When you think of tricks to teach your dog, you probably go through the basic “sit,” “stay,” “lay down,” and “roll over” commands. However, there are so many tricks you can teach your dog in just one day! I’ve compiled a list of the three easiest tricks to teach your dog and how you can get them to master them in a matter of minutes.
Teaching your dog “spin” is perhaps the easiest trick you can teach them. You can couple a handle signal with this trick as you go for added ease and heightened communication between you and your dog. To begin, place a treat or toy in front of your dog’s nose. As soon as they become interested, draw their nose around their body to make a circle. At first, your dog may not want to follow the treat. Bending around to the side is not a position they often find themselves in. To counteract this, keep the treat close to their nose to keep them interested.
If your dog will not make a complete circle right away, that is totally fine! Reward them in small intervals for just turning their head towards their back a bit. Then try a bit farther, such as a 180-degree turn. Then, aim for the full circle to complete the spin trick! To make this more advanced, you can also teach them to spin the other way by attaching whatever phrase you would like. Remember to reward them with “Yes!” and say the command “Spin” when asking for this behavior.
As with all commands, your dog may take some time to correlate the word “spin” with the turning motion you are asking of them. A good way to help them understand is to use a clicker during training to mark the movement with the click, followed by a treat. Using hand signals is also a good way to communicate your request with your dog as they primarily rely on body language as their main form of communication.
“Touch” begins as a very simple command that can be generalized in numerous ways throughout training. To teach your dog “touch,” rub a smelly treat or food on your hand. The movement your dog places their nose to your hand, reward them with “Yes!” and a treat from your other hand. Repeat this for a couple of rounds so that they associate touching your hand with a reward.
As you practice, begin moving your hand farther away from your dog’s nose so that they must come towards you to make contact with your palm. As you increase the distance, your dog is more likely to become distracted, so it is important to make sure your dog follows through with a full touch to your hand.
After your dog has a good handle on touching your palm (which can be accomplished in a matter of minutes!), you can begin to ask your dog to touch other items with their nose. To accomplish this, hold an object in your hand that is flat, such as a container lid or a piece of paper. When they touch this item, reward them. Then, begin positioning the item farther in your hand, towards your fingertips. Repeat this until your dog is willing to touch the item when it is on the ground.
“Paws Up” and “Off”
Now, this may sound counterintuitive if you have a dog that jumps a lot, but I promise you, teaching your dog “up” is just the flipside of teaching them “off” or “down.” You can use “up” in various situations, such as having your dog jump up in the backseat of the car or getting on the bed to cuddle with you. Because yes, there is nothing better than having a well-manner pup cuddle with you during a rainy nap.
To teach “up,” grab a short stool or chair. If the object is slippery or a material you want to keep clean, you may want to place your training mat or a towel on top before inviting your dog to put their paws on it. Get your dog interested in a treat, and then slowly guide them towards the object you have placed out. Lure them to put their feet up on the object by tapping on it and holding the treat so that they would need to place their paws up to get to it.
Once your dog has placed its feet on the object, say “Yes!” and reward them. If they already know “wait” or “stay,” this is a good time to ask them to hold their position. Then, ask them for “off” and lure them away with the treat. The second all four of their paws are on the ground, reward them with “Yes!” and a treat. Repeat this several times, using both cues for “up” and “off.” You can use “off” in all situations you can think of, such as jumping on the couch or jumping up towards the counters.
There are even more tricks you can teach your dog in one day, but the important thing to note when teaching anything is always to keep your environment in mind. Your dog will do a lot better at “off” with you in the kitchen versus meeting someone new at a party. Keep up with each of these commands and train with increased distraction levels to have some rock-solid tricks and general obedience!