6 Cool Tricks to Teach Your Dog
How did you get your dog to do that?! Tongues and tails will be wagging about your pup’s amazing abilities. Here are a few 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:
1. 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.
2. 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.
2B. Close the Fridge
Of course, if you’re teaching your dog to open the fridge, you want to follow it up by closing the door. No one wants to pay a high utility bill from a fridge that is sitting open for an extended time! To do this, place a brightly colored magnet or sticker near the bottom of the fridge door roughly at the height of your dog’s nose when standing. Begin by targeting the sticker or magnet, instructing your dog to touch it with his nose, and rewarding him for doing so. When he catches on to the location that he is supposed to be touching, start to introduce the idea of pushing it at that spot. Begin with rewarding a single step forward and slowly work up until he is fully closing the door.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
Benefits of Training for Dogs
Not only is this a fun way to show off your dog to your friends and family, but training also offers some important benefits for your pup’s health and well-being.
Do you have a dog that lacks confidence? Low confidence can make it difficult for your dog to feel comfortable in new surroundings or around new people. But you can help him improve! Training with positive reinforcement is a great way to show him that trying new things will lead to positive experiences like treats and praise. While the training process is focused on obedience or tricks, the concept will carry over to other new experiences.
Build a Stronger Bond
Bonding with your dog is important when it comes to establishing a happy, healthy relationship. When you are training, you are working together, establishing boundaries, and sharing the positive experience that comes with accomplishment. This bond will also help you to build trust, allowing your dog to feel comfortable relying on you regardless of the setting or situation.
An important factor to consider is the safety of your dog both at home and when you’re on the go. Even training tricks like those mentioned above will enforce the idea of obedience and healthy boundaries. This will carry over into your daily life. If you find yourself in a dangerous or emergency situation, your dog is more likely to listen to your commands allowing you to get him through the situation safely. It’s also a great way to prevent behavioral issues like resource guarding.
Burn Pent-Up Energy
If you have a dog that has an excess of pent-up energy, you may be dealing with unwanted behaviours around the house. This includes barking, chewing, and digging. One way you can provide your dog with a healthy outlet for this energy is through mental stimulation. Challenge your dog’s mind. There are many products that you can use to do this like food puzzles or puzzle toys, but another effective way is through training. As you’re working through these tricks, you are challenging your dog to think and consider his actions versus what you are asking him to do. After a good training session, you’ll notice that he’s ready to chill out and relax instead of engaging in these bad habits.
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.
More by Kate Barrington