One of the great joys of owning a dog is teaching them tricks. They have an amazing ability to learn and are so eager to please.
Make sure you always have a training clicker and plenty of treats on hand to reward your buddy as they learn and perform. Your dog needs to understand that a click means an instant treat. If they manage to master something especially challenging, you can give them a jackpot of treats to reinforce the behaviour.
It’s often best to do a training session when your dog is hungry! 10 minutes is an ideal training session length and you should always finish on a positive note, not failure. If your dog is struggling to come to grips with a new trick, finish with one he knows instead.
Here are 4 simple but cool tricks to teach any pooch. Maybe they’ll become an internet sensation if you can think of creative ways to show how they’ve mastered them. At the very least, you’ll be able to entertain your friends.
- Teaching your dog to fetch
Let’s start with a golden oldie. Some dogs will fetch naturally, but others won’t. If your dog won’t, cut a small slit into a tennis ball and put a treat into it. Show your dog that the treat is in the ball and then throw it. Run with them as they chase it to try and get their treat.
When they do, reward them by clicking and removing the treat from the ball to give it to them. Keep doing this until they get the idea and are retrieving the ball and bringing it back to you to get their click and their treat out of the ball.
Then start throwing the ball and only giving them the treat every second time they bring it back to you and so on. Progressively give them the clicks and treats less and less often until they’re fetching on autopilot.
- Teaching your dog to find and bring you something
Dogs follow their nose, so that’s the key to this trick. Find something that has a smell (or an object that you can put a smell on, like one of their toys). Start by hiding the object under a towel, ensuring that your dog can see where you’ve have hidden it. Encourage them to find it. Use your clicker and reward them when they uncover it.
Once your pooch understands this association, introduce the word ‘find’ into the trick. Hide the item further and further away from them in progressively more difficult locations so that they have to rely on their sense of smell to find it. They’ll bring it to you to get their click and reward.
- Teaching your dog to rollover
You can do this by following these three steps.
1) First, hold a treat to your dog’s nose and progressively move it down to the floor until they lie down. Then click and let them have it.
2) Repeat step 1, but instead of letting the dog have the click and the treat when they drop to the floor, keep holding it to their nose and lift it up so they follow it. When they roll onto their side, give them the click and the treat.
3) Repeat step 2, but instead of letting the dog have the treat when they roll onto their side, keep holding it to their nose and make them fully roll over before they get the click and the treat. Introduce the rollover command until they associate it with the treat.
Soon your dog will know to rollover on command to get their treat.
- Teaching your dog to hide
Find a large object in your home, like the couch. Make sure there is room behind it for your pooch to hide. Then follow these four steps:
1) Show your dog a treat and toss it behind the couch as you say the words ‘go hide’.
2) Click and reward your dog for going to get the treat and ‘hiding’. Do this several times.
3) Use the ‘go hide’ command without tossing the treat behind the couch. Continue to say it until your dog goes behind the couch. When they make it to their hiding position, click and toss them the treat. Repeat this several times.
4) Start weaning them off the treats by only providing them every second time and so on until they no longer need the treats to obey the command.
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