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How to Teach Your Dog to do Tricks in 5 Easy Steps

Updated on May 15, 2017

Training a dog can be hard work, and training a puppy can prove to be even harder. With this 5 step guide, you can learn how to teach your dog in a fast and efficient way. Everyone wants a well behaved and obedient dog, however training schools can be expensive. If a dog can learn tricks they can learn obedience and manners from you as well.

Not only will these steps work for simple one word commands like sit or stay, but they work for teaching your dog complex multi-steps tricks like catching a frisbee or playing dead.

Before starting with these 5 steps remember to train your dog when they are in a calm state of mind and ready to focus on a certain task. Try to not train right after feeding or while your dog is in a high energy state of mind. Set realistic goals that will help set the pace for learning and keep you and your dog from getting frustrated and bored. Every dog is different and these steps will not work for every dog. It's up to you to discover what works best for you and your pup.

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Ready for training
Ready for training
Ready for training | Source

5 Easy Steps to Training:

  1. Be The Pack Leader: If you show yourself as the pack leader your dog is going to show you more respect and in return listen to what you tell them. A positive and firm pack leader gains respect and obedience from their dog. If you allow your dog to assume the roll of pack leader, you are ultimately setting yourself up for failure and a lifetime of disobedience and distructive behaviors.
  2. Patience and consistency: As a pack leader you need to show respect and patience to your dog. A short tempered pack leader will lose respect from their dog and the dog will be less likely to respond in the way you want. Keeping the training time consistent will help your dog understand what is expected of them at certain times. Rewards should also be given in a consistent manner. This also goes for the type of rewards. If you are going to use treats, stick to the same treat and vary that treat from treats you give for other reasons or just because.
  3. Short Sessions: Dogs have short attention spans and will get bored easily if training lasts too long. Keeping sessions 10 to 15 minutes long will keep your dogs attention on the task at hand. With the sessions being short you can create up to three mini training sessions daily. Although the sessions are short, make sure to keep the sessions fun and exciting to keep your dog engaged. Mini sessions are ideal, because repetition helps increase memorization, and makes learning go faster.
  4. Use Hand Motions: Dogs respond highly to hand motions and incorporating them into your training sessions will help in training your dog faster. For example when teaching your dog to sit, rather than just saying sit; use your hand to gentle help your dog sit as you say the word sit. As you get farther along in training you will even be able to forgo speaking and simple hand gesures or finger snaps will tell your dog what they need to do.
  5. Praise, praise, praise: Get excited and always praise your dog for doing what you wanted them to. For dogs that are food oriented rewarding with treats is a great way to get them to continue doing what you ask. After about a week or two your dog should be able to do the trick without the treats.

Easy to Train Dog Breeds:

All dogs are capable of learning and being taught obedience and tricks, however certain breeds tend to be easier to train. Working and hunting breeds are some of the easiest dogs to train due to their intelligence and high energy. This is not a complete list of easy to train dogs, but rather a scratch on the surface to some of the most popular dog breeds owned today, that in my opinion are the easiest to train.

  • Retrievers: Golden and Labradors are both sporting breeds and are very intelligent. They are easy to train, but tend to get bored easily and enjoy new challenges. Train these breeds with firmness, consistency, and rewards. These dogs also benefit from
  • Poodles: Non-sporting, however they have one of the highest intelligent levels of any breed of dog. With a personality of wanting to please their owners coupled with their high intelligence they are extremely easy to train. Train poodles with a firm confidence.
  • Shepherds and Collies: Australian and German Shepherds along with Border Collies are all herding dogs. These breeds tend to be stubborn so socialization and training should start when they are puppies for best results. These dogs are smart and responsive and need to be mentally stimulated to be happy. They react well to training and love learning new things. Train these breeds with firm confidence, consistency, and rewards.

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Golden Retriever and Lab mixPoodleGerman ShepherdBorder Collies
Golden Retriever and Lab mix
Golden Retriever and Lab mix | Source
Poodle | Source
German Shepherd
German Shepherd | Source
Border Collies
Border Collies | Source

The key to training any dog is patience and consistency. If you can prove to be a great pack leader training will come easy to both you and your dog. When first starting to train your dog stick with a common place so you and your dog know it's time to train. Later in the training you can move to parks and other places so your dog will perform their tricks where ever you go. Most dogs are eager to learn and please so training will be easy once you establish a consistent time for training sessions. A well trained dog is a happy dog.

© 2012 Cholee Clay


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    • Shesabutterfly profile image

      Cholee Clay 5 years ago from Wisconsin

      Thanks Robin. My puppy was housebroken within a day too:) But we had my fiance's dog to help train her. I love German Shepherds, they are smart yet can be stubborn. A unique set of personalities for sure.

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 5 years ago from San Francisco

      This is great information for the new dog owner. We have a German Shepherd that is incredibly smart but was hard to train. In a lot of areas she was easy, e.g., she was housebroken in one day, but she was incredibly willful. I think she was too smart and knew when she couldn't be controlled (off leash.) She was, however, always submissive to us and the kids that were around and incredibly sweet - thank God! She's older now and I can't imagine having another dog.

    • Shesabutterfly profile image

      Cholee Clay 5 years ago from Wisconsin

      I completely agree cardelean! Sometimes those kids can be a handful. Dogs aren't always the best behaved either. Thanks for stopping by and commenting:)

    • cardelean profile image

      cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan

      Great information. Reminds me a little of training kids! :)

    • Shesabutterfly profile image

      Cholee Clay 5 years ago from Wisconsin

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting Josh Tucker.

    • profile image

      Josh Tucker 5 years ago

      good solid information here worth remembering

      Josh Tucker

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    • Shesabutterfly profile image

      Cholee Clay 5 years ago from Wisconsin

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting Teresa Coppens. Hope your sons find it useful!

    • Teresa Coppens profile image

      Teresa Coppens 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Awesome hub. I will pass the info on to my sons who love to work with their dog.