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Dog Tricks - What Should I Teach My Dog?

Updated on June 6, 2014

Words of a First Time Dog Owner

Let me just say that growing up I didn't have dogs, I had cats. Two wonderful cats! When I got married and it was time to decide on getting a dog, I was a little hesistant at first. First off I knew nothing about dogs when it came to training and teaching it tricks. Honestly I had to watch several episodes of the Dog Whisperer and It's Me or The Dog to even learn how the canine brain works! We went online to and ended up adopting a wonderful poodle/bichon mix and named her Appy. Though she was around a year old, I had my work cut out for me because no one had trained her up to that point in her life. With several months of training her to the best of my knowledge and teaching her tricks (which she picked up very quickly), she has turned out to be a wonderful dog!

Now onto the TRICKS! Several people wonder, what tricks should I teach my dog first? What are some important, necessary ones and what are some FUN tricks to teach my dog? These were all questions that ran across my mind when first training Appy. To me, sit, lay down, leave It, and stay have been the most important ones in my experience so far.


Important Tricks To Teach Your Dog

Sit Fido Sit!

1) SIT- Sit seems to be the easiest command for a dog to learn. They LOVE treats and will sit (even if its for a few short seconds) to get rewarded. This command is best to teach because a dog/puppy naturally knows how to sit. So why not put a command with it? To help train your dog how to sit, simply hold the treat above their heads until they eventually sit. Do not give them the treat until they are sitting. When they sit say "SIT" then give your dog the treat. Rinse and repeat till your dog has it learned!

2) LAY DOWN- Dogs need breaks to! Teach your dog how to lay down which will allow them to just take a rest and show them its okay not to be up and running about all the time. Laying down is a great way to chill and they have fun, again, getting rewarded for it. I remember teaching my sister's 10 week old puppy how to lay down (from a sit position). He loved it! If you are wondering how to teach your pet to sit, simply take the treat and put it to their nose and follow it down the front of their body to the floor which will make the dog naturally back up and follow the treat to the floor. Not every dog will get it the first time. Takes practice. But eventually they will learn the lay down command!

3) STAY/WAIT - Great and important command to teach your dog. Don't want your dog running out the door without you? Teach it to stay! Need to run into another room for a moment and don't want your dog to follow you? Teach it to stay! This has been a wonderful command teaching my dog. Sometimes when I need to run downstairs to grab something, I tell Appy to stay and she sits at the top of the stairs waiting for me. No point in making her run down the stairs when all I'm going to be doing is coming back upstairs. Also, when you have guests come over and they ring the door bell and the door opens, don't want your pet running out the door down the street . Yes, his has happened to me and I blistered my feet from hot asphault on a hot summer morning. Needless to say, I TAUGHT APPY THE STAY COMMAND after that! Couldn't walk for 3 days in regular shoes.

4) LEAVE IT - Dogs are as curious just like cats. Sometimes dogs end up in something or want to eat something that you don't want them to. The leave it command is important because it trains your dog how to leave things alone, especially if they are very harmful, such as chocolate! I know there have been times Appy wanted to go after a bug and eat it but I told her to leave it because there have been times she would eat a fly then ended up throwing up later. The leave it command can be very beneficial to keep your dog safe and learn to stray from harmful things.

5) HEEL - When on a walk, the heel command is great to teach your dog so they learn how to stay beside you when on a walk. This teaches them that you are in control with a leash or without one. Having them stay by your side and in your sight, keeps your dog in a safe spot beside you. Plus its fun to have a walking/jogging buddy to keep you company!

6) COME/HERE - It is important for a dog to know its name as well as the command to come when called. If your dog strays away from you, using the "come" command will be very beneficial. Practice in a quiet area first then work your way up to a 'noisier' and busier environment. If your dog can come when called when there are distractions, KUDOS! A job well done! :-)


Fun Tricks To Teach Your Dog

Positive Reinforcement

1) Roll Over - First off it is important for your dog to know the "lay down" command first. Once they have the lay down command down pat, you can then start to push your dog over on its back then guide him to the other side saying "roll over" and then reward him/her. Appy only got halfway when I said roll over the first several months but eventually she started rolling all the way over and her face would light up! Dogs love rolling over because they love treats and they love the praise their owners give them! Can't help but love dog smiles!

2) Shake/Howdy/Give Me Paw - Cute and fun command to have your dog do when you want to say hello! Impress your guests with a dog who loves to shake their hand when given the command. They love it and the dog loves it! Pick up your dog's paw and shake it, say "Shake" then give it a treat. Rinse and repeat until your dog can lift its paw up to you for the shake!

3) Spin/Turn Around - Dogs are cute when they get hyped up and go in circles. Why not put a command with it? I say if your dog does something natural and you love it, then pick a command word and start applying it to the action. This makes it easy for you and your dog because rewarding him for something he naturally does can't get any easier! Just don't let your dog get too dizzy lol he might run into a wall or something!

4) High Five - We humans give each other high fives, why not with your dog? I have seen this with normally one paw , however in my case it started with one and became two paws. Whatever works! Hold your hand out and take the dogs paw and hit it with your hand. Say "High Five" then give it a treat. Eventually the dog will learn to smack your hand to give you a high five!

5) Play Dead/Bang Bang - Again, this is another trick where your dog should know the lay down command first. From a laying down position, lay your dog on it's side and apply the command you want with it (your choice!) whether its "Play Dead" or point your fingers at it "Bang Bang" to teach your dog the trick. When your dog picks up the trick, its fun for you and the dog!

6) Beg/Sit Pretty - For some breeds, the sitting on the hind legs can come naturally to them. Others, you will need to hold the treat above their head until they sit back onto their hind legs. Just be careful with this command though. Sometimes a dog's hips may be too feeble and can't hold it's own weight. Slippery floors can make this command hard sometimes because a dog's legs can slip out from underneath them. A floor with good traction is best for this trick.

7) Bye Bye - For me this trick was easy to teach Appy once she knew the "shake" command. After she knew how to bring her paw up half way, I lifted it up more where it was higher in the air, said " Say Bye Bye" (waving my left hand at her) then gave her a treat. This has now become a favorite of hers. Keep practicing, and your dog will know how to say "hello" or shake and also bye bye! Impress people with your dog's manners!


Hand Signals

Never hurts to apply these!

When first learning to train Appy, I was told to put hand signals with my commands. Hand signals are necessary to assure your dog will be obedient. If a dog is able to see you, but not hear you, a hand signal will help grab your dog's attention. This link provides the universal hand signals to put together with your verbal commands.

Dog Trick Poll! - Favorite Trick

What is your dog's FAVORITE trick/command to do?

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Let Me Know You Were Here! - What are your thoughts?

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Many thanks for your info