tricks-to-teach-your-dog

5 Easy and Helpful Tricks to Teach Your Dog

So you’re looking for some new tricks to teach your dog. You’re in the right place!

There are tricks that are cute but there are others that are incredibly useful in your day to day life. In this blog post, I want to tell you about 5 easy and helpful tricks that you can teach your dog.

These tricks are more than they seem. By this, I mean that they can be used for a variety of situations, including helping you manage your dog’s behavior.

Make sure you also read about the basics of teaching your dog any trick.

1. Watch Me

For me, this is the first and most important trick to teach your dog. It’s the best way to get his attention and it’s so easy to teach.

Getting your dog’s attention whenever you want is the first step to control your dog’s behavior. It will allow you to immediately divert your dog’s attention. You can use this whenever he starts pulling on the leash or beginning to show signs of aggression.

This trick is also the first step to dog training and teaching him all sorts of tricks. You can’t train a dog that doesn’t pay attention to you.

When performing this trick your dog should look up and keep eye contact with you whenever asked.

How to Teach It

  1. Grab your dog’s favorite treats and start in a room where there are no distractions.
  2. Let your dog see the treat and hold it out to the side. It’s normal that your dog follows the treat. Reward your dog by saying “yes” and giving him the treat as soon as he stops looking at it and makes eye contact with you.
  3. Practice this until your dog consistently makes eye contact with you every time.
  4. Now you’re ready to introduce the verbal cue “watch me”. Say it right before holding out the treat to the side. And, again, reward your dog as soon as he makes eye contact with you.
  5. Slowly begin increasing the amount of time that your dog is holding eye contact with you. Give the “watch me” command and count the seconds in your head. If your dog is able to keep eye contact with you, reward him immediately. Increase the elapsed time as your dog begins to do this consistently.
  6. As you practice, you’ll see that your dog will immediately look at you as you say “watch me”, even before you hold out the treat. When this happens, you can remove this signal.

If at any point, your dog is not able to keep eye contact with you as long as you want, it means that you’ve progressed too quickly. Go back to practicing shorter times and build back up again.

tricks-to-teach-your-dog-watch-me

2. Off

This is another incredibly useful trick to control your dog’s behavior. This trick focuses on stopping or preventing bad behaviors.

It’s also an essential command to establish boundaries with your dog. That way your dog knows what he can and can’t do around you.

In this trick, your dog should stop whatever he’s doing or back away from whatever he’s interested in.

It can also be used so your dog drops whatever he’s holding in his mouth or jumping down any piece of furniture.

How to Teach It

  1. Grab your dog’s favorite treats and start in a room where there are no distractions.
  2. Ask your dog to sit in front of you and hold a treat in front of his nose.
  3. Let your dog sniff the treat. Make sure he can’t grab it.
  4. Your dog may try to take the treat from you by pawing at it.
  5. Give the verbal cue by saying “Off”.
  6. Give him the treat and praise him as soon as you notice the slightest movement of him backing away from your hand.

3. Place

As an owner of an overly excited dog, this trick is one of my favorites.

Whenever your dog is so excited that the “watch me” command won’t do, this trick comes to the rescue.

When teaching your dog this trick, he should go to a place you choose, lay down and only leave when you call him. It’s like you’re sending him on a “time out”. 

You can choose any place you want. In my case, I found it easier to pick my dog’s bed.

It’s important that your dog knows to not get out of his place unless you call him. If he acts overly excited after you release him, send him back again until he’s calm.

How to Teach It

  1. Grab your dog’s favorite treats, put him on a leash, and stay near his bed.
  2. Say the verbal cue “place” or “bed” and immediately lure your dog to his bed and tell him to lie down. Use the leash to guide him to his bed if needed. Reward your dog when he’s laying down and keep rewarding as he says put.
  3. Choose a release command, like “ok” or “free” so that your dog knows when he can leave his bed. Give the release cue after a few seconds of him laying down and encourage your dog to get out of bed.
  4. Repeat the first 3 steps 3-4 times.
  5. Now stand near his bed but this time don’t lure him to bed. Wait to see if he does it on his own. If he does, reward him – a lot! If he doesn’t go on his own, go back to luring him a few more times.
  6. Progress by adding duration and distance from his place. Only increase one of these at a time and by small increments.

As with the “watch me” command, if your dog gets up before you tell him to, go back to a shorter time and build back up again.

4. Come

This one is especially important if you usually let your dog off-leash in a park and let him wander around – or you would like to do this.

Each time you’re telling your dog to come to you, don’t forget that you’re asking him to stop whatever he’s doing. And while in a park, he can be up to some pretty interesting stuff. 

This can be something very hard to do, so it’s very important that you keep practicing daily. It’s important that you start in a controlled environment and slowly progress to places with more and more distractions.

Make sure you don’t ruin all your work by unintentionally punishing your dog for obeying. I mean telling him to come to you so you can give him a bath, medicine or do anything else that your dog finds unpleasant.

How to Teach It

  1. Grab your dog’s favorite treats, put him on a leash, and start by practicing this indoors.
  2. Start with short distances. Make eye contact with your dog and say “come” with a cheerful voice. Don’t just say your dog’s name, it’s important that you add a verbal cue. You can also pat your legs or use any other sign to encourage your dog.
  3. Continue using the command until your dog comes all the way to you and, if needed, guide him with the leash.
  4. Reward him as soon as he gets to you.
  5. Keep repeating this process and, as your dog becomes consistent, start progressing. Progression can be by increasing the distance between you and your dog or introducing distractions. Make sure you take small steps and don’t progress too quickly.

tricks-to-teach-your-dog-come

5. Find it

This is a great trick to keep your dog distracted and active for a while. 

It’s a great tool to help nervous dogs to relax around new people or in unfamiliar places. It’s also a great way to help overly excited dogs channel their energy and calm themselves down.

“Find it” is a great mental game for dogs. It provides mental stimulation as it encourages your dog to search for something – a toy or a treat.

How to Teach It

  1. Grab your dog’s favorite treat or toy and let him smell it.
  2. Give the verbal cue “find it” and toss the toy or treat on the floor. Start small by tossing it in a flat and open area. 
  3. Reward your dog as soon as he finds the item. If needed, help your dog by drawing his attention to whatever it is you tossed.
  4. Repeat this process until your dog mastered these steps.
  5. Now you can progress to hiding the toy or treat in an obvious place – like under a towel – and say “find it”.
  6. Reward him as soon as he finds it.
  7. Keep repeating and progressing by placing the toy in different parts of the house and increasing the difficulty. Make sure you always let him smell it before you hide it.

Conclusion

We all love it when our dog is able to perform tricks. If they can be useful, the better!

These tricks are the perfect starting point for your dog. They are easy to teach and will make training your dog feel like a breeze.

Never forget that, with dog training, consistency and patience are key!

Don’t stress out if it seems that your dog regressed in learning a trick. Go back a couple of steps and build it back up.

Training your dog is a big part of owning a furry friend and it also helps in creating a strong bond with him.

 

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