Dogs – regardless of breed and size – are intelligent creatures capable of learning new tricks. And as a dog lover, I enjoy teaching my dogs different tricks to bond with my pets as well as to foster acceptable behavior and stimulate their minds.
Contrary to popular notion, even older dogs can learn a new trick or two. Sure, puppies and younger dogs pick up commands and tricks at a much faster rate compared to older dogs but as long as you are patient, any dog can learn.
My advice is to commit yourself to teaching your pet and get them to practice the tricks! Dogs are very sensitive creatures and they love to please their masters. Once they see that you are enjoying yourself teaching them, they become motivated to learn the tricks on their own!
So, what cool tricks to teach your canine friends? Here are my favorites.
10 Fun Tricks To Teach Your Dog
1. Bark On Command Trick
This is one of the first tricks that I teach my dogs simply because I want to get their barking under control at a young age. The bark on command trick will require more patience, especially if you are dealing with an older dog but it is definitely worth the effort, believe me!
In the video, you’ll see how the professional trainer diligently worked with the dog to get it to bark on command. As you can see, the dog did not bark immediately even after seeing the cue. The key to getting them to bark on command is to wait for the dog to bark by itself first and then offering treats once it barks again.
2. Sit Pretty
It's one thing to teach your dog to sit, it's another to get your pooch to sit pretty. Unlike the usual sit command, sitting pretty requires the dog to sit high using its hind legs while its paws are hanging in the air parallel to their chest or tummy. Usually, this pose is used to take cute pictures of your pet.
I came across several video tutorials on this trick but this is the simplest one of all:
Sitting pretty requires focus, balance, and strong muscles so your dog has to be fit enough to give this trick a whirl!
3. Shake Hands Trick
Shake hands is probably the oldest trick in the book but admit it, there is nothing cuter than getting your pooch to shake your hand! Here is a neat video that gives you a step by step guide how to get your dog to shake hands with people.
This is one of my favorite tricks, especially when dealing with older dogs. All you need is a couple of treats and lots of patience! The key to mastering the shake hand trick is compelling your dog to paw at the treats on your palm. See? There’s nothing to it!
4. The Kiss Trick
When incessant face licking is not enough, teach your dog this simple trick: how to kiss! This is one trick that’s bound to incite a lot of “Awww…” from guests! The good news is, learning the kiss trick is so easy, even older dogs will pick this trick out within minutes.
This video will give you a step-by-step instruction on how to get your dog to give a kiss using a clicker. You'll also need a sticky treat, such as peanut butter or cream cheese, to get your pooch to cooperate. This works wonders if your pet tends to get over-excited.
5. Play Fetch
Fetch is one of the most popular dog tricks but this is an advanced trick that requires a lot of practice! Why? Fetching does not come naturally to a dog unless you are dealing with a Golden Retriever or a Labrador Retriever. You really have to put in a lot of effort to get the dogs to be interested fetching a toy.
Thankfully, I found a great tutorial that will show you how to teach your dog to fetch:
If your dog needs a lot of exercise, I would recommend this trick. Of course, you need a lot of room during practice so a park or a yard make a great training ground for this trick. You can use a ball, a Frisbee, or a stick for fetching. In my experience, I got great results from using my pet’s favorite ball or pull toy as fetching material so that’s one tip worth trying out.
6. Play Dead
If I have to choose one party trick that my dog love showing off, it's to play dead! This trick never fails to impress my friends. But, unlike the kiss trick or shake hands, playing dead will require focus and persistence to master. Now, there are many techniques you can use to get your dog to master this trick but I find that the backward method is the easiest of all approaches I have tried.
This tutorial will walk you through the process of the backward technique.
The most difficult part of the play dead trick is the last part, which is to get the dog to lean and stay still on the ground. My advice is to use the clicker so the pooch doesn't get confused.
Also, reinforce the trick by offering lots of treats so your dog won't lose interest in the middle of practice. Because this trick is reserved for advanced dogs, once you get your pooch to play dead, it will be much easier to get it to learn other complex tricks!
7. Spin Around
Though it looks complicated, spin around is a very easy dog trick that's sure to inject a little bit of fun on a lazy afternoon! The key to mastering this trick is the right approach. You want to start the practice with a little treat to get the pooch to spin. Gradually, you will shift to a verbal command.
Here's a short clip on this trick:
Now, getting the dog to spin around without treats (verbal commands only) might not be as easy if you are a beginner so I'd suggest coaxing your pooch with a lot of cooing and petting during practice!
8. Stand On Hind Legs
Yet another seemingly complicated trick that's very easy to master, the stand on hind leg trick is perfect for young and old dogs alike.
As with other dog tricks, you have to put in a lot of effort and concentration to get your dog to master this trick. Again, offering treats during training goes a long way in terms of speeding up your dog's learning abilities.
9. Roll Over
Just like fetch, roll over is another quintessential dog trick that's sure to win hearts and impress fellow dog owners.
As you can see from the video, it takes a while before the dog understands what it’s supposed to do. This trick requires a lot of repetitions to master so be patient. My advice is to practice this trick with your dog every chance you get to help your pet get better at rolling over.
Can you get your dog to hug you back? You bet! Although you can always give your pooch a hug, this trick will teach your dog to mirror the way human beings hug each other. Your pooch will put its paws around you to hug you back! Neat, right?
Here's a great video I found for this trick:
The hug trick might be complicated for beginners but as long as you are determined, your pet is bound to master this cool trick in no time at all.
Before teaching your dog any of these fun tricks, it is mighty important that you learn the pace at which your dog learns a new trick. Every dog learns a trick at a different pace so what might be an easy trick for a Lab to learn might not the same for a Chihuahua. You want to make every training session a fun one so your furry friend stays interested.
In terms of motivating your pet, I am an advocate of positive reinforcement. Although some trainers get great results from yelling or using restraints to get their dogs to learn different tricks, I prefer to shower my pooch with treats and praises for encouragement.
- In my experience, offering treats and lots of praises in training helped foster acceptable behavior.
- Plus, I treat every training session as bonding time with my pets so I want to make practice fun and exciting for them.
- Finally, make sure you have all the tools you need before you start teaching any of these tricks! You have to set a routine so your dog does not get confused. For instance, if you are using a clicker, do not switch to another training tool in the middle of practice. Consistency is everything!