15 Easy Tricks to Teach Your Dog

Despite the old adage, it's never too late to teach your dog a new trick. In fact, dogs love the challenge of learning to do new things, as well as the inevitable treats as they are mastering them.

If you want to train your dog, it's important to have plenty of healthy treats on hand. Keep training sessions around 10 minutes long to prevent your dog from getting bored and make sure you tackle the basic tricks first.

When rewarding your dog after a successful trick, it's important to give them the treat quickly so they associate the behaviour with receiving food.

Below, we've explored leading pet websites to outline some of the easier tricks to teach your dog, but remember to be patient—some dogs take longer than others to learn.

Paw

Make sure your dog is sitting and hold a small treat firmly in your hand so they can smell it but not see it. Encourage your dog to try to get the treat. Most dogs will try to open your hand with their paw.

As soon as their paw touches your hand, open your hand and let them have the treat, praising as you give it. Repeat this several times and start adding a verbal command such as "paw" before you give them the treat.

Shake hands

Hold a treat just out of reach in front of your dog while it is sitting. While repeating the phrase "shake hands," tap one of your dog's front feet with your hand that is not holding the treat. Most dogs will raise their paw to try to get the treat.

As your dog raises its paw, catch it with your non-treat-holding hand and say the command "shake hands" again so the dog connects the action with the command. Repeat these steps until your dog automatically lifts his paw when given the command.

Dog tricks
Dogs love the challenge of learning new tricks Getty Images

Spin

Hold a treat in front of your dog's nose and slowly move it towards the side of your dog's head, so it has to turn its head to follow the treat.

Continue moving the treat all the way round your dog so it has to spin. Once it has completed the circle, give the dog the treat.

Add the command word "spin" before giving the treat.

Kiss

Dogs love to lick, so this can be a challenging trick to begin with. Hold a treat up to your face and say "kiss" to your dog.

Move your cheek towards your dog and wait until it touches your face with its nose. As soon as it does, move back before it licks you and give the dog the treat. If you do it quickly enough, your dog will learn to gently touch you with its nose to get food.

Dog tricks
Some dog breeds are more obedient than others Getty Images

Speak

Teaching your dog to speak on command is a cute trick, but it can be difficult for dogs with a tendency to bark. If your dog is particularly vocal, you may have to teach them the "quiet" command first, according to The Spruce Pets. This involves waiting for quiet periods after barking before praising and treating your dog.

To get your dog to speak on command, get them to bark naturally. As your dog barks, say your cue word - such as "speak" or "talk" - in a clear voice. Praise your dog and give it a treat or toy. Repeat this process several times until your dog understands.

Fetch

Choose a ball or toy that your dog loves and start by throwing it a short distance. Most dogs will instinctively chase the ball and pick it up. As soon as your dog picks up the ball, tell it to "come" and encourage it to return to you by speaking in a happy voice and praising it. When your dog comes to you, use the "drop it" phrase to get it to release the ball to you.

Dog tricks
If training with a toy, choose one your pet loves to encourage them Getty Images

Roll over

Get your dog to go into a "down" position in front of you and then hold a treat close to their nose. Gently turn their nose towards their shoulder by slowly moving your hand, containing the treat, to the side of their head.

As your dog's nose follows the treat, they'll flop onto their side. Reward them with the treat and plenty of praise. Keep repeating the move and add in the command "roll over" so they associate the behaviour with getting a treat.

Stand up

Get your dog to sit in front of you and then hold a treat parallel to its nose, the American Kennel Club advises. Gradually move the treat upwards and as your dog stands to reach it, praise your pet and give it the treat as a reward.

Use the verbal cue "stand" when your dog is upright and repeat.

Dog tricks
Low calorie, healthy treats are best for dog training Getty Images

Crawl

Get your dog to go into a "down" position and hold a treat in your hand so the dog can smell and lick it, but not quite reach it. Holding the treat in front of your dog's nose, slowly move it backwards so your dog is forced to crawl to reach it.

Praise your dog every few inches and give it the treat. Repeat the trick and make your dog crawl a little further each time before getting the food.

Memorial Day
Dogs enjoy the praise associated with learning tricks Getty Images

Slalom

The slalom is an impressive and fun trick that dogs love doing. Before trying it, make sure you have flexible poles specifically for training dogs to prevent them becoming injured.

Using four poles, hold a treat in front of your dog and encourage it to follow the treat through the slalom. When it reaches the end, reward your dog and give it plenty of praise. As you practice the trick, you can add more poles until you have a longer course.

Pick up toys

First, take one of your dog's toys and throw it across the room. Get your dog to fetch it and bring it back to you, while you hold a treat over its toy basket.

When your dog gets back to you with the toy, hold the treat directly over the basket and command it to drop the toy into the basket. Make sure you treat your dog quickly and give it praise.

Border-collie.08feb2016
Teaching your dog to fetch is a basic trick Manuela Hartling / REUTERS

Wave

Get your dog to sit and command it to shake a paw, but put your hand above the dog's head height, the pet website Barkily says.

Then, use the command "bye" when they attempt to shake your hand. Move your hand away and wave to your dog in an up and down motion. When you pull your hand back, your dog will miss it and wave in the air. When it does this, praise and reward the dog.

Lay down

With a treat in your hand, ask your dog to sit. Move your hand from your dog's nose towards their chest then straight down towards the floor. Use the word "down" as your dog is lowering itself to the floor. The RSPCA recommends practicing this a number of times in short, regular sessions.

Handstand

Teaching your dog to do a handstand is a fun trick, but it is only suitable for mature, adult dogs. Puppies can become injured by the pressure on their joints. According to the American Kennel Club, start by teaching your dog to mount a book with its hind legs. As soon as they do touch the book with a rear foot, praise and treat them, before encouraging the dog to put both back legs on the object.

Once your dog is happy to place both back feet on the object, move the object against a wall. You can then start to slowly increase the height of the object, for example, but stacking another book on top.

Eventually, your dog will use its body to lift his hind legs onto the top of the stack. You can then take the books away, then cue the behavior the same way you would as if the books were there. If your dog makes any effort to lift their rear legs onto the wall, reward them with a treat.

Play soccer

Get your dog interested in the soccer by messing around with the ball. Encourage your dog to chase you by calling his name and point at the ball while speaking in an excited voice. As soon as he picks up the ball, give him the treat and lots of praise.