Halloween isn’t the only time to enjoy tricks and treats! While it’s true that teaching Rover a few tricks can be both fun and entertaining for you and your family, humans aren’t the only ones that benefit. Many people don’t realize it, but dog tricks can be extremely beneficial to your four legged friend as well. Dog tricks can be an excellent way to provide mental stimulation for your pet, and oftentimes teaching your furry friend to perform tricks can assist your dog in learning to complete basic obedience commands, and basically, “learn how to learn”.
Before you begin teaching your dog new tricks, it is important that he already knows how to do simple commands like sit, stay, and lie-down. These basic commands will be very helpful as you teach your dog more complicated tasks. Additionally, you might want to head over to your local store and pick up a few dog treats- you’re going to need them.
When you first begin teaching your dog to do tricks, you might want to start simple. Here are a few simple stunts to get you started.
While more dominant breeds may have a few issues with this trick since they rarely like to have their bellies exposed, most dogs tend to learn roll over fairly easily. Begin by giving your dog the “lie-down” command. Place a treat near his nose, and gradually move it toward his shoulder. Your dog will turn his head in order to follow the treat. Say “roll over”, and continue to move the treat slowly behind your dog to the point that he has to lay on his side. Now move the treat all the way around so that he has to roll over in order to follow it as you repeat the command. Once your dog rolls over, immediately give him the treat.
Once you’ve taught Fido to roll over, playing dead is simple. Give him the “lie-down” command, and place the treat near his nose. Say “bang” or whatever term you choose, and move the treat toward your dog’s shoulder so that he must lie on his side in order to follow it. Once he is on his side, offer him the treat. If you wish, you can continue the process until your dog is lying on his back.
Ironically, it’s essential that you teach your dog to be quiet before you teach him to speak. In order to do this, anytime your dog barks acknowledge the behavior, then clap your hands and say “quiet” or “hush”. Once the barking stops, repeat your command and offer a treat. Once he has the art of “quiet” mastered, you can begin teaching him to “speak” or bark by creating a situation that encourages him to bark. When he barks two or three time, say “speak” in an upbeat voice and offer him the treat. Follow up with the “quiet” command.
Teaching your furry friend to shake hands is not only simple, but it makes things interesting when you introduce him to new people as well. Begin by having your dog sit. Say “shake hands” and take his paw into your hand. After a few seconds, say good dog and offer the treat. If you want to make this trick a little bit more advanced, teach commands like “shake right” and “shake Left” and have him use the corresponding paw.
Take a Bow:
End a demonstration of your dog’s brilliance by teaching him to take a bow. Since this is actually a natural behavior for dogs, it is typically very easy to teach. Begin with your dog in standing position. Hold a treat in front of his nose, say “take a bow” and gradually move it downward until his nose reaches the floor. After a few seconds, raise the treat until he is standing again and offer the treat.