Teaching your dog basic behaviour and cool tricks shouldn’t be hard work. This post is about 101 dog tricks you can start teaching your dog at any age.
Forget the old world wisdom that says you can’t teach old dogs new tricks. You can teach any dog, puppy or otherwise, a wide range of tricks right from home.
If you have always wanted to train your dog yourself and thought you needed a degree in canine psychology, you don’t. This in-depth blog post gives you the low down on some of the amazing things your dog can do.
So what can you expect from this blog post? Well, as the title suggest, you’re going to read about 101 puppy tricks you can use to keep your doggie entertained. We won’t go into too much detail about each one over one hundred training tips.
Kyra Sundance has produced an amazing resource in her book by the same title as this post where she tells you more about each trick. Let’s get started…
What does it take to be a cool dog tricks trainer?
Being a dog trainer is not easy. But don’t let that put you off from reading any further. Training your own dog cool tricks, however, is fun. You already have a great relationship which is a great place to start. Ok, they may not always listen to you but that’s ok. With some of the puppy training tips in this post, you’ll soon change that.
So, what are some of the qualities you need to teach your dog some new tricks? Well, you don’t need a PhD in animal behaviour. Neither do you need any fancy tools or equipment! You definitely need a lot of patience, though.
How well your dog does when learning new tricks also depends on you. You are a team.
Your dog looks up to you to provide a consistent and stimulating learning environment. This post and the 101 dog tricks book will help you do that.
The 3 keys to successful trick learning are:
Your dog looks up to you to take the lead (excuse the pun). Guide your dog through each step of the behaviour and remember to reward every effort, no matter how little. The goal is to get better one step at a time.
It is very important that your doggy knows exactly what you want them to do. Your tone of voice is vital when you give commands so keep it the same each time to use it. Don’t get your pal confused otherwise you will not get the results you want.
Remember when you just couldn’t be bothered to get out of bed because you had nothing exciting to look forward to? The same happens to your dog. Yes, learning a new trick is cool. But what’s even better are the treats that come with a job well done. Inspire, motivate and encourage your dog when they have done a good job. Let them hear the pride in your voice and don’t skimp on those treats.
Are you ready to start teaching your puppy or adult dog new tricks? Ok. Let’s go.
Before you get started, here are some of the things you will need to remember. Toys are important and so is patience. Repetition is key. Just because you have gone over a new trick a few times does not mean you have to stop practising it.
Teaching your dog tricks makes it easier for him or her to learn even more cool tricks.
Trick training improves your dog’s athletic and mental ability too.
Always remember the three parts to teaching every new trick
- Cue – visual or verbal signal telling your dog what to do (think “sit” or using a “clicker”)
- Action – the desired behaviour you want your dog to take
- Reward – the treat for a job well done)
Remember: Do not try to give your dog a treat before he has done the trick. Following this 3-step formula creates a consistent environment for learning tricks.
“Progress can be slow or frustrating. Keep at it. The reward is well worth it in the end“
Top trick training tip: if obedience training is one side of a coin, trick training is the opposite. Always avoid using the word ‘No’ when your dog can’t perform a trick. Adopt the word whoops instead.
Ready to start? Grab your dog’s favourite toy and your treat bag and you should be all set to learn a few of some basic tricks.
For more detailed instructions for each trick grab a copy of the 101 Dog Tricks book and let’s get cracking.
Start with a firm foundation
Timing is vital to successful trick training. Rewarding your dog after each successful attempt at learning a new trick gives them the motivation to keep pleasing you. The timing of your reward will make a difference in how well your dog executes each trick.
Mistiming a reward means you’re probably rewarding the wrong behaviour. Here is an example. Let’s say you have successfully taught your doggo to sit but delay giving the treat while he’s still sitting. You hold the treat in your hand and they sit up to take the treat, you’ve just rewarded them for sitting up.
Aim to deliver the reward at the exact moment the trick is accomplished. The treat may be food or a clicker but timing is everything.
“Always reward your dog while he is in the desired position – Kyra Sundance”
Dog Obedience Training Lays a Firm Base to Build Up From
The word obedience gives dog owners the wrong impression most of the time. Many conjure up this image of lording over their dog and being in total control. The truth couldn’t be further away from this image.
Forget out of control dogs running around and trashing the place. Obedience training for dogs forms the basis of an amazing relationship with your dog.
Once a dog masters the basic commands sit, down, come and stay, you can proudly claim your dog is civilized.
The 4 Basic Obedience Commands Every Dog Should Know to Succeed at Trick Training
You can use the verbal cue, sit or the hand signal where your open palm points down with your arm bent at the elbow.
Upon hearing the cue or seeing the hand gesture, your dog should sit on her hindquarters and stay in that position until you give the release command. Here are the four easy steps to follow:
- Hold a treat over your dog’s head so that they can just about reach your hand while standing.
- Move your hand back toward its tail. This movement should force your dog to bring their hindquarters down while the nose goes up. If your dog does not sit keep moving the treat back. As soon as the rear touches the ground, immediately release the treat and give a verbal reward by saying ‘good sit’.
- Sometimes the lure of food is not enough to make your dog sit. In this case, use your thumb and pointing finger to gently press down on his haunches. At the same time, pull up on the lead to gently cox her into a sit. Reward and praise while she is sitting.
- After a few sessions where your dog is sitting consistently, wait a couple of seconds before giving her the reward. This pause teaches her to keep sitting until the reward or the command to go is given.
Top tip: Always remember to give the reward while your dog is in the desired position, in this case, sitting.
This is one of the easier tricks to learn but it forms the foundation of so many of the other cool tricks you can teach your dog.
You can train your dog with a simple ‘Down’ command spoken in a firm but friendly tone of voice. Alternatively, you can use the hand gesture by holding up an open palm and moving your hand in a downward motion.
- Get your dog in a sitting position and bring a treat up to her nose. Slowly bring the treat down towards the floor.
- Your dog will usually follow the treat to the floor, lying down at the same time. If that’s the case then reward your dog for a job well done.
- Instead, if she slouches or doesn’t sit properly, slide the treat towards or away from them until they are in the correct down position then praise and reward her.
- Sometimes your dog may just be reluctant to go down. You can gently physically manipulate him down by applying gentle pressure on the shoulder blades then praise her when she is down.
- The next step once your dog is lying down every time is to delay the reward a few seconds saying ‘wait, wait’ followed by ‘good’. Varying how long you wait each time before giving the reward.
- Always train your dog to stay in the desired position, down, until she hears the release word, ‘ok’.
Trick training tip: as this is one of the foundation tricks, pay attention to the surface you are training on and make sure it is comfortable for your dog.
A very useful trick to teach any dog because it can help to keep your dog safe in some situations. The ideal starting position is with your dog sitting or lying down.
Use the cue “stay” or the hand gesture with your palm flat held close to your dog’s nose.
Move a short distance from your dog while maintaining eye contact. If your dog stays then say “good stay” and give her the reward. (Always remember praise and reward).
If your dog comes out of the stay position and comes to you. Firmly put her back in the original place you told her to stay.
Slowly increase the distance you move and the time you ask your dog to stay. If your dog is unable to stay for longer or greater distances, always go back to the last length of time she was successful. You’re not setting her up for failure right.
This is one of the easiest tricks to teach your dog but will often require patience. Your dog may not always come when called and you should remember to reward only when your dog performs the correct action.
The verbal command “come” or equally the hand gesture both work well for all dogs. Hand gesture: Outstretch your hand with palm facing forward and bring your hand towards your chest.
This trick may form the basis of so many others it is important you only reward(with praise or a treat) when your dog successfully comes to you. These are the steps to follow:
- Start training this trick using a 2m long lead. Use a firm but happy voice to command your dog to come and quickly reel the lead in towards you. Praise your dog or give a treat when he comes.
- Extend the length of the lead as your dog gets better at following this command.
- The next step is off lead training. With the lead trailing, command your dog to come to you. Practising in an enclosed area limits the number of distractions around. If your dog doesn’t come the first time of calling, use the lead to lead her to where she needs to go. If off-lead training isn’t going well, go back to using the lead and demand at least five successful ‘comes’ before attempting off-lead again.
Success tips: give the command only once each time. Use come only for ‘nice’ things and not baths or vet visits.
All-time favourite tricks for all types of dogs
Balance and catch
Putting your dog to work with easy fun tricks
Gone are the days when dogs used to be more than just our companions. Man and dog have had a very close relationship for hundreds of years. From hunting and guard duties, dogs have always had a role to fulfil in everyday life.
Dogs want to be useful and love the appreciation and attention. So what tricks can you teach the modern dog so they feel they are contributing? This section of this post gives you some ideas like getting your dog to fetch the paper or your favourite pair of slippers.
Fetch my shoes
This is a handy extension to the fetch command in the first section of this article. You can train your dog to get your shoes or slippers for you very easily. Use the verbal cue “fetch shoe” while in a clear room and a pair of slippers left close to your dog. Here are the 3 simple steps:
- Point to your shoe or slipper and command your dog to “fetch shoe”.
- Reward every successful fetch and after several tries, place the shoe further away or out of sight.
- Your dog will reach a point where they can retrieve the shoe. Swap it with a different one so they can associate “shoe” with any footwear belonging to you. (they rely on the sense of smell to tell shoes apart).
What if your dog fetches another item and not your shoes or slipper? Be firm and repeat the command “fetch shoe”. With time your dog will pick the right shoe and have the trick nailed. Aim for between 5 and 6 repetitions per training session and always remember to praise and reward your dog.
Get your leash
This is one of the most exciting of the 101 dog tricks. It’s a gateway command to teaching your dog to ask to go for a walk. This works perfectly if you keep your dog’s leash in a regular position within easy reach. Tip: use a straight hook so the lead doesn’t get stuck.
- Say the word ‘leash’ each time you take your dog for a walk to introduce the term to them.
- Playfully toss the leash and use the command ‘fetch leash’ so that your dog learns to associate the command with the action. Safety tip: make sure the metal clip is secure and there is no big loop in the leash to prevent your dog from getting tangled.
- Put the lead in its normal place and encourage your dog to ‘get your leash’. In this trick, the treat is a walk instead of a food treat. When your dog brings the treat immediately clip the lead on and go for a walk.
- Always get your dog excited just before going for a walk and then ask them to get the leash before heading out.
This is a cool trick to teach your dog. It prevents behaviours such as barking or scratching the door when your dog wants to go walking. Always give your do the satisfaction of a reward by taking them out when they bring you the leash, even if it’s without asking.
101 Dog Tricks…A list of more tricks from the book
Don’t make me jump through the hoop
Obstacle course for dogs
Mind over matter
Woof the clown
I’ve got love to give
To wrap up a very long post, here are the Top 10 tips to successful trick training. We hope you have found this resource very useful and most of all fun to read. If you would like to learn these easy and fun tricks to teach your dog, go ahead and grab your very own copy of the book 101 dog tricks by Kyra Sundance.
Top 10 Trick Training Tips
- Tasty treats are a great reward. Always remember treats.
- Reward while your dog is in the desired position.
- Dogs love instant gratification. Do not delay the reward.
- Train before feeding time.
- Train first. Play after.
- End session on a high.
- Consistency pays.
- Motivate to encourage desired action.
- Be patient. Learning takes time. Even for dogs.
- Make training fun.
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