Have you nailed down your dog’s training? Maybe you’ve noticed that your new puppy picked up commands remarkably quickly, learning how to sit and stay and roll over impressively rapidly. Maybe you’ve got an extremely intelligent dog like a collie, so you want to keep her mind active and happy. Maybe you just want to teach your dog tricks so you can show them off to your friends and family. No matter what the reason is, here are some fun tricks that you can teach your pup…
An easy way to teach your dog tricks is through clicker training. This uses positive reinforcement to let your dog know when he’s on the right path when he’s learning a new skill. This helps you to shape his future behaviour and it means that you can reward good behavior, handing out doggy treats a second after you’ve pressed the clicker so your dog associates behaving well with his favourite food. Click here for more information if you want to know more about dog training.
Teach your dog to high five. To do this, tell your dog to sit. Reward her. Hold a treat slightly out of her reach, and say the command ‘High five’ while tapping her foot. The dog will usually lift her foot to paw at the treat – catch it with your free hand and then reward the dog with the treat and plenty of praise. Keep repeating, and encourage your dog to lift her foot higher off the ground by tickling the sole of her foot.
Teach your dog the names of objects. First of all, get your dog to touch your hand – give him a treat. Then hold an object such as his food bowl, and get him to touch that, while you’re saying the name of the object. Reward your dog for that too. Your dog will come to associate the sound of the word with the object. This is the first step in teaching him how to retrieve objects such as his favorite toys, his food bowl and maybe even your remote control or newspaper!
Teach your dog to fetch. Not only is this useful but it’ll provide you with hours of playtime with your furry best friend. A lot of dogs don’t initially understand the concept of the game fetch, so they’ll be confused and wonder why you’re throwing something away, or they won’t bring the object back to you. First of all, make sure you’re throwing something the dog’s interested in, so she’ll go off to get it back! Try out different balls and toys. Reward your pup with treats every time she goes to chase the object and she’ll get used to doing so every time. If she doesn’t want to retrieve the object, call her and throw something else so she gets used to dropping the first one. If she doesn’t quite make it to you before dropping the object, say “Bring it!” to encourage her to come further. In the meantime you can approach her, offer praise and a treat, and throw the item again.
Make sure you remember that positive reinforcement is the key – you want to work with your dog so you both have a great time. Remember that the sky’s the limit – try out a variety of tricks to see what your dog responds to best, and try not to make any easy mistakes. Training your dog through love and not fear is the way to build a warm and loving relationship that will last for all of your pup’s life.