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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.
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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