Dogs live to please their masters. There’s no better way to let them do that best than by teaching them some great tricks. So, without further ado, here are some of the coolest tricks to teach your canine companion. If you’re not a good teacher, your Buckhead Paws pet sitter can help!
1. Sit – It serves many purposes
2. Open and Close a Door
- Tie a rope or a toy to the door handle, and encourage the dog to tug the rope or toy.
- Once he tugs, praise and reward him with a treat (only when your dog has done it successfully).
- Once he can open a door, you can hold a treat in a way that encourage he to jump on the door to close it.
3. Play Hide & Seek
- Get your pooch to sit and stay.
- Slowly back away, making sure he stays put.
- Hide somewhere close and pretty obvious, and say COME! GIve a treat when he comes.
- Gradually hide in more difficult places, out of sight. It’s hard not to giggle when he’s running around the house looking for you. And it’s a delight when he’s so happy to find you!
Soccer requires only the use of one’s feet, so it’s a good choice for a doggone fun game. Dogs are naturals when it comes to playing soccer, which makes it all the more fun to teach. Choose a soccer ball a bit larger than your dog’s mouth so that they won’t attempt to swallow it. Using a larger ball will also prevent him from picking it up and running away with it (a foul in dog soccer). Also, choose an empty park or a garden so that your dog doesn’t chase other kids instead. And make sure you take a bag of treats along with you to reward her whenever she dribbles well.
- Get her acquainted with the soccer ball, by giving it to her and allowing her to smell it. If she begins to move the ball by herself, praise her immediately and give a treat. If she isn’t interested, you can begin by rolling the ball gently toward her while you encourage her how to play.
- Encourage your dog by praising her every time she touches the ball with her nose or paw. It might take several trips to the park to finally make her dribble the ball like a pro, in the end you will see that it is totally worth it. Her Buckhead Paws pet sitter can take her o the park anytime you can’t!
- Once she is comfortable with the concept, start kicking the ball farther away from you and encouraging her to dribble it back to you. End by rewarding her with a treat so that she’ll play with you next time.
5. Water Fetch
Water fetch is a great game when you’re on the beach or by the pool. But, before you teach your dog this, you will have to teach her how to swim, especially if your pet is not a Spaniel or a Labrador. You will also need to get a life jacket for your dog, just in case. To begin, get into the water, and then encourage your dog to do the same with a treat. Once your dog is comfortable staying afloat, you can use a ball or some other toy that floats to coax your dog to fetch it.
Many dogs just like the sound of their own voice, which is why they will sing every time you pick up an instrument and begin to play, or if her favorite song is playing on the radio. But, others will need a little bit of encouragement. WARNING: It might not be a good idea if you’re living in an apartment and have grumpy neighbors! (Some dogs prefer to practice when you’re not home).
Expose your dog to different genres of music to see which one tickles their fancy. Once you’ve found the one, stick to it and inspire your dog to sing along with you. Since you’re the leader of the pack, it’s important that you lead by example. So, you’ll have to practice your howling skills, too. Since dogs are direct descendants of wolves, they’ll easily find their howling abilities once you encourage them.
7. High-Five – Surprisingly easy!
Just make your dog sit, and encourage her by rewarding with a treat. Hold the treat in front of her, but a bit out of reach, while saying “high five.” Don’t forget to tap one of her feet while you do that. Most dogs will normally raise their paw toward the treat in your hand. When she does, catch her paw with your hand and give her a treat.
While all dogs can lick your face without you having to give them any command, teaching them how to give you a gentle kiss without covering you with saliva is usually a challenge.
- Place a treat in front of your face and give the command. Offer your cheek by extending it in front of your dog until she touches it with her nose. Then, before she has a chance to give you a lick, offer her a treat instead. You need to be fast for this one, since pulling away as soon as she touches your cheek with her nose will make her learn that all she has to do is press her nose against your cheek gently to get the treat.
- Remember, do not let your children show her this trick if your dog is known to get overly excited. This could cause her to nip your child by accident. Also be careful while teaching this trick to the larger breeds, since a small tap of the nose could sometimes turn into a painful head butt.
One of the best and more advanced tricks to teach a dog is definitely the handstand. Small breeds such as the Chihuahuas perform this trick spontaneously, since they have large heads and relatively small bodies. Teaching larger breeds how to find their balance will be quite a task but not impossible.
First and foremost, you will need to ensure the safety of your dog, and to do that you will need to help your dog develop the muscles which he will then use to perform the trick. You can start off by having him stand in front of a wall with his hind legs raised on a small block or a stack of books. He will be able to proceed to the next stage, if he can raise himself off the ground in order to get into position. Once your dog is able to place his back feet on the wall without any help, hold out a treat and encourage him to move forward, away from the wall. Place your hand on his belly to help him develop his balance.
10. Playing the Piano
Why not teach your pet dog to play your piano? You will need a standard-sized piano, and a dog, preferably a larger breed. Start by placing the piano in front of your pet and, once she shows a sign of interest, reward her with a treat. Now, give her a treat whenever she shows interest in the piano. Most dogs will usually start to press the keys with their paws once they find out that good things happen whenever they are close to the piano.
11. Saying a Prayer
So, you’re not religious—so what!
- Start by making your dog sit in front of you.
- Teach your dog how to give you her paw (use ideas from the High Five trick above). Once she does that, extend your arms so she can rest her paws on your forearm. Don’t forget to praise her as soon as she gets it right.
- Place a treat in front of her nose, and then lower it slowly underneath your arm, so that she does the same until her head is lowered underneath your arm and between her paws. If your dog tries to remove her paws, remove the treat, and start again until she gets it right.
12. Army Crawl
Such a great trick! While some begin to crawl without any training, others need a little encouragement. Start by giving a “lie down” command. Then, hold a treat between your fingers so that he’s able to smell it, but cannot take it from you. Now, slowly drag the treat along the floor, encouraging him to keep his head lowered. Have him crawl a longer distance each time until he’s ready for boot camp!
Start by commanding your dog to sit down. Now stick a small piece of tape right above your dog’s eye. Then as your dog raises its paw to attempt to remove the tape, give her a treat. With a little bit of patience you should be able to teach your dog how to salute without using the red tape, eventually.
14. Using the Loo
Remember that Jim Carrey movie where he commands his dog to put the seat down after using the loo? Well, that’s not that far-fetched a trick, but it will be one of the harder tricks to teach. To start, you’ll need to change the command you’re probably using right now to “go potty.” Once she’s able to associate relieving herself with the command, you can introduce a litter box in the bathroom. Take your dog’s paws and place it in the litter box while repeating the command. Eventually, your dog will learn how to use the litter box instead of going outside. When she is able to do that, you can then place the box into the toilet itself and encourage her to jump up on the toilet whenever she has to go the bathroom. Pretty soon, you will be able to remove the box altogether and have your dog use the toilet whenever she needs to do her business.
Skateboarding is extreme, no matter which way you take it. But, teaching smaller breeds such as pugs or bulldogs is a great idea. You can start by introducing her to the skateboard: Place the skateboard upside down so that she can inspect it. (Dogs are usually afraid of moving objects, let alone getting on one). Now, turn the skateboard over and roll it away from her. Take the skateboard outside and encourage her to touch the skateboard. Eventually, she will jump on it, but make sure that you are there to balance her at all times.
So, there you have it. All it takes is patience and few bags of treats. Ask your Buckhead Paws dog walker to help!
Mark Shaver has owned Buckhead Paws since 2012, and is an active member of Pet Sitters International. Previously, he was a senior executive with three multinational corporations.