September 30 is National Pet Tricks Day! Why a national day dedicated to teaching your dog a trick? Well, we aren’t sure. But we do know any time you can spend quality time with your dog (by teaching them a new trick), is a good thing. We embrace the opportunity to teach our dogs new tricks. We have the easy details on how you can teach your dog these new tricks. This will be a great way to spend bonding time with your dog. And the bonus is your dog will love showing off these new tricks (especially if they are rewarded!). Read on for 5 easy tricks they can learn today!
According to National Day, Pet Tricks Day was created by Joe Nutkins, a dog trainer. He created this day as a way to spend some quality time with your pet. While you can teach any pet a trick or two, this post is dedicated to the dog lovers out there who want to teach their dog a new trick.
The great thing about tricks is that they require concentration on the part of you and your dog. For an active dog, this mental stimulation is the equivalent of exercise. It’s a must for those dogs who need to be stimulated and always want to do something.
For those dogs who are older, or showing signs of not being interested in learning, there may be some underlying conditions causing your dog to act this way. Joint pain from arthritis in dogs is the #1 source of pain for most dogs. Surprisingly, 80% of dogs will have joint pain associated with arthritis in dogs by the time they are age 8. For some dogs, 20% of them will have signs of arthritis by the time they are 1 year old.
The reality is, no matter what age your dog is, it’s a great time to teach them a new trick. What you might learn as you assess their ability to learn, will help you know your dog better too.
What to Do Before You Teach Your Dog a New Trick
Here are the things you should gather before you set out to teach your dog a new trick. If you gather everything up at once, you are ready to go. Rather than having to get up and break your dog’s concentration because you forgot something.
Be sure you have:
- Plenty of treats. Smaller treats are ideal so you don’t load your dog up on a lot of food. You can use small treats, small pellets of food, or even break up Glyde Mobility Chews for a healthy treat that is also good for their joints!
- Plenty of room. Depending on the size of your dog, you may want to move furniture around to give yourself plenty of space.
- A quiet place, with distractions at a minimum. If you have the television on and the family is getting ready for dinner, this is not the time to teach your dog a new trick. Be sure there isn’t much going on, so your dog won’t lose focus on the tasks at hand.
- Your dog is excited to please you. It may take more than a couple of minutes to teach them these tricks. Pack your patience and remember to reward and praise often so they know the behavior you are looking for.
Once the trick is complete, celebrate and reward. And remember, repetition is the key! Spend a bit of time every day so the trick becomes a habit.
Here are 5 Easy Tricks to Teach Your Dog Today!
How to Teach Your Dog to "SIT!"
Every person wants their dog to sit. It’s a basic technique that is easy to teach. What you do to get your dog to sit is simply move your dog in the sit position by letting them see the treat, then move it over their head until they are in a SIT position. As soon as you get them to sit, be sure to mark the behavior with a positive response, both verbal and in the form of a reward. Simply say, “Good dog!” and then give them their treat is a reward.
Here's a video demonstration on how to teach your dog to "Sit!"
How to Teach Your Dog "DOWN!"
Once your dog knows how to SIT, you might want to transition to the DOWN position. To do this, you take the treat from high to low, almost on the floor to get them to move down to the treat. Keep reinforcing the trick with the word of what they are doing: "Down! Down!" and don't release the treat until they are down far enough for you to accept as "Down." When they are laying down, you reward them. There is a video below that illustrates how to move down, then roll over.
How to Teach Your Dog to SHAKE
Once you have mastered the SIT position, you can move easily to SHAKE. The key here is to keep the treat in your hand, closed. Your dog will know the treat is in your hand. It may take some moving around, but your dog wants that treat. At some point, it will be in their instinct to tap your hand with their paw. Sometimes this trick is easier to do with two hands: one with the treat, the other trying to lift their paw or get it in a position where they lift their paw to meet your hand. When they do, shake it and reinforce what they did with the reward words. “Shake! Good Dog!” Then, offer your treat of choice. Repeat until they have the behavior down that what they are doing is the trick “Shake!”
How to Teach Your Dog to HIGH 5
This trick is super simple if you've mastered the SHAKE trick. It's just a different form of paw connection with your hand. When your dog is going for the treat, he knows if he taps your hand, he will get it. You just have to change the position to a high 5 and tell your dog, " High 5!" so they know what they are doing. Keep repeating until they understand. It won't take as long as you think!
Here's a great video on how to teach your dog to SHAKE & HIGH FIVE!
How to Teach Your Dog to STAND
This might be more advanced for larger dogs to put all their weight on their hind legs. If they aren’t used to being in this position (if they don’t jump up), then this might be a harder trick. For most dogs, the opportunity to get up on their hind legs and not be told to get DOWN is a welcome relief. To get your dog to do this, start with your treat in your hand and give the command: “Up!” or “Stand” with the movement of your hand going up. If you have the treat within your hand held high, your dog will want the treat and it’ll be a natural move for them to jump up on their hind legs. Once they do, be sure to remind them of the trick, then reward them for doing it: “Stand up! Up! Good dog!”
Here's a great video on how to teach your dog to STAND!
How to Teach Your Dog to ROLL OVER
If your dog has learned the DOWN position, the next trick for them is to ROLL OVER. If you haven't noticed the theme here, the trick is to make your dog move to get the treat you are offering. This trick is a bit more advanced, but remember your dog aims to please, so just be patient. From your DOWN position, you are going to move the treat over to your dog's shoulder. This will make them turn their head and eventually have to flip over to get the treat. This trick is a combination of gradual movements from DOWN, to turning and turning until they have flipped over. The whole journey you should reward with positive words (yes!) and then when they have successfully rolled over, celebrate big with lots of praise and the treat of choice.
Here's a great video that takes you through the DOWN position and then into the ROLL OVER trick.
And there you have 5 easy tricks to teach your dog during #PetTricksDay! We actually gave you 6 tricks, just in case your dog struggled with one! Good luck and enjoy time with your dog!