Puppy Training - How to Teach a Dog Tricks

Puppy training dog tricks: watch Ruby eagerly sit, lay and roll-over

Training your puppy to do dog tricks is rewarding for you and your puppy!

Knowing how to train a puppy to do dog tricks is a skill that any family member can easily learn. And training your puppy and having fun watching him succeed at dog tricks can be very rewarding for both you and your dog.

Our dog is a beagle, and it's often said that beagles are very stubborn. True. It is equally often said that beagles are food-motivated. True. You may have also heard that beagles love to please their owners. Again, true!

In our experience, whether we were training our puppy to potty outside or do dog tricks, we have found that food-motivation and a willingness to please definitely trump her stubborness. So, if we can succeed at training a beagle puppy to do dog tricks then you can succeed at training your puppy, no matter what the breed.

Ruby is now 16 months old and in that time she has learned these dog tricks: sit, lay, stay, roll over, crawl, twirl, give us five, paws up in the air, hug, push a ball, and sometimes come. We are still working to perfect that dog trick. She also knows to ring a strip a hanging bells on the door when she needs to go outside to take care of beagle business.

This is our dog Ruby. If we can learn how to train a puppy like Ruby, who has a bit of a stubborn beagle streak, then you can learn how to train your dog to do dog tricks too!
This is our dog Ruby. If we can learn how to train a puppy like Ruby, who has a bit of a stubborn beagle streak, then you can learn how to train your dog to do dog tricks too! | Source

Tips on How to Train a Puppy to do Dog Tricks

  • Dog Tricks Tip 1: Above all else be consistent when puppy training. If you want to train a dog to do ticks and follow commands successfully then you need to be consistent -- consistent in your words, your tone, your rewards and your praise. This will make the learning process so much smoother and quicker.

  • Dog Tricks Tip 2: Choose short commands. We all think our dogs are smart, and boy are they sometimes, but I'm pretty sure they have not mastered English or any other language for that matter. So choose one or two word commands. We use: sit, lay, stay, crawl, twirl, hug, roll over, push, hands up, give me five, and come, for example. Enough said.

  • Dog Tricks Tip 3: At first when training your puppy to do dog tricks, guide your dog's body with your hand as you say the command. For example, when you train your puppy to sit, say the word "sit" while you simultaneously gently push their bottom down with your hand. When teaching the sit command, it also helps to hold a treat above your puppy's eye level, so as your dog tips its head upward to look at the treat, your dog's bottom falls naturally into a sitting position.

  • Dog Tricks Tip 4: Use hand motions, as well as verbal commands. I'm not sure, but I think our dog Ruby may respond more to our non-verbal commands than verbal commands. Nonetheless, we do both. So when we want her to lay we say, "lay down" as we take our hand and move it from her eye level to the ground. When we want her to twirl (so cute) we say, "twirl" while moving our hand in a circular motion above her head. An added benefit of using non-verbal commands is that you have now a sign-language system in place if your dog ever loses its hearing. Be sure to watch the video of Ruby and see her being trained with both verbal and non-verbal commands.

  • Dog Tricks Tip 5: Give praise, praise, and more praise and a small treat for success (and near-successes at first). Remember, your puppy is above all else a people-pleaser (well, maybe that's second to tracking a scent for our beagle) and lavishes up your abundant praise. So for a job well done be sure to give your pup praise and a small treat. Notice the word small. Dogs, and especially beagles we have discovered, are definitely food-motivated, but Ruby will practically work for crumbs. We give her a bit more, but be are careful to not overdo the treats since beagles can easily become overweight. And treats don't have to be packaged treats. One of Ruby's favorite rewards is apple!

  • Dog Tricks Tip 6: Keep puppy training sessions short. This is for your sake, as well as for the sake of your dog. Nobody needs to get frustrated learning and little lessons go a long way. I never really thought Ruby was going to roll over. But every now and then when she was already laying I would try saying, "rollover" and gently push her body over, but she would not do it on her own. But all of the sudden one day, maybe after 5 sessions, she just did it on her own. She got tons of praise, a treat, and has been rolling over ever since - even when we don't ask!

Be sure to watch the dog tricks video of Ruby above, follow these puppy training tips, and you are sure to have a well-trained, happy dog!

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Comments 20 comments

fashion 5 years ago

Great article.Very useful for dog lovers.Well done

ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 5 years ago from Illinois Author

Thanks fashion. I appreciate the compliments.

habee profile image

habee 5 years ago from Georgia

Good tips for dog training. Ruby is a cutie - love those eyes! My grandfather used to raise beagles - great little dogs! Voted up.

ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 5 years ago from Illinois Author

Ruby does have great eyes - very light in color for a beagle, but then again she is not the typical tri-colored beagle. Beagles are great little dogs and so, so sweet and lovable. Your grandfather must have had a great time with all of his beagles. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

stephaniedas profile image

stephaniedas 5 years ago from Miami, US

Wow, she really is adorable. But I don't think she follows your lie down command very well; she actually throws herself down. It cracked me up! Voted up for content, and since there's no "cute" button, I clicked awesome.

ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 5 years ago from Illinois Author

I love her "lie down" although it's a bit more normal now. What's really funny is that after that she'll crawl, like an army crawl, for as long as you tell her. The kids in the neighborhood get a kick out of her.

homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas

You're right. I read in your profile that I would fall in love, and I did. I love the picture of her with the bandana!

ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 5 years ago from Illinois Author

Thanks homesteadbound. A lot of people kept calling her a "him" so we put a pink bandana on her every now and then just to drive the point home that she's a girl. Thanks for reading and commenting.

DonnaCosmato profile image

DonnaCosmato 5 years ago from USA

How utterly adorable she is! Love the bandana and the simple instructions...great hub.

ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 5 years ago from Illinois Author

Thank you Donna. We like to think she is adorable, especially when she is doing her dog tricks. Sometimes, though, the adorable-factor disappears when I find a shredded sock or other offense. Though her "I'm innocent of the crime" look, makes her adorable yet again.

GmaGoldie profile image

GmaGoldie 5 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin


Love dogs! Oh how much fun!

ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 5 years ago from Illinois Author

It is a lot of fun GmaGoldie - especially at the moment they first learn a new dog trick. The smartness of dogs never ceases to amaze me.

Kristin Halsted profile image

Kristin Halsted 5 years ago

Great hub! There's some great information here! Ruby is adorable and you have done an amazing job training her! Congrats! Voted up and awesome!

ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 5 years ago from Illinois Author

Thanks Kristin. It really has been sort of fun training her to do tricks and follow commands. She now has mastered "come" while learning with rewards, but when I need her to "come" for real her stubborn nature is very apparent.

Chasing Riley profile image

Chasing Riley 5 years ago from Los Angeles

Ruby is adorable. I love reading and writing dog hubs! These are good training tips. I especially like what you said about hand movements for non-verbal commands.

ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 5 years ago from Illinois Author

Thanks Chasing Riley. I had a neighbor who taught his dog commands with hand movements years ago and when the dog got older it lost its hearing, but still was able to follow his hand gestures.

danielleantosz profile image

danielleantosz 5 years ago from Florida

I have a beagle, too and they defiantly have a mind of their own! We have trouble with ours running out the door and darting off. In the house she is very well behaved, but given the chance to run she is off!

ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 5 years ago from Illinois Author

I worry about our beagle getting out too, danielleantosz. Even when I walk her on a leash she would pull us in front of a car if that is where she wanted to go. Beagles definitely have a mind of their own, but they are so smart.

alisa 5 years ago

ummm, im scared that i will mess up trying to teach my new puppy tricks. should i teach the easy ones first so she will get the idea?

ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 5 years ago from Illinois Author

alisa - Yes, start with the easier dog tricks first. We worked on sit first. If we gently pushed our puppy's bottom down and lifted a treat over her head she naturally went into a sit. Just keep it simple and only work on it for a few minutes at a time. Once your puppy gets one trick move on to ones that naturally progress. For example we taught "lay" after she knew "sit." It gets easier and easier to teach new puppy tricks as time goes on. Just the other day we taught our puppy (now over 1) to "play" a keyboard. It's really sort of funny.

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