When it comes to keeping your dog’s brain sharp, nothing beats training her to do a few awesome tricks. Training helps keep our best buddies happy, obedient, and mentally active. Adding a few simple tricks to your dog’s arsenal is a great way to bond, and will leave you with some cool moves to bust out at your next dog party.
We’ve put together a list of eight easy tricks to try with your dog. With a little time, treats, and enthusiasm, your dog will be showing off her new skills in no time. Note: before you get started, it’s a good idea to consult a basic training guide, and remember that positive reinforcement wins out.
For more support, we have a comprehensive guide to training your dog at home.
Take a Bow
This one couldn’t be simpler: most dogs naturally “bow” when they stretch (picture the downward dog yoga pose). To turn it into a trick, simply say “take a bow!” or your choice of command when you catch them doing it, then reward them with a treat. After a while, your dog should be able to take a bow on cue.
“Shake” is the trick that keeps on giving. Once your dog has a solid shake, she’ll be ready to move on to slightly more complicated moves.
Nothing’s cooler than saying “gimme five” and catching a palm full of paw! This move is also useful if you have a dog that tends to paw at you—redirect those bad manners into a sweet trick.
Who doesn’t love to be greeted by a four-legged phenom? Teaching your dog to wave makes for an especially simple and adorable trick. It’s very similar to high five, but without the skin-to-fur contact.
Come When Called
One of the most basic and necessary obedience commands, coming when called is also a great starter to a round of show-off tricks: it brings your dog close and puts her focus on you. If your dog already has a reliable recall, you can mix it up a bit with different commands. A friend of mine yells “Giddyup!” to call her dog close.
Here’s a truly adorable and impressive trick that couldn’t be easier to teach. If your dog knows how to lie down, she’s just a step away from crawling!
Roll Over and Belly-Up
Roll over is the classic “first trick” for most dogs. Once your dog knows the full roll-over, you can teach her to “hold that pose.” Some people call this trick “playing dead” or “belly up.” Whatever you call it, it’s one of the cutest tricks a dog can learn, and also one of the quickest.
Go to Bed
Here’s a good one to round out a demonstration of your dogs’ best tricks: send her to bed for a good rest after all that hard work! “Go to bed” is useful as a cue when your dog needs to be removed from the action and settle down. Of course, you can always take it to the next level by training her to pull the covers over herself…but that one might take a little more time.
Does your dog know any cool tricks? Let us know in the comments, and have fun training!
Top image via flickr/pbump