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Dog Tricks - How to Teach Your Dog Tricks

Updated on September 28, 2010
Whitney05 profile image

Whitney has over 10 years of experience in dog training, rescuing and dog healthcare.

Teaching Tricks

Dogs and people both get an enjoyment from the cute little tricks that dogs do. I've seen small crowds of people, with ages ranging from young children to older adults, all watching an American pit bull get shot and play dead. I've seen people watch in amazement as dogs dance, walk, and crawl, on command. It's cute. We know it. The dog's love it! They get to exercise their brain while getting treats and praise. What's wrong with that?

Here are a few tricks that you could try out with your dog.

Put Away Your Toys

This trick will impress non-dog-owning people; a dog that picks up his toys is impressive when compared to a spouse of a child that cant find the laundry hamper. For this trick the dog must pick up one toy at a time and put it in his toy box or basket.

  • Hand you dog a toy and tell him to "take it;" when he has the toy in his mouth, click and treat him for holding it.
  • Put the toy box between your feet and encourage the dog to come to you; click and treat him for holding the toy over the toy box.
  • Repeat the previous step, but ask the dog to "drop it" as he hold the toy over the box.
  • Put the toy on the floor and tell him to "take it;" click and treat him for picking up the toy.
  • Repeat the previous step with more than one toy on the floor at a time.
  • Replace the ‘take it' and ‘drop it' cues with the new cue ‘toys away' by saying the new cue right before the old cue. Gradually fade out the old cue.

Sit Pretty

For this trick, the dog is sitting on his hind legs with his front paws tucked into his chest. This trick needs to be practiced as to build up back and hind-end muscles.

  • Use you hand as a target and click and treat him for touching your hand while raising his front end off the ground.
  • Withhold the click and treat by a few seconds to get the dog to hold the position high enough to have him sitting up on his back end, but not standing.
  • Add a cue like ‘sit pretty,' by saying it right before the ‘touch' cue.
  • The click and treat should happen as soon as the dog starts the behavior on the new cue.

Say You're Sorry

For this trick, the dog lies down with his chin on the ground between his front paws. Ass added bonus is to teach the dog to look up at you, adding to the convincing element to the behavior.

  • Put the dog in a ‘down' position, facing you; click and treat him for holding the position.
  • After about thirty seconds, withhold the click and wait. Pay close attention and click and treat any head motion down.
  • Once the dog starts to understand that lowing his head is what causes the click, withhold the click until the dog holds the position for an extra second.
  • Increase the number of seconds the dog has to keep his head down until you can build it up to fifteen to twenty seconds.
  • Label the behavior ‘sorry' by saying the command right before he offers the behavior.
  • Repeat this step until the command ‘sorry' triggers the behavior.

To help the dog understand that lowering his head is what is causing the click, deliver the treat low to encourage the dog to look down. This will give you more opportunities to reward him for offering the right behavior.


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    • profile image


      8 years ago

      my dog knows sit, beg, shake, down, roll over, speak, dance, balance food on her nose, spin, sniff out stuff, and learning tto play dead, these r begginers

    • profile image

      Joyce Holbrook 

      10 years ago

      We have two Standard Poodles in AKC - Good Canine Companion class and Therapy Dog Training class.

      We have been told that our dogs need to come to class with a new trick eack week so thank you for the site!!


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