same exercise again but with the other (left) leg. Your dog must now lift the other leg. Repeat this several times and make him take more and more steps before you give him a reward. This means that the treatment will only be given after he has lifted his leg two, four, six, and several times in a row, alternating with your leg.
The main goal of this exercise is to have your dog touch an object with his paw and make it fall. Once he has mastered this trick, you can even teach him to close doors with his paw.
How to do it: Place an attention-grabbing object (such as a plastic bottle or a stuffed animal) in the room and point it out to your dog. Now, wait and see what happens. If your dog approaches the object and touches it with his paw, praise him and give him a treat. Repeat the process, constantly pointing at the object and praise your dog as soon as he touches it with his paw again. The next day, you can expand the exercise by saying the command “touch”. Now say “touch” every time your dog touches the object. After a few days, this signal will become so ingrained in his mind that your dog will also react when you show him other objects in the house and say “touch”.
To teach your dog to close doors, show him a door and say “touch”. When your dog touches the door with his paw, reward him. To make sure he really closes the door, give the command “Touch! Close the door! “and only reward your dog when he touches the door so hard that it closes. Gradually, you can increase the distance from the door until you can simply point to it from the couch or table and say “Touch! Close the door! ».
For this trick, your dog must roll on his back until he is back in his starting position, i.e. “lying down”. As some dogs do not like to lie on their back, this exercise requires special skill and a little patience. And of course, you can give your dog a treat that he particularly likes but is not used to receiving as a reward.
How to proceed: Order your dog to lie down. Your dog is now lying down in front of you, his hindquarters and both elbows should touch the ground. Place the treat you’ve chosen for this exercise directly in front of his nose so that his nose touches the treat but he can’t eat it yet. Now slowly move your hand in the direction you want your dog to roll by moving it behind his head to get your pet to roll over on his back. Your dog will try to keep his nose on the treat and, at best, will turn around automatically. If your dog is reluctant to lie on his back, you can help him a little with your other hand and gently encourage him to get into the desired side position.
It can also be fun to watch your dog crawl on the floor, touching the ground with his belly and slowly moving forward. However, it may take a few training sessions before your dog masters this trick. After all, crawling is not natural for a dog.
How it’s done: Ask your dog to lie down and kneel down beside him. Gently put your hand on his back and hold a treat in front of his snout with your other hand and then slowly pull it away from him close to the ground. If your dog tries to get up to follow the treat you’re holding in your hand, gently push him back towards the floor. Then give the command “Crawl” or some other similar recognition signal.
As soon as he manages to crawl forward a little, even if only a little at first, praise him and give him the treat. Repeat this exercise until your dog crawls forward when commanded to do so. If he has mastered this movement after a few days, you can take your hand off his back and sit in front of your dog with a little distance between you. Place the treat close to the floor and say the correct command. As soon as he crawls, praise him. If he tries to get up, say “down” again. Give the treat to him/her once he/she crawls to you in that position.
Go around in circles
The goal of this exercise is for your dog to turn around itself standing on all four legs, to the left or to the right. This movement is also unusual for some dogs at first, but if the expected reward at the end is large, most dogs will quickly engage in the exercise.
How to do it: Stand in front of your dog and place a treat near his nose, as in the “roll” exercise. Now move your hand in a circular motion so that your dog also moves in circles to follow your hand. Say an appropriate command, such as “turn around,” “turn around,” or “turn around. Once your dog has turned around, reward him. Repeat this exercise until your dog is able to turn evenly with distance. To do this, move further and further away from your dog until you finally manage to make him turn by simply making a small circular motion with your hand and pronouncing the appropriate command.
Even more, tricks to teach your dog
Have you noticed? The 8 tricks to teach your dog above work on the same principle. There is a clear order, an explicit hand movement, and a reward at the end. It can be a treat as mentioned in this article, but it can also be a toy that your dog will be interested in and can therefore help you. Once you understand this pattern and have learned how to correctly identify your dog’s behavior, you can practice many more tricks with your dog, such as making your dog jump in your arms or playing dead when you say the command “pan”. With a little training, you can even teach your dog practical tricks such as “bring the slippers” or “bring the leash”.