It can be a lot of fun teaching puppy tricks to the newest member of your family. Dog tricks can really help teach your young dog how to behave – as long as you make sure the tricks aren’t too difficult. You shouldn’t expect your dog to be able to learn how to jump rope or hit the snooze button on your alarm clock, but it should be pretty easy to teach some basic puppy tricks.
Here are a few simple dog tricks you can teach your young pup. Just remember to always use positive reinforcement when teaching these tricks – never punish your dog, either physically or verbally. With a little time, patience and love, you’ll be surprised how much you can accomplish.
How To Teach Some Basic Puppy Tricks
Teaching tricks to a puppy is an important part of your overall dog training routine. But just because it’s considered training, that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. You want to start with tricks that are easy for your pup to learn, such as “bow,” “paw,” and “wave.” Here’s how to do it.
- Bow – If your pup likes to stretch a lot, this is a good way to get them to respond to your teaching. Simply say, “bow” the next time they stretch, and give them lots of love and a treat. Do this every time your puppy stretches, and it won’t be long until they’re doing it on command.
- Paw – This is an easy trick to teach. When the puppy is sitting, put a treat near their nose. Put your other hand in front of the pup’s paw and say, “paw” or “shake.” Press gently against your puppy’s shoulder, and take their paw as soon as they lift it off of the ground. Give the treat and praise them. The more you do it, the more your pup will offer their paw.
- Wave – Here’s another easy one. When your puppy is sitting, do the same thing you do for the “paw” trick. This time, though, say, “wave paw” instead. When the dog extends their paw, pull your hand back, and perform a waving motion. Give the pup a treat before they touch your hand. Eventually, your pup should catch on.1
How To Teach A Dog To Sit
Every dog has to start somewhere when it comes to training. That service dog you saw in the mall or the airport had to start with the basics. The same goes for that amazing agility dog you might have seen on television.
One of the most basic commands is, “sit.” Here’s one approach to teaching your dog to do it.
- When your dog is in a standing position, put a training treat in your hand. If you have a really small pup, you might need to put the treat between your fingers.
- Place that treat close to your pup’s nose so they know you have something they want.
- Move the hand with the treat slowly toward their head. More than likely, the dog will follow your hand with their nose. This motion will cause their rear end to go toward the floor.
- Once their rear touches the floor, give them the treat. Then do the same thing over again with another treat.
- The more you do this, the easier it will be for you to get your dog to sit. Eventually, they’ll sit without the lure. Always give them a lot of praise and love when they sit on command.2
How To Teach A Dog To Lay Down
Another basic command you can teach your puppy is to lie down. Once your pup masters the “sit” command, it will be a lot easier to get them to lay down when you want them to.
- Tell your dog to sit. Put a treat in your hand, and then put your hand close to your puppy’s nose.
- Move your hand slowly down toward the floor, and then gradually move it away from the puppy’s nose. The dog should instinctively follow your hand with their nose, which will lead them to lower their shoulders and head downward. As you move your hand a little farther away, the dog’s elbows should follow, so that their body is on the floor.
- Give the treat and praise your puppy once their elbows touch the floor and they’re in the down position.
- Repeat this several times. You can stop giving the treat when you notice your dog is getting into the down position when you give the “lay down” or “lie down” command, but always give plenty of love when they do it.3>
How To Teach A Dog To Stay
The last of the “big three” commands, so to speak, is “stay.” Here are some tips on how to get your dog to stay whenever you want.
- Before you teach your dog to stay, you’ll want to teach them what’s known as a “release” word. This can be “free,” “come here,” or whatever you think is appropriate. With the dog in a standing or sitting position, toss a treat just in front of them. Say the release word as your pup moves forward for the treat. Do this until you can say the word first and then they move forward.
- Once the dog is familiar with the release word, get them in the “sit” position, and give a treat. Wait a few seconds, give another treat in the sitting position, and then use the release word. Wait a little bit longer, then do it again.
- Gradually start to increase the distance between you and the puppy. Put them in sit, say “stay,” and take a step backward. Step forward, give the treat, and then say your release word. Then take a few more steps backward and repeat. Eventually, your pup should stay whether you’re walking toward them or away from them.4
How To Teach A Dog Loose Leash Walking
So, now that you have the basics covered, it might be time to get a little more advanced and try loose leash walking. You’ll need to have some treats (put them in your pocket or a pouch you can attach to your belt or waist) and a 4- to 6-foot leash (non-retractable). Fit your pup in a comfortable harness, and you’ll be ready to go.5
Some pet experts recommend training with a walking stick, but that won’t be necessary with this training approach.
- Put a few treats in your left or right hand – whichever side you want your pup to be on while walking. Hold the leash with the opposite hand.
- Take one step and then stop. Keep the hand with the treats in line with the inseam of your pants and give them to the puppy.
- Repeat the exercise. But this time, take two steps instead of one.
- If your dog tries to pull you, stop and call them back to your side – without giving a treat. Take a couple of steps forward. Give a treat if the pup stays at your side. If they pull, stop again. Don’t give a treat until they show they will stay by you, not try to pull in front of you.6
Training Fun With Your Furry Best Friend
Hopefully, it won’t take too long before your beautiful puppy can learn some basic tricks. If you feel that it’s taking longer than it should talk to your vet. They may recommend you take your pup to a training class or have a trainer come to your home.