Five Tricks to Teach Your Dog

There’s nothing cuter than a dog doing tricks.  While some dogs are easier to train than others (depending on breed and simple intelligence), here are a handful of tricks that you can teach your dog with a little patience but little effort.


Sit/Lay Down


Arguably the basis for any other trick you’ll ask your dog to learn, teaching your dog to sit and lay down is probably one of the easier tricks to teach as it is something they’ll do on their own without a command.  While there are numerous ways to teach your dog to do either, the two easier ways are to reward them when they perform the action you desire (saying “sit” or “lay down” as they do it on their own and rewarding them with a dog treat), or to use a dog treat as a focus point to maneuver them to the position you want.


To teach your dog to sit in this manner, simply hold a dog treat in your hand and very gently offer it to them while moving your hand towards them, applying pressure to their hindquarters, and saying “sit.”  With a little patience, and some treats, your dog should quickly learn to sit on command.  From there, to teach them to lie down, simply have them sit, and use a treat to lure them to the ground while saying “lay down.”  With these two commands learned, you have the basis for every other trick you’ll want to teach your dog.


Shake Hands


Courtesy is key to dogs as well as humans, and having a dog that can shake hands is a great way to present your dog as a refined dog, just like their owner.  Start by having your dog sit.  Say “shake” or “shake hands” (whichever command you prefer), and take hold of his paw with your hand.  While holding your dog’s paw, praise them both verbally and with a dog treat before releasing their paw.  Do this a few times a day and before long they will raise their paw at the command without you having to take their paw.


Roll Over


Start by giving your dog the “lay down” command.  Either standing over your dog or kneeling beside him, hold a dog treat by their nose and slowly move it around and behind him so that he follows it by rolling over, all while giving the command to “roll over.”  This trick may take some time as some dogs are less eager to expose their bellies than others, but keep at it and always practice on a soft surface to make it easier on their back.


Play Dead


Nearly every TV or cartoon dog plays dead and the consensus is that it’s adorable.  To teach your dog this trick, have them lie down on their belly, then gently roll them onto their back while giving the command to “Play Dead.”  Have them keep this position until you give the release command, something like “wake up!” and then give them a dog treat to reward them and encourage the behavior.  Much like the “roll over” command, this trick may take some time as some dogs are hesitant to expose their bellies.


Give Kisses


This trick is easy.  Every time your dog licks your face say “Give Me a Kiss.”  If your dog isn’t a licker, put a little peanut butter on your cheek and give the command as he licks it off and then again after he has done so.  This trick almost doesn’t require a treat since the peanut butter will be treat enough for most dogs.


Think Up Your Own


This is by no means a comprehensive list of tricks to teach your dog.  There are many other tricks, such as “high five,” “fetch,” and “stay” that you can teach your dog, not to mention something quirky that your dog may do on their own that you find adorable.  Remember to be patient and keep in mind that not all dogs are willing to learn all tricks.  Find ones that your dog is eager to perform and get those down before trying new ones that they are less willing to perform.


About the Author


Avrum Elmakis it the president of Best Bully Sticks, a leading provider of dog treats, bully sticks, other dog chews and treats.  They can be found online at: .


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