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Teaching your dog new tricks is great for so many reasons. First of all, it gives you the chance to show off how smart your dog is to friends and family. For another thing, it’s a great way to challenge your dog’s mind and give him some mental stimulation.
A lot of tricks you see might look like they’re hard to teach. But most of them aren’t all that complicated!
I’ve taught my Mini Poodle Baloo basically all of those tricks and they’re really fun and a great way to engage that little dog brain!
If you’d like to teach your dog some cute new tricks, here are a few that are great for beginners. In this article, I’ll show you how you can teach them.
1. Sit Pretty
This trick has also been called “beg.” It means that your dog sits back on his hind legs while holding up his front legs, as if begging. It’s also a surprisingly easy trick to teach!
Start by getting your dog to sit (he should already know how to do this). Then, take a treat and hold it up to his nose without letting him take it. Slowly raise the treat into the air, until your dog lifts just his front feet off the ground to try and take it. As soon as he lifts both feet without standing up on his hind legs, praise him and reward him!
2. Take a Bow
“Take a bow” involves your dog’s front legs staying on the floor while his rear lifts into the air, like a bow. You’ve probably seen your dog do a big stretch in this exact position!
All you need to do is start with your dog in a standing position. Hold a treat right up to his nose, and begin lowering it to the ground. This will lure your dog into the right position. Once your dog’s front elbows hits the ground with his rear end till in the air, treat and praise him!
Your dog might think he needs to go into a full lie down position when you first begin this trick. Just start him back in his original standing position and try again!
3. Play Dead
As the name implies, this involves your dog pretending to be dead. At your cue, your dog should learn to drop to the ground as if he were unconscious!
First, get your dog to lie down. The next step is teaching your dog to lie down on his side. Hold the treat up to his nose and guide it back, so your dog’s hip moves to the side so he can follow the treat. Then, use the treat to guide your dog’s head onto the ground. Treat your dog once he’s in position. Keep practicing this until your dog understands the position. Then, you can start adding in a cue like “Bang!”
4. Roll Over
Rolling over is basically exactly what it sounds like. It’s teaching your dog how to roll himself over on the floor!
The first step is getting your dog to lie down. Then, hold the treat right up to his nose to start luring him. Keeping the treat against his nose, guide it so that your dog lies down on his side. Then, use a treat to keep luring him so that he rolls all the way over.
This video will show you how to teach this effectively.
5. Give Paw
Also called “shake” or “shake a paw,” this is a super cute trick for your dog to know. “Give paw” means teaching your dog to put his paw in your hand on command.
There are a few different ways you can teach your dog give paw. One way is by holding up a treat in your closed fist. Your dog will probably try to get it out of your hand using his mouth. But once he realizes his mouth isn’t working, he might try tapping at you with his paw. Hold your other hand ready, and if he lifts his paw, move your hand so his foot goes into it. Then you can reward him.
6. High Five
This trick is very similar to give paw. It’s also adorable!
Start off by getting your dog to sit. Follow the same steps as for give paw, keeping a treat in a closed fist and holding onto it until your dog raises his paw to try and get it. Then reward your dog by giving him the treat! Keep practicing until you don’t need to hold a treat in your hand, and your dog knows to just put his paw in it.
Once your dog has that behavior down, start holding your hand up a little higher in a high five position. You may have to raise it slowly.
7. Give Kiss
This trick involves teaching your dog to give the side of your face a little kiss. All you’ll need are some treats and a little peanut butter.
If your dog isn’t a natural licker, you can put a little peanut butter on your cheek and ask for a kiss. Every time your dog goes for the peanut butter and licks it off, tell him “good kiss!” and praise him.
If your dog is the sort who will lick your face without any prompting (Baloo definitely belongs to that category), just say “good kiss!” every time he licks your face. Each time he gives you a kiss, treat and praise him until he’s able to give you a kiss without being prompted with food!
Spin is an easy trick to teach and works for any dog.
Start off with your dog standing. Hold a treat up to his nose, and use it to lure him into turning around in a full circle. Once he’s back in his starting position, reward and praise! Keep practicing this until you don’t need to lure your dog in a circle with a treat and can instead use your finger to point to where he needs to go.
Speak is a really beneficial trick for dogs who are naturally yappy. It might seem weird, but teaching your dog to speak on command is one of the best ways to teach him how to be quiet on command too!
To begin, you want to make your dog bark. This can sometimes take a while, so be patient. Show your dog that you have a tasty treat that he really likes. Your dog will start trying to do things to get the treat from you. As he gets more frustrated and confused, he might bark. As soon as he barks, say “speak!” and reward.
Keep practicing this until your dog barks when you say “speak.”
10. Jump in Your Lap
This particular trick will only work well with small dogs.
You can start by sitting cross-legged on the floor, to give your dog a good spot in your lap to lay down on. Use a treat to lure your dog into your lap. Once he goes onto your lap, treat and praise him. Keep practicing this until your dog can go onto your lap without needing to be lured.
You can then move to start sitting on the couch or in chair.
Here’s a similar trick that I taught Baloo as well:
Bonus: Stand on Hind Legs
This trick will also be best for small dogs, especially if they already display the behavior from time to time. Baloo does that all the time when he wants to see something that’s higher than him. He’ll just stand on his hind legs without holding himself anywhere.
All you need to do is follow the same steps as you would for “sit pretty.” But instead of stopping as soon as your dog’s front paws are off the ground, keep raising the treat until your dog is balancing on his hind legs.
Here’s a video of Baloo and me:
What Commands Should My Dog Learn First?
The above tricks are all super cute, but there are some foundations you’ll want to lay down first.
The AKC recommends teaching your dog 5 basic tricks: sit, lie down, stay, come, and how to walk on a leash without pulling.
These are great for helping your dog learn basic obedience and manners. Since many more complicated tricks require starting in a sit or down position, it’s important to make sure your dog knows those tricks before trying harder ones.
What Brain Games Can I Play with My Dog?
Teaching new tricks is one way to work out your dog’s mind, but it’s not the only way. There are lots of fun ways you can help your dog get his daily dose of mental stimulation.
If you’re looking for inspiration, here are 10 brain games for dogs to play at home.
Mental stimulation can also be a wonderful training tool if used correctly. Check out Braintrainingfordogs to learn how to train your dog to be the best dog he can be by using mental stimulation! Or have a look at Dogpackr’s review first to see if it’s a fit for you and your dog!
So, there you go, these are the 11 most easy dog tricks for beginners.
Teaching your dog new tricks is a great way to get him to use his brain. It’s also a really fun way to show your dog off to your friends. Many of the tricks that look like they’re hard to teach are often much easier than they seem!
But what’s even better about teaching your dog any of these tricks is that they’re strengthening the relationship between you and your dog. Learning new tricks builds confidence, and builds trust between the two of you. So don’t be surprised to find that your bond with your dog is stronger than ever once you start teaching him these tricks!
P.s.: Don’t forget to check out Braintraining4dogs if you want to take your dog training game to the next level. It offers a 60-day money back guarantee, so you have nothing to lose.
Struggling with your puppy's hyper behavior? I offer private 1:1 online coaching to help you with your puppy's behavioral problems (biting, crate training struggles, crying, barking, separation anxiety, daily schedule etc.). Schedule a free 15-minute video Zoom call to get started!
Please note that I'm not a professional dog trainer. Everything I know is from my own experience with my hyper Mini Poodle Baloo and hundreds of hours of research.