Teaching Dog Tricks

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Teaching dog tricks is fun and gives your dog mental stimulation while enhancing the time you spend with him. Keep training sessions short and fun, and always use positive reinforcement.

Before you start to teach your dog tricks, make sure he has learned the basic obedience skills of sit, lie down, and stay.

Play Dead

One of the most popular and easy tricks to teach your dog is “play dead.” First, ask your dog to lie down. To teach him to roll on his back, hold a yummy treat in front of his nose and move the treat in a small circle while giving the command “play dead.”

As the dog’s nose follows the treat, his body follows until he is on his back. Reward him with the treat and verbal praise. With practice, your dog will associate the command with the behavior and you can wean him off the food reward.


Another popular trick to teach a dog is “shake.” To teach your dog to shake, first get him into the sitting position. Have a treat ready and say, “shake.” Gently grab behind his paw and lift it into the shake position. Give him the treat. Repeat this step several times until he learns that he will get the treat by lifting his paw by himself. While he is learning, reward even his smallest attempt at getting into the shake position by himself.


Another fun trick to teach your dog is “bow.” First, get your dog in the sitting position. Hold a treat in front of his nose and say, “bow.” Push the treat straight toward your dog’s chest. As his nose follows the treat, he should naturally get himself into the bow position. When he does, reward him with the treat and verbal praise.

Teaching dog tricks should be fun for both you and your dog. For more, see Teaching Dog Tricks for Dummies.

Updated: December 14, 2013 — 2:21 am

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