Majority of the little bundles of joy we call dogs can be easily trained. Even canines that are deemed too stubborn and less intelligent than other breeds can be trained with lots of patience, unequaled determination and motivation, and a basic understanding of using positive reinforcement in your teachings. If you’re ready to make your four-legged friend the star of any social gathering you’re planning on hosting soon, prepare for these 5 easy tricks to teach your dog. These don’t guarantee gaining millions of likes on Facebook or YouTube, but they will surely be testament to your love for your pet.
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This can be fairly easy since most hounds have a natural tendency to raise their paws whenever they want something such as asking for their favorite treat. It is critical, however, that your pet already knows how to ‘sit’ on your command for this to really work.
The trick is to hold a treat in your hands. Make sure your dog sees the treat. Now move your hand towards the floor and slowly raise it until such time that your pet will also begin raising its paws. Once you see your dog raise its paws, say the word ‘shake’ out loud then give your pet the treat. Don’t forget to lavishly praise your dog for doing it. Repeat the cycle several more times and with ever-increasing height of your hand. The whole idea is to get your pet to raise its paw up to the level of its chest.
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Once your pet has mastered using one paw for shaking hands, you can train it to use the other as well. However, you need to use another verbal cue for this to avoid confusing your pet.
To teach this trick, you’ll need your pet in the ‘down’ position which means it is lying on its belly with its limbs oriented up front. Now get a treat and let your dog sniff it or even start munching on it without really giving the treat. Slowly move the treat around your dog’s back so that it will follow the treat. The natural reaction is for the dog to start rolling on its side to continue ‘sniffing’ the treat. You may have to use another treat in the event that your pooch manages to get the treat. Continue with the maneuver until your dog has rolled on its back, onto its other side, and back in the ‘down’ position again. Once completed give your hound its treat and praise it generously.
Do this a couple of times until your dog can easily roll on its side, its back, on the other side, and back up. Then you can start introducing your keyword, ‘roll over’ as your pet starts with its rolling maneuver. Practice will make this perfect.
If your hound has already mastered the ‘handshake’ or ‘paw shake’ trick, teaching it to perform the ‘high five’ should be relatively easy. In the ‘shake hands’ trick, you have your hand extended up front waiting for your pet’s paws to land on it. Before your dog’s paw lands on your hand, however, you’ve got to move your hand and hold it with your palm out. So instead of your dog’s paw landing on your palm, it will be slapping or touching on your held-out palm. Once your dog’s paw touches your palm, give the command ‘high five’, give your hound its favorite treat, and lavish it with praise.
Practice this routine many times until your dog can raise its paw as far or as high as it can possibly go. Remember your hound needs to touch or tap your open palm.
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Wave Hello or Goodbye
This is the next logical trick to teach your dog as soon as it has mastered how to perform the ‘high five’ trick. You can say that it is more like a version of the ‘high five’ trick in that your dog needs to raise its paw as high as it possibly can. Now instead of tapping on your open palm, your dog will have to be taught on how to do so without ever touching your palm.
From the ‘high five’ position, withdraw your hand just before your dog touches your palm. This will naturally lower your dog’s paw as if ‘waving’. Just as your dog’s paw starts to go down, issue the word ‘hello’ or ‘goodbye’, give the treat, and followed by your praise. The thing to understand here is to use one paw for ‘hello’ and the other for ‘goodbye’.
Again, practice will make perfect. Sooner or later your pet will be amazing your guests and they’d be asking you to teach them how to do it on their pets, too.
Take a Bow
This has got to be one of the easiest tricks to teach to your dog. Why? All dogs do this especially when they are in their playful mood. Dog experts call this behavior as the play bow and is often seen in at least two dogs where one of them naturally ‘bows’ in an effort to invite the other dog to play. In other words, ‘bowing’ is a natural dog behavior. The key, therefore is how to turn this natural behavior into a neat dog trick.
It’s quite easy, actually. All you need are your pet’s favorite treat and vigilance as to when your dog initiates the ‘play bow’. Once your dog ‘bows’ naturally, give the ‘bow’ command, give the treat, and then lavishly shower your dog with praises. The downside, of course is that you’d really have to be very attentive to your dog’s behavior so that you’ll catch it doing the ‘bow’ on its own. This way you can reinforce the ‘bowing’ behavior with rewards. Over time your dog will readily take a bow on your command.
Some of these tricks may require more patience than usual, depending on your dog. However, with the right use of trigger words and positive reinforcement, you’ll have your dog mastering these tricks soon enough. Remember, patience is a virtue of all loving pet parents.
- Teaching Your Dog the Basics, The MSPCA–Angell
- Training Your Dog, PETA