6 Cool Tricks to Teach Your Dog
Anyone can teach their dog to sit and stay, but it takes a special degree of training to teach your dog something a little more out of the ordinary. With time and training, you can teach your dog to do amazing things like open the refrigerator, turn off the lights, or even put away his own toys.
Some dogs are more intelligent and trainable than others, but all dogs have the capacity to learn. Let’s go over some pretty cool tricks to teach your dog in just a few weeks:
- High Five: To teach your dog how to give a high five you need to start by telling him to sit. When he does, reward him with a treat. Next, hold another treat in front of your dog but just out of reach; then give him the “High Five” command. After you do, use your other hand to tap your dog’s paw. When he raises the paw to the treat, praise him and give him the treat.
- Open the Fridge: Start by tying up a smelly treat in a towel and then tie it to the handle of the fridge. Tell your dog “open” and wiggle the towel around – when your dog touches the towel with his nose, praise him and give him a treat. After a few repetitions, wait for your dog to put his mouth on the towel before rewarding him. Next, only reward him when he pulls the towel and then when he pulls it enough to open the door.
- Army Crawl: To teach your dog how to crawl, start off by telling him to lie down. Hold a treat in one hand close enough to your dog’s face that he can smell the treat, even lick it – but don’t give it to him yet. Slowly drag the treat across the floor away from your dog – when he crawls forward after it, praise and reward him. Repeat the sequence, moving the treat a little further each time before rewarding your dog.
- Turn Lights On/Off: Start by attracting your dog’s attention with a laser pointer. Use the laser pointer on the floor to play with your dog until he really starts to like it, then start moving it up the wall until your dog gets used to putting his paws on the wall. Give your dog a verbal command like “Lights” then direct his attention to the switch with the laser pointer – when he touches the switch with his nose, praise and reward him. Next, praise and reward him only when he turns off the switch then teach him to turn the switch back on before rewarding him.
- Dance in Circles: To teach your dog to dance, start by giving him the “Sit” command. When he is sitting, hold a treat above his head and give him the “Dance” command while moving the treat a little higher. When he stands on his hind legs, praise and reward him. After a few repetitions, get your dog to stand up and then move the treat slowly in a circle until he starts to spin around to follow the treat.
- Put Away Toys: First, you’ll need to have a dedicated container or box available where you keep his toys. To start, place a few treats in the container and keep a few in your hand along with his favorite toy. Call your dog to you and encourage him to take the toy from you then direct his attention to the container. When he notices the treats inside he will open his mouth to take them while dropping the toy – as he drops the toy, give him the command “Clean Up” then praise him excitedly. After your dog gets the hang of the sequence, stop putting treats in the container and only give them to your dog after he puts the toy away.
The key to success with any type of dog training is repetition and consistency. The more you repeat a training sequence, the more familiar with it your dog will become. And it’s important to keep your dog on his toes with tricks that’ll keep his mind sharp.
Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.
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