Once your dog has mastered the basics like, ‘Sit’, ‘Stay’, and ‘Come’ many people want to show off their dog’s talents with a few tricks they picked up along the way. Some tricks are easier than others and simply require a little persistence. The more advanced the trick, the more commitment you must make to ensure it takes hold.
Just ask Joe at Holly Springs Fire Department. Cinder, The Fire Education Dog teaches kids to “Check the door” and “Stop, drop and roll” during fire safety workshops. Joe works with Cinder every day to perfect these and other tricks because they provide a service to the community.
For now, it’s best to work with what you have and gradually step it up from there. For this article, we will assume our dog knows the basics and you have a firm understanding of what it takes to train your dog correctly. So, have fun with these “5 Cool Tricks to Teach Your Dog.”
SHAKE or PAW
- Start with your dog in the ‘Sit’ position.
- Hold a treat in your hand and show him the treat (make sure you have plenty of treats ready at your side, maybe in one of those cool treat packs the pros use), then close your fist over the treat.
- Hold the treat, in your fist close to his foot, about 2 inches off the ground.
- If your dog stands up, ask him to sit again.
- If your dog lifts his paw even a little, or even shifts weight onto the other paw, tell him he is a good boy and give him the treat. (reward the right behavior)
- Usually, dogs will bat at your hand to get the treat, so as soon as this happens to open your hand to reveal the treat and tell him ‘good’ or ‘yes’, whatever your signal word is for them doing the right thing.
- At the same time your other hand should be held out flat to ‘shake’ when your dog lifts his paw, so you can grab his paw while he takes the treat.
- Reward him immediately when he does the correct thing, even if he only lifts his foot a little bit the first time.
- When he is reliably lifting his paw for a treat, add the word ‘shake’ or ‘Paw’.
- Over time, start to phase out the treats and reward him with love and affection. Practice every day and your dog will pick this one up in no time.
- Once your dog knows how to ‘Shake’ or give ‘Paw’ it’s pretty simple to keep moving forward and teach them to ‘High Five’. Start by holding a hand out flat when you do ‘shake’, but when he reaches forward to hold your hand upward and say, ‘High Five’.
- Reward when for the correct behaviors.
- Once he grasps giving you a low ‘High Five’ start elevating your hand upward. Each time says, ‘High Five’ and reward him when he demonstrates the correct motions.
- You can also make it cooler by using, ‘Gimme Five ‘as your signal phrase, just stay consistent. Soon, you and your dog will be ‘high fiving’ more than Jimmy Walker on “Good Times’
- Start in the ‘Down’ position.
- Kneel beside your dog and hold a small, yummy treat to the side of his head near his nose.
- Move your hand from the nose to his shoulder, luring him to roll on his side.
- Do this for a bit and praise him when he demonstrates the correct behavior.
- Add a second step: this time, keep your hand moving so that your dog has to roll over on to their other side. As soon as their body flips over, reward him.
- After some more practice, reinforce what they’ve learned by getting them to roll right over in one move. When they get it right, add the command, “roll over!” and praise, praise, praise!
- Keep practicing and he’ll be ‘Rollin with his homies’ soon enough.
- Start off by giving your dog the “down” command.
- Next, ‘Roll Over’, but instead of allowing a full roll, stop him halfway through, maybe give him a belly rub.
- As soon as your dog is lying on his side, praise him and give him a treat.
- Repeat step two and three several times.
- After your dog has been able to complete the action a few times, add a cue word and a hand signal like “bang” along with a hand signal command, holding the fingers to look like a gun pointing at the dog. This is the standard way, you could spice it up by pretending to cock a shotgun, commando style, and recoil when you shoot. Play around with it and have fun.
- Practice this trick several times a day for a few minutes each time.
Take a Bow
- Start with your dog standing up. It’s helpful if your dog is able to stand on command. If he hasn’t mastered this basic command yet, you may want to work on it before moving on to the second step.
- Hold a treat at the tip of your dog’s nose, and slowly move it down, holding it close to your dog’s body. Lure him down until his elbows hit the floor.
- Hold your dog in the bow for a few seconds, and then use the treat to lure him back into a standing position.
- As soon as your dog completes the bow and is standing up, praise and give him the treat.
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 several times.
- Once your dog seems to understand the action, you can add the cue word “bow” before going through steps 2 and 3 again.
- Practice and make sure he knows when he’s doing it correctly. Show him plenty of love and he’ll bow every time you enter the room like most people and dogs should do, right. (Just kidding, you only want him to bow when you give him the command. If he did it on his own, he would demonstrate a level of intelligence that may start to scare people, lol.)
Practice a new trick several times a day for no more than 5 minutes each time. Let him/her master each trick before moving on to the next. You don’t want to stress them out, they aren’t human children for Pete’s sake.
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