Easiest Tricks To Teach Your Dog

Hi guys! I best start by saying that these are the 6 tricks that I personally find easiest to teach most dogs. This may not be the case for everyone! If you’re new to trick training I find these tricks a great place to start. Some of you may say that these are not all tricks, but basic commands. Whatever you want to call them they are still behaviours that you teach your dog to perform!

The tricks I’ll be covering today are:

  • Sit
  • Down (/lie down)
  • Stand
  • Paw (/shake)
  • Hi-5
  • Wave

Before I start on each trick there are a few things that will apply to all of the tricks below.

The first is that when I first teach a dog a new trick do not use a verbal command until they understand what I want. For example, I would lure them into the position, and once they are in the position I then give the command.

Secondly do not over use the command, and I see this so often. If you keep saying the command and you’re not getting a response you’re basically teaching your dog that they do not have to complete the command the first time that you say it – plus nobody likes being asked more than once to do something, it’s just bloody irritating! I do know that occasionally there are times where, after they have been taught the command, you may end up having to ask once or twice if they are distracted, but try and keep this to a minimum. If they are distracted easily teach a ‘focus’ command and use this to re-gain their attention rather than mindlessly repeating the same word over and over again – otherwise I might just gently beat you over the head with a stick covered in marshmallows! I will go through a focus command in the future for those who are interested.

Lastly make sure you have all training aids ready before you start. Most importantly your bum bag/treat bag complete with treats, or your toy if you’re using that as the reward. And also have your clicker ready in hand, decide which hand is easiest for treating and which for clicking!


Sit

Step 1: Whilst standing/kneeling in front of your dog, use a treat to lure your dogs head up and back slightly – nothing drastic, don’t be silly and make them bend their neck back as that’s just not comfortable. Also never use physical force to put your dog in position, I’ve seen people pushing on their dogs bum to make them sit and it’s not good for their joints! Makes me want to go and jump on their shoulders until their arse hits the floor!

Step 2: When their head comes up their bum should lower

Step 3: As soon as his/her bum touches the floor click and reward (it is key to click and target that precise moment! Don’t forget to click first then give the reward, if you have correctly conditioned they will already know that reward is on the way when they hear the click!).

Step 4: Start adding the command, I do this by saying sit once (and only once!) and then luring into position again.

Step 5: Repeat process multiple times until your dog starts to sit without the lure.

Step 6: Wait slightly longer each time before giving the reward (count 1 second then reward a few times, then 2 seconds and reward a few times, then 3 seconds etc.) but do not move away from them as this is venturing into a stay/wait command.

Aurora sit Badbury
Because obviously you don’t know what a sitting dog looks like…

Down
(Must know sit first)

Step 1: Stand/kneel in front of your dog with a treat and ask them to sit.

Step 2: Once sitting put the treat in front of their nose, and using it as a lure move the treat slowly towards the ground. Try not to bring the treat forward too far as their bum may come up so they can step forwards!

Step 3: As soon as their elbows are on the ground click and reward!

Step 4: Once they are comfortably performing ‘down’ every time you lure them add the command. Say the command once then lure into position again.

Step 5: Repeat process multiple times until your dog starts to lie down without the lure.

Step 6: Wait slightly longer each time before giving the reward.

3
Luna showing off her capability to lie down…

Stand
(Must know sit)

Step 1: Stand/kneel in front of your dog and ask them to sit.

Step 2: Use a treat to lure your dog forward.

Step 3: As soon as they straighten their back legs click and reward!

Step 4: Once they are standing still from a sit position start adding the command!

Step 5: Repeat process until your dog is standing without the lure.

Step 6: Wait slightly longer each time before giving the reward.

7 square
Aurora showing us how to stand, because you didn’t know what that looked like either…

Paw
(Must know sit)

Step 1: Stand/kneel in front of your dog and ask them to sit.

Step 2: Hold a treat in a tightly clasped hand near your dog and slightly to one side to encourage them to shift their weight off the leg you want them to give.

Step 3: Encourage your dog to get the treat. After a few moments (and probably a few licks, potentially some nibbles!) they should use their paw to try and open your hand. Click and reward as soon as their paw touches your hand!

Step 4: Once they are using their paw without encouragement, introduce the command.

Step 5: Once they are responding to the command try removing the treat from your hand and offering a flat palm when asking ‘paw’ (or whatever command you want to use, you could use any word you like!)

Step 6: Repeat the process until your dog is giving paw consistently without the treat in your hand.

Step 7: Wait slightly longer each time before giving the reward.

The key to creating a solid paw command is not to grab your dogs paw when they give it to you! Otherwise you could make them feel uncomfortable about giving their paw int he future! Let’s be honest, how would you like it if I grabbed your hand rather than just asking you for it. I think “Sod off you blithering idiot!” or potentially stronger words to that effect may well be used.


Hi-5
(Must know sit and paw)

Step 1: Stand/kneel in front of your dog and ask them to sit.

Step 2: Use the hand signal for your dog to give paw but don’t use the command. Once your dog lifts their paw, quickly switch your hand from a flat palm up to a flat palm facing your dog – as if you we’re going to hi-5 a human, but don’t move your hand towards them like you would a human, only humans hands deserve a slap – then click and treat as soon as their paw meets your hand.

Step 3: Once you have met your dogs paw further up a few times start adding the command.

Step 4: Once your dog is responding to the command start offering your hand in the Hi-5 position straight away rather than in the paw position first.

Step 5: Repeat the process until your dog is Hi-5ing (it’s not a word, but oh well!) consistently with your hand in the Hi-5 position only.

You don’t need to worry about waiting longer with this one. Lingering around in a Hi-5 is just an awfully awkward situation, and if you’re doing that with people, I suggest maybe you re-think your strategy.

14
Hi-10 mum! Because I’m far too advanced for just one. It’s definitely not just because I like to slap my paws everywhere… Nope, not that!

Wave
(Must know sit and paw)

Step 1: Stand/kneel in front of your dog and ask them to sit.

Step 2: Use the hand signal for your dog to give paw but no verbal command. Once your dog lifts their paw move your hand back to you and wave at your dog and click and reward. Make sure you only click while your dogs paw is in the air.

Step 3: Once you have clicked and rewarded the behaviour a few times start adding in the command.

Step 4: Once your dog is responding to the command, start waving at your dog without giving in the paw position first.

Step 5: Repeat the process until your dog is waving consistently.

Again don’t worry about hanging around with this one, waving for too long is just tiring. Seriously, sit and wave with your arm up for more than a minute, it’s not enjoyable. The queen must have some serious arm muscles!

IMG_3352
Begging and waving?! What is this sorcery?

 

I hope you found the methods above useful! Do you have a different way that you teach any of the tricks? I’d love to know, as there’s never only one way to teach something! Some dogs that I’ve helped train previously have made me think really outside the box before now. So if you’re stuck on anything just pop me a message, I’m always happy to try and help!

What tricks do you want to learn next? Let me know in the comments!

IMG_3388
We call this ‘Paws on’ although apparently Luna seemed to think that one was quite enough, apparently it was more ‘dramatic’… Do you want to learn this? Subscribe! 😉

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