We all know that a dog is man’s best friend. People often share a lot of fun experiences with their dogs, from long walks to snuggles, all the way to experience new things together. One of these things is tricks. Tricks are a great way to spend time with your puppy, and they can become a way for you to help your dog achieve better discipline.
Tricks for your dog
Your dog will usually take a couple of times to learn new tricks, but some can be easier than others. These few tricks will help you and your dog bond, and will definitely make for some cute dinner party moments. Plus, some of them can come in handy with the everyday behavioral training of your dog.
How do dogs learn tricks?
Mostly, dog owners utilize a method of training known as reinforcement to increase the behaviors they want to see more of. ‘Reinforcement’ generally means something that’ll act as a reward. This can be anything, depending on your dog, toys, praise, encouragement, but most commonly, treats are used instead.
In other situations, first the dog is trained to a view a ‘clicker’ as reinforcement, and once the connection is made between the reward and the clicker, then the clicker is used to guide the dog during training. The reward you choose to use should be something your dog loves, something that is available, and something you can carry in your hands (e.g. dry treats)
Remember, as a dog owner to never use punishment to teach your dog tricks. Being angry, loud, or scary will frighten your puppy or dog and will actually slow down their learning instead of helping it along. Instead, you should be very loving, patient, and encouraging.
What effects my dog’s ability to learn tricks?
A combination of different things can affect how your dog will learn tricks. The environment and your dog’s personality will interplay in this regard – some dogs just don’t care to learn new tricks. In this case, you should probably try out new tricks or move on to other activities. Other than that, you should consider:
- The dog’s age
- The dog’s breed
- How close you and the dog are
- Your patience
- The reward that you use
- Your dog’s level of stress
Tricks for your dog
A great and adorable starting trick for your dog to learn is to shake paws. As far as the level of difficulty goes, this trick will only take a few sessions to be learned, as it is generally easy.
- Get your dog to sit in front of you and show him or her a treat in your hand.
- Choose a command, such as ‘Shake’. Say the command.
- Cover the treat but wave it in front of them to keep them interested.
- As the dog tries to reach it, give it the treat when their paw touches your hand.
- Keep practicing and your dog will be responding to the command in no time!
This is an interesting trick to learn because it’ll actually be very helpful for you. Once you can teach your dog to control his or her barking, you can easily tell them to stop or start later. This may take some time, but you’ll get there eventually.
You start with teaching the dog ‘Quiet’, and then eventually move on towards ‘Speak’. The two can eventually be used together, but only once your dog is comfortable with both.
- Wait until your dog is barking or provide a situation where the dog will bark.
- When your dog stops the barking, provide them with a treat they like.
- You will need to repeat these for some weeks and slowly increase the time needed to ‘silent’ in order to receive the treat.
- Decide on a command, such as ‘Quiet’.
- Use the cue and hold up treats when your dog is barking.
- Repeat the trick for some time and be consistent.
- Search and choose a command, such as ‘Speak’.
- Use a happy and upbeat sound while saying the command.
- Also, give your dog encouragement and praise
- Use the cue and hold up treats when your dog is barking, once again.
- Repeat the command and keep practicing this trick.
Like the other techniques, this trick is a fun experience for you and your dog. However, to be able to start, your dog should already know to lie down on command. This, along with an effective reward, will help your dog learn this trick in a few tries.
- Give your dog the command to ‘Lie Down’, especially lie on his or her side.
- Keep reward treats on hand (you can use food, praise, or encouragement)
- Hold the treat in your fist, and bring it close to the dog so he or she can smell it.
- Say the command., e.g. ‘Roll Over’. As you say the command, move the treat over your dog’s head and bring it to the other side.
- Do speak to the dog in a clear yet happy voice.
- The dog will follow the treat, and his or her body will follow.
- When your dog makes the right movement, give him or her the treat, along with praise and encouragement.
- Practice for some days, helping the dog if the movement isn’t right.
- Once your dog gets used to the movement, stand up, give the command, and only give the treat when the dog rolls over.
Fetch can be a great way to play with your dog, especially when you go outside. It also helps your puppy exercise, run, play, and much more. Although running after objects that are thrown is an instinct of dogs, teaching them to bring the object back will take some time.
- Assess where your dog is, by nature. Some dogs tend to instinctively run after thrown objects, others just sit and look at it. In that case, follow the steps below.
- Place an object nearby and now encourage him or her to run after it. If they go towards the object, reward them.
- Repeat the process a couple of times, slowly increasing the distance.
- Call the dog towards you so he can bring the object back. This can be aided with another toy – if the dog sees the second one, he or she will want to come back towards you.Eventually, the dog will learn.
- You can also say ‘Bring it’ as a command to encourage this.
- Give your dog a reward when he or she brings the toy back.
- Practice and repeat until your dog does this trick well
The hug is an adorable little trick that you can teach your dog using these few steps:
- Give your dog the sit command and sit down with him or her.
- Lift up the dog’s paws and put them on your shoulders.
- As you do the action above, say the command ‘Hug’, or whatever other one-word commands you want to be using.
- Once the dog’s paws are on your shoulder, give him or her a reward.
- Repeat this behavior and keep on rewarding the dog when he or she repeats the behavior.
- You can also teach your dogs to hug each other.
Tricks are a great way to help your dog learn new things, develop discipline, and in cases like fetch can help the two of you bond even more.