Training a dog can be a fulfilling process, but is no easy task. Each and every trick requires time, patience and dedication. To give you a helping hand (or paw..?!), we’ve decided to put together a list of 5 easy dog tricks that you can teach your companion!
Dog trick checklist:
- High value treats i.e Cheese, sausage, chicken, carrot or liver cake
- No distractions – pick up toys, no other people or dogs to reduce distraction
- OR choose one favourite toy (if your dog is toy motivated) to use a reward and end the session
Teach your dog to “SIT”
This is one of the easiest and most important commands you will teach your dog, so doesn’t necessarily come under the term ‘tricks’, and can be applied to many real-life scenarios. You should always have a couple of treats for your dog, before you start.
The first step is to show your dog that you have a treat in your hand. Hold it in front of the nose of your dog and ask the dog to “SIT.” Speak clearly and with a loud voice, and raise your hand higher. Take the treat backward, over their head, towards the ears of your dog. When your dog’s bum hits the ground and it sits, praise and reward the dog.
Do this 2-3 times per day for about 5 to 10 minutes. In a week or two, depending on the breed, your dog should be able to sit on command, remember to always reward. Avoid bending or leaning over the dog when training this, if you are working with a small breed/puppy you could start on the floor and work your way up to standing.
Teach your dog to “DOWN”
You can naturally progress onto this when you have achieved a strong sit. Start by getting the attention of your four-legged pal. Then show them you have a treat in your hand by holding it in front of his nose. Tell the dog to go “DOWN.” Speak loudly and clearly. Slowly lower the treat to the ground, slowly enough that your dog is following the treat with his nose and once at ground level bring the treat forward to allow your dog to lay down.
Right after your dog lies down, praise and reward the dog. Give the dog a treat and make sure you have made a big fuss of him. Repeat this exercise 5 to 6 times. Do this 2 to 3 times per day for about a week and depending on the breed of your dog, it should start getting the hang of what you are trying to accomplish.*
*Troubleshooters: If your dog is struggling to understand what you are asking of him, get on the floor with the dog and arch your legs. Get a treat that your dog really likes and coax the dog to go under your legs, which will encourage the dog to go down into the down position. Once the dog has hit the down position, praise, and reward.
If you’re doing this with a puppy repeat only 2 more times, if you are working with an adult dog repeats 4 more times. Don’t overdo this exercise as a dog can get easily bored and lose interest, short and fun sessions are better for a dog to grasp commands. Always end on a good note with either a big fuss or a game with the dog, but do not introduce anything new at this stage.
Teach your dog to “STAY”
The stay command is a fundamental exercise that can be applied to numerous situations in real life, and one of the simplest tricks you can teach your dog. You don’t have to do this in a sit command but many people prefer to do it in this stance to start off, your dog should be on your left side.
The STAND STAY is most challenging, however, let’s start at the beginning with SIT. Ask your dog to sit without using the dog’s name as this could cause the dog to break the stance/exercise. Ideally, you should be doing this exercise on lead to start with, once your dog is in a sit, say clearly STAY or could say SIT STAY.
Take a step to the right and hold for 5 seconds, if the dog manages to hold for 5 seconds go back and reward and give a big fuss. Once your dog can do the 5 seconds easily, build this up to 10 seconds then 20 seconds till you can get to a solid few minutes. Once your dog is confident and successful with this, you can start to move further away from one more step at a time until you’re on the other side of the room.
Avoid overdoing this exercise, as this can become very boring for a dog, teaching the different stances stays ie down-stay, stand stay can give variation to the exercise. Some dogs pick this up quicker than other dogs and there is really no timeline for this but a training plan will help develop your stay command. This exercise can also set you and your dog up for learning recall.
Teach your dog to give you PAW
One of the more fun tricks for any dog owner and dog, to show off to other owners, this is also a beneficial exercise to learn if your dog is uncomfortable with his paws being touched.
Have treats at the ready and ask your dog to sit, with trick exercises you may find that most dogs do not do the trick straight away, so you may have to reward in stages. Do not grab your dog’s paw as one the dog won’t be doing the work and secondly, your dog may not like this. Hold a treat in your left hand and your other flat out, make sure your left is shut so the dog can smell the treat and know it’s there but can’t eat it.
Hold your right-hand flat, naturally, if dogs can’t get to something via their mouth they will use their paws to get to it, which is what will happen in this stage. When your dog puts your paw in the right hand, say the word PAW and reward instantly – this trick is fairly easy for a dog to pick up. Just repeat a few times over short sessions and your dog will understand what is asked of him.
Teach your dog to beg
To do this, your dog should already know how to sit. Give the dog the command to sit. Once the dog is in a sit, place a treat near the dog’s nose, where the dog should naturally start to raise their front end of the ground. slowly raise the treat higher and higher, until your pet is on its back legs sitting with its front paws upwards as if it is begging you for the treat, reinforce the word BEG at this point and praise.
This exercise takes a lot of balance, so taking it slow is key to achieving this trick. Again, try to avoid over training this exercise and keep the training sessions varied and fun. Some dog breeds physically won’t be able to complete this trick and may struggle to complete this trick, finding alternative tricks such as high 5 or give paw may be better in these cases.
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