Dog tricks are a fun way to spend quality time with our dogs and give them
physical and mental exercise. Tricks are even a competitive sport where your dog can earn titles via video submission from Do More With Your Dog and The American Kennel Club. To teach your dog these fun tricks, you don’t need any fancy props. You just need lots of small pieces of treats your dog is excited about! Each is on a different level, so your dog can learn one no matter her experience.
Easy: A Crawl
- Start with your dog in a lie down position. If your dog doesn’t know how to Down, put a treat in front of her nose, then move your hand with the treat down toward the ground and slightly back toward her feet, which will naturally bring her into the down position.
- Next, put a treat a few inches in front of your dog. Start slow — if you put the treat too far away, your dog will be more likely to get up instead of crawling.
- Show your dog the treat and encourage her to pull her body to the treat. When she does, give her lots of praise and let her have the treat.
- If your dog gets up, that’s OK. Don’t say anything, just pick up the treat before she can get it, ask her to Down and start again.
- Each repetition you can increase the distance you are asking your dog to crawl an additional couple inches.
- When your dog is constantly crawling to get the treat, add in a verbal cue
of your choice
- Slowly phase out placing a treat in front of your dog and ask her to “Crawl,” then immediately praise and treat when she crawls forward.
Intermediate: Leg Weaves
- Have treats in both of your hands.
- Show one treat to your dog and with the treat on her nose, lure your dog between your legs.
- Reach behind you and between your legs with your other hand that has the second treat.
- Get your dog’s attention with the treat in this second hand and lure your dog back around to the front.
- Repeat several times to get you and your dog comfortable with the movements.
- When your dog is getting the idea, introduce the verbal cue of your choice, like “Weave.”
- After a few repetitions, your dog will be familiar with the verbal cue and the behavior you are looking for, so you can begin to phase out the physical lure and instead point to the path between/around your legs.
Bonus Level. When your dog is an expert leg weaver with you standing still, very slowly begin walking forward.
Difficult: Put Your Toys Away
- With this useful trick you can ask your dog to help you with the daily chores of putting her own toys away!
- Start with your dog’s toy box that has an open top, a few toys that your dog really likes and some treats
- Encourage your dog to pick up a toy and then call her toward the toy box.
- If she drops the toy, just start again, encouraging her to pick up the toy.
- When your dog reaches the toy box ask her to “Drop” the toy. If she does, praise and treat.
- If your dog doesn’t know how to Drop yet or is reluctant to drop a favorite toy, take the treat and put it in front of your dog’s nose while over the toy box. When your dog drops the toy to get the treat, praise your dog and give her the treat.
- Encourage your dog to get another toy, call her toward the toy box and ask her to drop the toy into the box. When she does, give lots of praise and a treat. As your dog is bringing toys toward the toy box, begin to incorporate verbal cues like “Clean up” or “Toy box” as your dog moves toward the toy box. Go slow as your dog builds understanding of the trick. You can phase out the “Pick up” and “Drop” cues and just ask your dog to clean up.
Bonus Level. As your dog gets more experienced, send her to put her toys away without you needing to be next to the toy box.
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