Training Your Dog To Do Tricks

Teach your dog some simple tricks. Use food and praise as motivators, and your pet will learn quickly.

Dogs are intelligent creatures and they learn quickly if given the proper motivation. There is no need to yell or raise your voice when training your dog to do tricks. To get your dog to perform some simple tricks, all you need is some food and patience.

Teaching your dog to "sit" is the easiest trick of all. This can be done in a matter of days when you teach him at meal time. Tell your dog to sit, and then gently but firmly press his hind quarters to the ground until he is sitting. Do not give him his dinner until he is sitting. This will take several attempts, but praise him when he obeys.

The next trick is "beg" or ""sit up." This is quite easy as well. Tell your dog to beg, and then hold a piece of food over his head. His natural instinct is to sit up to reach the food. When he is begging properly, then praise him and give him a treat. Note that with small puppies you want to be careful not to injure their backs.

You do not need to practice only one trick at a time. You can practice two or three simultaneously. The next trick is to "play dead" or "bang-bang." The key to this trick is to help your dog roll on his back by gently turning him over after you say "bang-bang." Do not give your dog food unless he is lying on his back. But praise him generously while he is on his back even if only for a second. This trick is slightly more difficult and may take a lot of practice, but your dog will catch on that he only gets a treat if he is on his back.

Teaching your dog to "shake" hands may not work with some smaller breeds who rely on both front legs when sitting, but it is simple enough to teach most dogs. Say "shake," and then gently pick up your dog's right paw. Make sure that every time you say shake you pick up the same paw. Praise him even when you are taking his paw, and gradually, he will offer it to you. When he offers his paw to you on command, then praise him verbally and give him a treat.

The last trick is "speak." The key to this trick is to say speak whenever you hear your dog bark, and then praise him. If your dog does not bark very frequently, then say "speak" and make a noise that causes him to bark. Eventually he will get the idea that "speak" means bark, and when he obeys he gets food.

These tricks can be taught to your dog in a matter of two or three weeks. Remember to praise your dog when he performs correctly and do not punish him or scold him. Be patient because it may take some practice to get the tricks down pat. If your dog forgets, help remind him.

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