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Tricks To Teach Your Dog
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Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Here are 33 commands and tricks to teach your new or old canine - and how to do them.

Submitted by PetFinderAdmin on 2010-11-10


Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Here are 33 commands and tricks to teach your new or old canine - and how to do them.

1. Name - Yes, every dog needs to be taught its name - click for more info!

Step 1: When your dog looks at you, click and treat.

Step 2: Repeat 2 to 4 times.

Step 3: Say his name as he looks at you.

Step 4: Repeat 5-7 times.

Step 5: Call him. If he looks at you, click and give him a Jackpot.
If he does not look, go back to step four.


2. Touch - Touch is a useful trick that will help with training many other tricks

Needed: A clicker and training stick (a 3/8” dowel with masking tape on the ends will do nicely).

Step 1: With your dog sitting in front of you hold the clicker in your left hand (or right if you are left handed) and the training stick in your right (or left if you are left handed.

Step 2: Very gently touch the dog’s nose with the taped end of the training stick and simultaneously click then treat.

Step 3: Repeat about five times per session.

Step 4: When the dog begins to lean forward in anticipation as he sees the training stick then let him touch the stick instead of you touching his nose. Say “touch” and click and treat when he touches the stick. Jackpot the first time he does this.

When he is proficient with this trick then you may begin to us the stick as a lure to shape other behavior. You can also use your left hand instead of a training stick.


3. Sit - Click For More Info!

Step 1: Wait until he sits down on his own. Click. Treat.

Step 2: Repeat several times.

Step 3: Say Sit as soon as he sits down. Click. Treat.

Step 4: Repeat several times.

Step 5: Say, “Sit!” See if he will sit. If he does, click and give him Jackpot.
If he doesn’t, go back to step four.


4. Down

Step 1: When he lays down, click and treat.

Step 2: Repeat several times.

Step 3: Say, “Down!” when he lies down. Click and treat.

Step 4: Repeat several times.

Step 5: See if he understands. Get him to stand up, then say, “Down!” If he lies down, click and give him Jackpot. If he does not, go back to step four.


5. Off

Step 1: If he gets up on his pen or on the sofa, wait until he gets down. Then click and treat.

Step 2: Wait until he does it again. Click and treat.

Step 3. After 5 or 6 tries, say, “Off!” while he is getting down. Click and Treat.

Step 4: Repeat several times.

Step 5: Try to see if he will get off when you tell him to. If he does, click and give him Jackpot.
If not, go back to step four.


6. Come

Step 1: Wait until he comes to you. Click and treat.

Step 2: While he is eating his treat, go to another part of the room.

Step 3: Click and treat when he comes to you.

Step 4: After a while, you can start saying come when he comes to you.

Step 5: Then see if it will work - say, “Come!” If he comes to you, give him a jackpot. If not, go back to step four.

Step 6: Get your family or friends to help you out. Have someone call him. If he comes to that person, click and treat. If he comes to someone else, be still and quiet until he finds the person who called him. This is a fun game for him and he will learn something also!


7. Drop (something that is in his mouth)

Step 1: While your dog is hold a ball or chew, hold a piece of chicken or liver close to his nose. When your dog drops the item. Click and treat.

Step 2: Repeat five times per session.

Step 3: When you dog is dropping the item regularly then associate the command “drop it” by saying “drop it” as the dog drops the toy or chew. Then click and treat. Repeat five times per session.

Step 4: Instead of tempting the dog with a treat just give the command “drop it.”  When your dog drops the item click and treat.


8. Leave It - Using a clicker to teach your dog to turn away from potentially harmful attractions.


It’s not just a trick it can save your dog’s life.

Needed: Dog biscuit, cubes of roast chicken, hot dog, liver and a clicker.

Step 1: With your dog on a leash let him smell the dog biscuit then drop it two or three feet in front of him.

Step 2: Call him by name and say “leave it” as he starts for the treat and restrain him with the leash.

Step 3: When your dog looks at you click and treat with the chicken cube. Praise him as he gives up the dog biscuit for the chicken cube treat.

Step 4: Repeat steps one to three five times the first session.

Step 5: In your next session teaching “leave it” repeat steps 1-4 but use part of a hot dog as the bait and liver as the reward.

Step 6: In subsequent sessions teach “leave it” as above but off leash in a fenced yard.

Step 7: Regularly call your dog away from things that he likes – other dogs, treats etc., and then let him go back after you have praised him.


9. Leap - Jump over a stick

Step 1: Have your dog sit.

Step 2: Place a stick (like a dowel or broom handle) on the floor in front of him.

Step 3: Call your dog. Click and treat when he walks over the stick.

Step 4: Repeat.

Step 5: Now get a couple of books and prop the target stick up on one side. Click/treat when he walks/jumps over it.

Step 6: Repeat. saying, “leap!” as he jumps

Step 7: Do the same with the other side. Repeat.

You can get higher with your jumps, but only go as high as is appropriate for your dog’s breed and age. To avoid hip trouble later on use moderation when teaching this trick.


10. Jumping Through A Hoop

Step 1: Let your dog get used to being around the hoop. Put it on the ground and click treat when he approaches it.

Step 2: Have a helper hold the hoop (do not elevate the hoop) on the floor in front of him.

Step 3: Call your dog. Or lure him through the hoop. Click and treat when he walks through the hoop.

Step 4: Repeat.

Step 5: Hold the hoop higher and click treat when he jumps through the hoop.

Step 6: Repeat. saying, “leap!” as he jumps.

Note: Only hold the hoop as high as is appropriate for your dog’s breed and age. Consult you vet or dog trainer.


11. Jumping People (Nice Backyard Circus Trick)

Step 1: If your dog can comfortably jump over a stick elevated about 25 inches from the ground then you can begin to teach him to jump over people who are on their hands and knees in the crawl position.

Step 2: Have your dog jump over the stick. Click treat. (repeat a few times)

Step 3: Have a helper kneel on their hands and knees.

Step 4: Hold the stick just over them. Have your dog jump over the stick. Click and Jackpot. (If you dog won’t jump over the stick with the person under it, try having the person lie down on the ground)

Step 5: After a few repetitions have you dog jump with out using the stick. Click and treat.


Step 6: Try adding people spaced about 10 feet apart for a nice show at your next barbeque.



12. Learn names of everything (Bob, Squeak, chew, whatever!)

Step 1: Have your dog touch your hand and click treat.

Step 2: Hold the object in you hand and say touch. Click treat when he touches the object not when he touches your hand.

Step 3: Call the object by its name (tug, squeaky, bunny, etc) just as he touches it. Click and treat.

Step 4: Repeat 5 times.

Step 5: Hold the object and say its name and click and treat when he touches it.

Step 6: For teaching the names of people (Bob, Joe, Dad, Mom . . .) and places (Bed, corner . . .) use the training stick to introduce the person or place (See go to place).


13. Go to a place (go inside his kennel, etc)

Step 1: Have your dog touch the training stick and click treat.

Step 2: Use the training stick to point to the place and click treat when he is on that spot..

Step 3: Call the place by its name (bed, corner) just as he steps into it. Click and treat.

Step 4: Repeat 5 times.

Step 5: Say the name of the place. Click and treat when he goes to the place.


14. Park (Eliminate on command)

 (Teaching this is better than spending hours outside on a rainy day)

Step 1: Have a designated spot outside for your pet to eliminate to make clean up easier.

Step 2: Click just as he finishes and praise him and treat when he comes to you.

Step 3: Introduce a command such as “park” when he eliminates.

Step 4: Be consistent but vary the reward.


15. Bell (Have a jingle bell on your door for him to ring when he needs to go outside.


Step 1: Use a training stick to target the bell.

Step 2: When he touches the bell click and treat.

Step 3: When he touches the bell on his own click and jackpot.

Step 4: Whenever you take him outside, have him touch the bell first. The reward is to open the door.

Step 5: Your canine will, in a few days, learn that the door opens when he rings the bell.

Moderate this trick: reward him by opening the door only when it is reasonable that he needs to go outside to eliminate, but don’t open the door if he just wants to play.


16. Spin (Turn around and around and around and around and…)

The First Way:

Step 1: Catch your puppy in the act of chasing his tail (every dog and puppy does this - unless he doesn’t have a tail.) Click and treat.

Step 2: Say, “Spin!” when he chases it. Click and treat again.

Step 3: Repeat until he can do it on command.

Step 4: Take a break - after a couple of hours, try it again.

The Second Way:

Note: It is very easy for you to do it this way if your dog knows “Touch” before teaching him this trick.

Step 1: With your “Touch Stick,” say, “Touch!” and move the stick around into a circle so that your dog spins. Click. Treat.

Step 2: Repeat.

Step 3: Take a break. Let your dog get something to drink - take him outside, or let him take a nap.

Step 4: When both you and your dog are refreshed, Repeat steps 1 and 2.

Step 5: See if he will do it on command. If so, click and give him the Jackpot.


17. High Five, Paw Shake Hands

Step 1: Have your dog sit in front of you.

Step 2: When he lifts his paw (You can encourage him to lift his paw by tickling the hollow behind his paw). Click and treat.

Step 3: Repeat five times.

Step 4: Wait for him to offer lifting his paw (however slight). Click and treat.

Step 5: Say the word “paw” each time he lifts his paw. Click and treat.

Step 5: Say the word “paw” click and treat when he lifts his paw.

Step 5: Modify the trick by rewarding only higher lifts.


18. Shake (Are you cold, Puppy?)

Step 1: Catch this trick with the clicker. Click and treat after you give him a bath or after you go outside in the rain when he shakes the water off.

Step 2: If he offers the behavior again click and jackpot.

Step 3: Click and treat and give the command “shake” whenever he shakes.

Step 4: Give the command -- when he shakes jackpot.


19. Kisses! (Is it love? Or is it…)

Step 1: When he licks you, click and treat.

Step 2: Sometimes he will more likely lick you if you are pretty close to him.

Step 3: Say, “Kisses!” or “Give Kisses!” when he licks you. Click and treat.

Step 4: Repeat.

Step 5: He may know how to kiss now. Give the command and see if he will do it.


20. Roll Over - Your dog rolls his body completely over

Note: This trick requires a touch stick - see Trick #2

Step 1: Have the dog lay down. (as in trick 3 above).

Step 2: Lure him with the training stick or with or hand or treat to have him move over to have him move over to one hip and on his side. Click and treat.

Step 3: Use the lure to get him to go over on his back. (this may take awhile for some dogs). Click and treat.

Step 4: Continue using the lure to get him to roll all the way over. Jackpot when he does this. (Some people have used gently sloping ground to make it easier for the dog to roll all the way over.)

Step 5: When your dog is rolling over easily. Stop using the lure. Expect more before you click and treat. But praise and Jackpot when he performs well.

Step 6: After he is rolling over smoothly start giving him the verbal command “roll over.” A circular hand signal is also helpful. Always praise and intermittently click and treat when he performs well.


21. Sit Pretty (Beg) - The Dog Sits with its hindquarters on the floor, and his front paws up as if begging

Sometimes this is an easy trick to teach, because some dogs offer it naturally.

Get down on your dogs level with your dog sitting in front of you.

Let your dog smell a treat and then slowly lift it up above him.

When his lifts his paws off the ground click and treat.

Each time his hindquarters are on the floor and his paws are up say “sit pretty” and click treat.

Repeat four or five times each training session

Tips: You can help support the dog at first by supporting his front paws so that he can gain strength. Only expect him to hold the position for a second or two at first and gradually build up endurance so that he can stay in position for several seconds. This trick helps build strength in your dog’s hindquarters.


22. Speak - bark on command


This trick can be “caught” with the clicker. When your dog barks say “speak” and click and treat.

Instead of waiting all day for you dog to bark it may be more efficient to try to get him to bark. For example if you know that he barks when the doorbell is rung then when he barks say “speak” and click and treat. Or sometimes a dog will bark if you tempt him with a treat and then stand and wait. As he grows frustrated if he barks say “speak” and click and treat.

Say “speak” when your dog barks click and treat.

Repeat four or five times.


23. Teaching Hush - Your Dog Stops Barking

This trick may be more valuable than “Speak,” but “speak” is necessary to teach this trick.

While your dog is barking call his name sharply if he stops barking even for a second say “hush” and click and treat.

Give the command to speak. Give the command “hush.” Click and treat with any pause in barking.

Gradually increase the wait after giving the hush command.

Tips:. You might also use subtle hand signals or gestures to condition both speaking and hushing. When your dog will speak and hush with hand signals then that can be used for many other tricks.


24. Teaching Tug (to pull on a rope or cloth) with the “Take it” and “Give” commands

This is a series of commands that you use to play tug with your dog. Most dogs love to play “tug” and it is a useful trick to teach. It can be used to teach retrieve. It can also be used as a reward instead of a food treat.

“Take it”

Step 1: With your dog standing in front of you kneel to get on your dogs level.

Step 2: Take a rope toy and offer it to the dog and say “take it”. (Reward your dog with praise when he moves toward the rope toy.) When your dog takes it gently shake and tug the rope toy to get the dog to hold and pull against the tugs.

“Give”

Step 1: With your dog pulling firmly on he rope, say “give” at the same time offering a treat. When he drops the rope toy. Click and treat.

Step 2: Reinforce this trick by repeating four or five times per session. Pay special attention to the “Give” command. This is important for your safety. Make sure that your dog will stop the game with the “give” command.

Play tug several times a day. Each time you play the game make sure you use the commands saying “take it” when you your dog takes the rope and “give” when you want him to release the rope.

Tips: Use a special toy to teach this trick and have it only while learning the trick and playing tug. Use the “take it” command to have the dog take an object from your hand and hold it or to pick up an object that you point to and hold it in his mouth.


25. Teaching Bring It - Your Dog holds and object in his mouth and follows you

After you have taught your dog the tug game and the “take it” and “give” commands you can teach “bring it.”

Step 1: Have your dog take a ball or toy using the “take it” command.

Step 2: Say “bring it” and start to walk away. If the dog follows a few steps holding the toy then click and treat. If he drops the toy then you have to start over. If he just stands there with the toy in his mouth you might say “bring it” and then add “let’s go.”

Step 3: Jackpot when he follows ten steps holding the toy then stop take the toy and say “give.” Jackpot when he releases the toy.


26. Teaching Retrieve, Fetch (Retrieve a ball or item thrown and bring it back)

If your dog has mastered the “tug” game and the “bring it” command then teaching him to retrieve will be easy.

Step 1: Start by playing tug. Say “take it” when you your dog takes the rope and “give” when you want him to release the rope.

Step 2: Have your dog “give” the rope and toss it a few feet away and say “take it.” Click treat when he picks up the rope.

Step 3: Repeat step two but when you dog takes the rope say “bring it” when he brings you the rope. Say “give” and click and treat.

Step 4: Practice retrieving with different objects and at greater distances. Be generous with praise and click and treat when he performs well.


27. “Back” - Train your dog to walk backwards

Tip: A narrow hallway or a place where movement is restricted could help in teaching this trick.

Step 1: With your dog standing facing you walk forward toward him when he takes a step backward click and treat.

Step 2: Continue stepping forward when he takes steps backward click and treat.

Step 3: As you step forward toward him he begins to step backward you say “back” and click and treat.

Step 4: Repeat step 3 four or five times per session

Step 5: Say “back” when you dog takes steps backward then click and treat.

Step 6: Repeat step 5 four or five times per session.


28. “Yawn” - your dog yawns on command

This trick like “speak” is better caught with the clicker.

Step 1: Most dogs will yawn when they are anxious. You can use that to help you catch the yawn. Look for you dog to yawn when he wants to go outside or wants a ball or toy that you are holding. When he yawns click and treat.

Step 2: When he offers a yawn because he has been treated for it then say “sleepy?” and click and treat.

Step 3: Repeat step 4 four or five times per session.

Tip – This trick presents better if you use a cute command like “sleepy” or “bed time.”


29. Stay - Stay put

Step 1: Have your dog sit. Click and treat

Step 2: Say “wait” or “stay” wait six or seven seconds. Say “release” and click and treat.

Step 3: Say “sit” “stay” and wait about ten seconds. Say “release” and click and treat.

Step 4: Repeat four or five times per session.

Step 5: Practice this trick in multiple sessions every day, gradually building up to several minutes before releasing.


30. Teaching “Let’s go” (“heel” – walk by your left side)

Using a clicker to get a well-heeled dog.

Step 1: Begin by having your dog on a leash looped to your belt on your left side. That way you don’t have to use your hands to hold the leash.

Step 2: Should your dog pull on the leash – NEVER GO IN THE DIRECTION THAT YOUR DOG IS PULLING.

Step 3: When your dog is close to you with his shoulder by your left leg then click and treat. (If you are walking you will have to stop to treat, that’s ok, using the clicker in this way greatly speeds up the time it takes for your dog to learn this important skill).

Step 4: When your dog starts walking regularly by your left side, then begin using the commands “lets go” and “with me” so that the dog will associate those commands with that position by your side.

Step 5: Click and treat every ten steps that your dog completes by your left side.

Step 6: Work in 10 to 15 minute sessions about four times each day until the skill is mastered.

Step 7: When your dog is faithfully responding to the “lets go” and “with me” commands by walking by your side, then begin off leash training.

Note: Teach off leash tricks in a fenced in yard or enclosed area so that you don’t lose your dog.


31. Retrieve a named object


Step 1: Teach “Learn the Names of Everything” trick 12.

Step 2: Teach “retrieve” Trick 26.

Step 3. Say the name of the object (bunny), when he starts to touch the bunny say “take it” (see trick 24). Click and treat.

Step 4: Repeat several times.

Step 5: Give the command “get” bunny (or the name of the object). Click and treat when he takes it. Click and treat

Step 6: Repeat several times.

Step 7: Give the command “get” bunny. When he gets the object, say “bring it.” Click and jackpot when he retrieves.


32. Search or Find it

Step 1: Have your dog sit.

Step 2: Hold up an object that he is familiar with (he knows its name) and let him smell it.

Step 3. Place the object under something obvious (like a towel), and say “find it”. You might add the name of the object if it doesn’t do it quickly (“find it” bunny). Click and treat when he touches the object.

Step 4: Repeat several times, but each time you repeat move the object to a different location getting progressively more difficult. Click and treat each time.

Step 5: Let him smell and then hide other objects that he is not familiar with and give the “find it” command.


33. Go! (Run)

Here are some helpful tips that might help you out:

Try to keep commands one or two-syllable words - which is easiest for them to identify.

Keep training sessions short - around 5 minutes.

Always end on a high note - if the 5 minutes are almost up, and he is doing well, stop then. Try not to wait until he is not interested anymore. He will learn the trick much easier if his training session ends when he is doing something well.

Most of these tricks and commands require several training sessions. Some dogs and puppies can grasp the idea in their first 5-minute training session, but don’t expect it to do it extremely well.


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References:

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