All dogs love learning tricks. By teaching your dog fun tricks, you can impress your guests and also form a strong bond with your pet. Most dogs and puppies love learning easy dog tricks, and they feel proud when they make their humans happy.
Teaching easy dog tricks also keeps your pet from getting bored and is a fantastic way to entertain and stimulate your pet. We discuss how you can use simple operant conditioning to teach your dog any new trick.
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6 Easy Dog Tricks for Beginners
Dogs of all sizes can learn this easy dog trick.
- For a big dog, kneel in front of the dog (about 30-60 cm away) and raise your hand. For a smaller dog, you can sit cross-legged on the floor at its level.
- Say High Five in an enthusiastic tone.
- Some dogs are eager for contact and will immediately raise their paw. For others, you might have to touch their paw or lift it a bit.
- For this trick, it is important to only use praise instead of treats since dogs will go at the treat with their mouth. That can slow down the association they make with lifting their paws.
- As soon as your dog touches your flat, outstretched palm with its paw, enthusiastically praise it so it holds the pose.
2. Shake a Paw
This trick comes easily for most dogs. After all, they use pawing a great deal during play.
- Begin by asking your dog to ‘sit’.
- Most dogs have a side they prefer. You can find out which side this is in your dog by observing which leg it puts forward first when walking.
- Sit in front of your dog.
- Gently touch the muscle of your dog’s shoulder on the side of the paw you want it to lift.
- Most dogs will lift their paw slightly and automatically, as pawing is a natural reaction.
- Once your dog has lifted its paw, take it in your hand, raise it slightly and shake it up and down. Give the command “shake”.
- Do not cover your dog’s paw- that could make it nervous or feel threatened. Instead, use the underhand position.
- Praise enthusiastically and reward it.
- Later, you can teach this trick by standing in front of the dog instead of sitting.
3. Say Please
“Say Please” or ‘begging’ is a simple-yet-cool trick to teach small dogs. Do not teach this trick to long-backed dogs like Dachshunds, old dogs, or large breed dogs who cannot stand on their hind-quarters for long.
- This trick is easiest taught with a high-value treat.
- Start by asking your dog to sit in front of you.
- While it is still sitting, take a treat and hold it slightly above and behind its nose.
- Give the command “Please” as you do so.
- Your dog will tilt its head back to see the treat and raise itself on its hindquarters.
- It will also balance back on its hind legs while leaning backwards so its front paws leave the floor.
- Praise and treat it as soon as it balances on its hindquarters.
- In the beginning, do not ask your dog to hold the pose for more than a couple of seconds.
- Later, as your dog gets better at following this command, you may delay the treating so it holds the pose longer.
4. Pawprint Painting
Once your dog is familiar with High-Five, you can teach it pawprint painting.
- Follow the steps for high-five command.
- Once your dog raises its paw, remove your hand and place it on a drawing sheet attached to an easel.
- You could apply some food-grade paint to your dog’s paw.
- Praise and treat your pet once its paw-print appears on the easel.
5. Turn Off the Light
For this trick, it helps if your dog can reach the light switch. This command is easy to teach once your dog knows how to shake hands.
- Follow the steps for shake paws.
- Instead of shaking your hand, have your dog shake its paws at a light switch.
- Give the command ‘turn off the light!’.
- In the beginning, you might have to gently press on its paw so as to depress the switch.
- Treat and praise your dog for switching the light off.
6. Hide Your Eyes/Peekaboo
Your guests will love this one! This command is easy to teach once your dog knows how to shake hands. Instead of shaking your hand, it needs to paw its muzzle and avert its eyes.
- Follow the steps for ‘shake paws’.
- Instead of shaking your hand, have your dog place its paw on its muzzle. You might have to show your dog how to touch its muzzle and avert its eyes.
- If needed, dangle the treat under its jaw. This will cause your dog to look down while placing its paw on its muzzle.
- Say the command “hide your eyes”!
- Praise and treat your dog once it follows the command.
Easy Dog Tricks – Tips for Success
- The best place to teach your easy dog tricks is in your home, away from distractions, and where your pet is comfortable.
- The best time to teach a dog these easy dog tricks is just before feeding and when your dog is alert and not tired.
- Aim to teach your dog one trick in small sessions throughout the day. Once your pet is familiar with those tricks, you can proceed to teach it other tricks. And, while most dogs don’t forget what they have learned, you might still want to revise the older tricks it has learned and generalise them to new environments.
- Once your dog has mastered one of the easy dog tricks, you can praise it enthusiastically with a ‘good Boy/Good Girl’ or ‘Yes’ phrase. Also, you can stroke or pet. After you have said Good Boy/Girl, give your dog a treat.
- Always use low-calorie, healthy dog treats as you don’t want to stuff your dog with salty, high-fat treats. Store the treats in your pocket or a bum bag.
- End each session on a high. Where possible, finish the training session on a good note where your dog has shown good behaviour.
We hope this basic dog training guide helps you teach these simple, beginner, easy dog tricks to your pup!