Teaching your dog new tricks

It’s important to keep your dog mentally stimulated which can also help to keep them safe. By teaching your dog new tricks, it will allow them to obey on command, you can teach them things like 'stay', 'heel' and 'sit' which is important when crossing roads.

As dogs love praise from their owners teaching them new tricks is a great way to encourage reward for good behaviour and show affection. Take a look at some of the unusual tricks you can teach your dog:

High five

Teaching your dog to high five is fairly easy:

  • Command your dog to sit and then reward them with a treat.
  • Hold a treat in front of your dog but slightly out of reach.
  • Repeat the command ‘high five’ while you gently tap one of their paws. (You’ll notice your dog will lift up their paw to try and reach for the treat in your hand).
  • Once they raise their paw, catch it with your free hand, when contact is made give them a treat and praise.
  • Repeat all steps while repeating the command until your dog automatically raises their paw each time the command is given.
  • If your dog is struggling to lift their paw, gently tap the inside of the knee with your finger, this will encourage the leg to bend.
  • Once the paw is off the ground, a slight tickle on the bottom of the paw will encourage them to lift it higher.
  • Continue repeating the steps and firmly repeating the commands.

Army crawl

The army crawl is a great way to improve your dog’s physical fitness and can be fun for both of you. Some dogs already have this trick mastered like when they're trying to sneak onto the sofa, if your dog isn’t an expert yet try the following steps:

  • Command your pooch to lie down.
  • Hold a treat between your fingers allowing them to smell and lick it but holding it firmly enough so they can’t take it.
  • Hold the treat to your dog’s nose, then slowly drag it along the floor.
  • As soon as your dog begins to crawl praise them and give them the treat.
  • If your dog stands up to take the treat, quickly take it away and begin the process again.
  • The trick is to get your dog crawling for slightly longer each time.
  • When they have mastered this get them to lie down a few feet away, commanding them to crawl to you.
  • Get them to crawl to you from a further distance each time you give the command.
  • Continue repeating the steps and firmly repeating the commands.

Playing the piano

If you have a piano or keyboard in your home and your dog will do just about anything to earn treats, then this is the trick for them:

  • Place the piano or keyboard in the centre of a quiet room.
  • Once your dog shows interest, reward and praise them.
  • Keeping the first few session short is key – it will stop your pooch getting distracted.
  • Scatter a few treats away from the piano whenever an interest is shown or when they nudge the piano or keyboard, with their paw or nose.
  • When they return praise them and scatter a few more treats.
  • You dog will soon learn that they'll receive treats once they approach the piano.
  • Now that they have an interest, limit the number of treats.
  • To encourage them to play you may need to add treats to the keys – by trying to get a treat the key will be pressed down and a note played.
  • Once this happens praise them generously and command ‘play’.
  • Continue repeating the steps and firmly repeating the commands.

Slalom

Slalom is a great way to teach your dog listening skills, speed and agility, follow the steps below to learn how:

  • To avoid any accidents with the pole, it's always best to use specially designed training slalom poles.
  • Begin with a maximum of four poles.
  • Hold a treat under your dog’s nose.
  • Entice your dog to slowly follow the treat between the poles.
  • Once your dog's reaches the end, give them the treat and lots of praise.
  • Gradually add more and more poles to the course, one at a time - limit the number of poles you add to a maximum of fifteen.
  • Always place the poles at equal distances apart by using a tape measure to allow your pooch to judge their movements correctly.
  • If your dog seems confident with the course, increase the speed in which you guide them.
  • To encourage them to move more sharply move the poles slightly closer together.
  • If you're using other equipment as poles such as trees or solid poles, never encourage your dog to go too fast as they may have an accident and injure themselves.
  • Continue repeating the steps and firmly repeating the commands.

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