Training dogs is a joy, and dog tricks can range from the simple to the complex. For many of us, the question is just how far can we go when teaching our dogs new tricks. If you’ve been looking for some ideas to take the training of your canine companion to the next level then read on and we’ll show you some great ways to bond with your dog and amaze an audience.
1. Hands Up!
A visually impressive trick and one which is sure to please the crowd, teaching your dog to put their hands up while sitting is rather easy.
Like all tricks, you simply need to guide your dog to the correct position after stating the command and reinforce it with a treat.
Pair it with a finger gun and you’ve got a crowd-pleaser. It’s definitely one of the easier tricks to teach your dog and most should be able to pick it up within a day or two. Think of it as taking things just a step beyond the usual “sit” and “stay” commands.
2. Shut the Door
You actually don’t need a genius dog like a German Shepherd to handle this trick. All your dog needs is enough bulk to push the door shut.
This is a useful trick as well as being impressive. It’s most often taught to service dogs as they seek to help their humans out. This one will take a little while to teach, so buckle down when you’re getting ready for it.
The first thing that you’ll need to do is place a treat on the door. Many people use something that will stick to make it easier. Encourage your dog to take the treat and then give them another one, reinforcing them with words or a clicker.
After that, you’ll want to get them used to just touching the door and withholding the treat until they get frustrated and paw at the door or poke it with their nose. Only give them the treat when the door is shut and you’re well on your way.
3. Fetching Items
One of the things which most people don’t understand about training dogs is that you can actually expand their vocabulary and use the same trick to get a dog to do multiple things if you’re careful with how you make the approach.
A personal favorite of many trainers is teaching dogs to fetch various items from around the house. This may be as simple as “get your toy” or as useful as “go get my keys.”
Associating an item with a word is easy enough: pass the item to your dog and have them hand it to you. When they do, say the name of the item and give them a treat for positive reinforcement. This is to build their vocabulary and get them to associate the item with the word.
Afterward, you can place the item away from you or throw it and ask your dog to get it. When they bring it to you give them some positive reinforcement and you’ll soon find they’re able to get many items from around the home.
How well your dog can be taught in this manner depends on their breed but even a relatively simple dog should be able to find a few items.
Even better: your dog may be able to find easily lost items like keys once they’ve learned this trick.
4. Picking Up Their Toys
Tired of your dog leaving their toys all over the room?
Teach them to pick them up!
The easiest way to teach your dog this trick is to have a designated box for your dog’s toys and some treats. Hand your dog a toy while their head is over the box so that when they drop it falls in the box. Then hand them a treat.
Repeat this until they associate the toys going in the box with the reward. Afterward, move the box gradually away and continue with the positive reinforcement until they begin to grab their toys and throw them in the box. Make sure to associate it with a verbal command.
Paired with the ability to recognize their toys individually this trick is sure to impress. Have your dog bring you individual toys and then put them back when you’re done playing.
This trick can also be used to have a dog put your laundry in the basket. Get some utility from your pup and have them help you keep a clean house!
5. Wipe Your Paws
Tired of muddy prints all over the floor? Teach your dog to wipe their paws!
It’s a little bit trickier to teach but most dogs will get it if you’re consistent. The first step involves having your dog stand on the mat or towel that you want them to wipe their feet on. Repeat the verbal command and reward them when they get on the wiping surface.
Afterward, you’ll want to withhold the treat and stand back. Get the dog to stay on the maty but reward any movement of their paws with the treat.
This one may seem simple but it may take time. Not all dogs will even be able to get it, but the majority will soon grasp the concept and you can have them wipe their paws before they dirty your floors.
Are You Getting It?
Teaching your dog tricks is one of the best parts of having a canine around. The truth is that many people don’t realize just how versatile their dog can be. Your skill as a trainer is much more important than your dog’s intelligence for the most part.
So, are you ready to start teaching your dog some amazing tricks? If so, start with these and keep going. You’ll be surprised at how great the bonding is and sooner or later your dog won’t just be impressive… it’ll also be pulling its own weight around the house.