How to Teach Your Dog New Tricks

October 13, 2009 by  
Filed under Pets and Animals

dogs_largeDespite your dog’s age, you can teach them to do tricks at any age. If you know anyone who has had a dog, they can tell you that dog’s love learning in the first place. Of course each dog has their own personality, but the desire to learn and gain attention is typically the same. With a little effort and patience, you can teach your dog all sorts of fun tricks. Even if the trick itself isn’t that complicated, their ability to learn, interact with people, and gain approval is heart warming.

Work With Your Dog

A classic and fairly easy trick is teaching your dog to spin in a circle. Get your dog to stand in front of you. Guide them in a circle with a treat in your hands and reward them once they have done a complete circle. This trick shouldn’t take your dog long at all to pick up. Once they understand, use the treats sparingly, but always use a hand signal and verbal command. You can say spin, turn, or whatever word you want. A fun little gesture is using the word spin for one direction and ‘snips’ for the other. ‘Snips’ is spins backwards! With repetition and practice, they will be able to do this on your hand signal alone.

Another trick is teaching your dog to bark on command. The easiest way to start is by incorporating the trick with something your dog already does naturally. For instance, if you know that your dog always barks in succession, then teach him a trick that involves barking a few times in a row. For example, Stan Antonuk tells his dog, “Spot, tell us a story.” In this case, your dog will learn how to bark a couple of times whenever he hears the key word ‘story’. You can teach them this type of trick gradually. When you know your dog is getting ready to bark at something, perhaps the door or a squirrel, try and get their attention while they’re barking. As soon as they bark after you say the word or phrase, praise them and give them a treat. Your dog will eventually begin to associate the ‘command’ word with barking and receiving a treat. Of course it won’t happen right away, but you have to be persistent. Repetition is the way that dogs learn the quickest. Before you know it, your pup will be telling stories or speaking on cue!

Practice Makes Perfect

Teaching your dog to roll over is one of the harder tricks. The easiest way to begin this trick is with your dog lying down. Also, try to use a delicious treat that your dog will be very anxious to devour. Start by sternly saying, “roll over” or “bang” or whatever your command word is, while moving the treat in front of the nose so that they have to roll over onto their back to get it. Once they’re on their back, give them the treat and rub their belly. This trick usually takes practice. Some dogs learn very quickly and others take longer.

Teaching your dog new tricks builds a special bond between you. It also gives your dog a chance to communicate and demonstrate his intelligence, which is something they love to do. Anything that involves getting attention from their beloved owner is a reward in itself to dogs. So stock up on some treats and get to teaching your furry friend some new tricks!

Easy Step By Step Instructions For Teaching Your Dog New Tricks
  • Use treats that your dog loves and will be eager to eat
  • Remember that repetition and practice are the only ways to ensure learning
  • Teach easy tricks like spinning around first
  • Incorporate tricks with something your dog already does naturally
Warnings, Advice, and Suggestions When Teaching Dogs Tricks

If your dog seems to hesitate or shows signs of anxiety during these tricks, don’t force them. Sometimes if a dog is older or unfit, certain movements and positions can be hard on their bodies. Also, be conscientious of how many treats you give your pup in one session, you wouldn’t want to make them sick.

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