Learning How To Train Your Dog To Do Tricks Can Be a Lot of Fun

Training a dog can be quite rewarding.  The more you put into it the more you get out of it.  Most dog owners will take the time to train their dogs the basic commands like sit, stay, come, heel and down.  Often they will leave it at that but some dog owners like to show off their dog’s intelligence and teach them various tricks.  Teaching your dog the basics is rewarding but learning how to train your dog to do tricks can be a lot of fun.  It definitely will bring the two of you closer.  You will have a great bond with your dog.

training your dog
training your dog

Type of Tricks

So what type of tricks do you want to try and teach your dog to do and can I teach my older dog to do tricks?

That old saying that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks is just not true.  Dogs can learn at any age and if you want to teach your older dog a few tricks as long as you have the patience to do it your dog can learn.

I have to confess that up until we got our last dog, other than shake a paw I never really taught a dog to do any tricks.

The dog we have now is from the shelter and she is quite smart.  I haven’t spent a lot of time teaching her tricks but she does know all the basics plus play dead and roll over.  Right now I am working on placing a cookie on her nose and then have her flip it up and catch it and outside I am trying to get her to catch a frisbee.  She loves catching a ball but for some reason she prefers to chase the frisbee.  She watches the frisbee and chases it but she waits for it to hit the ground and then she grabs it.  The ball on the other hand she will jump up and grab it in the air.

Ways To Train

Some people have various ways that they use to train their dogs to do tricks.  One common thread in all the training is the use of treats.  Another common thread is when the dog does the action that you are trying to train.  For example you are trying to teach your dog to bow so when your dog stretches after getting up or whenever say the word Bow and reward the dog.

Of course this method could take a long time so you will have to figure out another way to get your dog to bow so he will learn it faster.  I have never taught this trick but I think I would start with my dog’s favourite treats and when he is standing put it in front of his nose.  With the treat in your hand bring your hand slowly to the ground and meanwhile place your other hand underneath his belly to prevent him from lying down.  When his nose reaches the ground reward him.  That is the first step.

In the second step you will want to work on him stretching out once his nose is at ground level.  You can do this by just inching your hand away from his nose on the ground.  When you feel he is in the position you want for his bow say the command word and treat.

The reason for the two steps is that in the first step you basically are getting him to just put his nose down.  Since your dog probably knows the command down his tendency will be to just plop down.  That is why you need the second hand to keep his rear end in the air.  Once he masters that then you can use just the one hand for the second step.

how to train your dog to do tricks
how to train your dog to do tricks

Remember when training your dog to do anything, whether it be the basic commands that every dog should know, or some neat tricks that will impress your friends, always end on a good note.  Any type of training should be a great experience for your dog and you.

There are many other tricks that you can teach your dog.  Some of them will be easy and some of them may be quite difficult.  Remember to make it fun and do not do anything that would put your dog in danger.

So other than showing off your dog’s intelligence to your friends is there any other reason to teach your dog some tricks?

Benefits of Learning Tricks

Well as mentioned earlier it will definitely strengthen the bond between the two of you.  Dogs love to please their owners and this is just another way for them to do that.  A happy dog is a good dog.

The more you teach your dog the smarter they become.  Maybe it is your skill at teaching them but as you teach your dog more they do seem to pick it up faster.

There can also be health benefits to teaching your dog tricks.  Your dog will be more active thus having a positive effect on his health.

how to train your dog to do tricks
smart dog

Mentally your dog will also be smarter since teaching him/her tricks does require your dog to concentrate.

Many times an owner will train a dog to do a certain trick to overcome a bad behaviour.  The one behaviour that comes to mind for me is barking.  By teaching your dog to bark on command often times your dog’s barking problem can then be controlled.

So if you are wanting to really bond with your dog and keep him/her mentally and physically active teaching a few tricks may be something you should look into.

Remember “The single greatest cause of death in dogs under one year of age is not Parvo, it’s not Distemper, it is lack of obedience training and 93% of training and behaviour problems can be solved using a series of simple dog training techniques.”

Don’t forget to give your dog a hug today.

To learn more about dog training in general check out my Doggy Dan Review.

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    • Dawn
    • September 24, 2017

    Good information!

    Looks like you are off to a good start here. I would love to see a bigger variety of tricks discussed and maybe more background about how teaching tricks to dogs is not only fun but can be important (think Lassie rescues Timmy, etc.)

    Would enjoy learning about maybe some new tricks that are original; maybe never seen before.

    It would be super helpful to your readers to maybe embed a video to demonstrate the methods of dog training you are describing.

    Good luck~

      • Maureen
      • September 26, 2017

      Hi Dawn thanks for your comment.  As I said in the article i have never really taught any of my dogs tricks before up until now. Your advice sounds like the making of another article.

    • Robert
    • September 24, 2017

    Hey Brownie,

    Thanks for this article.Very well done and enjoyed it very much.

    Generally, I don’t do much tricks that are not functional although I must confess I like the treat on the nose trick. It is a real event for us both. Quite an opportunity to build off of.

    You trick in the article has captivated me and will put it to use forthwith. It will be fun as the progress grown to the finale.

    Thank you for the tip regarding the health of young dogs. I was unaware of that stat and thank you for making me aware of it.

    All the best. You are doing great work!

      • Maureen
      • September 26, 2017

      Hi Robert i am still working on the cookie nose trick without much luck.  Olive does like the cookies though.  The tip on the health of young dogs at the end of my article really is not about their health.  It is about people’s lack of properly training their dog that ends them up at a shelter.  If people would realize that dogs need to be socialized and trained and that they are not throw away items maybe we wouldn’t be euthanizing perfectly healthy dogs.

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