Obedience training is very important for puppies and dogs. It not only works to make them good canine citizens, but it also keeps them safe – a dog who knows how to sit and stay, for instance, isn’t likely to run out into traffic and get hurt or killed. The basics like “sit,” “stay,” “lie down” and “come” are essential for all dogs. But you don’t have to stop there – having a dog is fun, and there’s nothing more enjoyable than playing around with fun puppy tricks that you can teach your best buddy!
Here are some fun puppy tricks that I like, that I have tried, or that I’m going to try!
1. Give Kisses
This one is so easy to teach because almost all dogs will instinctively lick your hands or your face. All you need to do is add a verbal command to reinforce the behavior.
When your dog licks your cheek, praise him vigorously, and tell him “give kisses!” Then give him a treat. Then switch it up a bit – when he moves toward your face, pull away, and say “Give kisses!” Again, when he does, give him a treat. Pretty soon, he’ll get the idea that when you say “Give kisses!” you want a big slurp on your face.
2. Army Crawl
This is a really fun puppy trick, sure to impress your friends. Some dogs just naturally crawl, but if your dog needs a bit of help, work on teaching him to lie down. When he does, hold a treat in your hand, but keep hold of it so that he can see and smell the treat, but he can’t grab it.
If he stands up to try to get the treat, hold it away from him, and go back to putting him in the “down” position. Each time you do this, try to get him to crawl a little farther than he did before.
3. High Five
This is such a fun puppy trick, simple to teach and adorable to watch. First, put your dog in a sit, and give him a treat. Then, show him a treat, and hold it in front of him, but don’t let him have it.Tell him “High five!” while you reach over and touch one of his feet.
It’s pretty much a given that when you do this, your dog will raise up the foot you’ve touched in order to touch the treat in your other hand. When he does that, grab his foot, and tell him “High five” again. Then give him the treat.
Rinse and repeat. If you keep at it, ultimately your dog will lift his foot every time you say “High five.”
4. Pick Up the Trash
My Uncle Milton always used to say that there was no point in having kids if you couldn’t get them to work. I suspect that he would have felt the same way about dogs. So if you have a dog, and you’re of the same mindset, you can teach your dog to pick up garbage.
It’s actually a lot like teaching a dog how to play fetch. But instead of throwing a ball, as you would with the usual fun puppy tricks, throw a tin can, or a bit of paper towel. Tell your dog, “Pick up the garbage,” and if he doesn’t respond, walk over to him, pick up the item, and offer it to him. Praise him when he takes it in his mouth.
Next, work on “bring it” (meaning to the trash container) and “drop it” (meaning into the trash container). With enough work, your dog will grasp all three steps with the simple “Pick up the garbage” command.
5. YouTube is full of videos of dancing dogs
Usually small dogs like Chihuahuas and Shih Tzus. My friend Neila had a Rottweiler that loved to dance, though. Anytime he’d hear Billy Ray Cyrus’s “Achy Breaky Heart” on the radio, Dennis would stand up on his hind legs, put his front paws on Neila’s shoulders, and sway back and forth.
Okay, so Dennis had no taste in music, but he did love to dance!
He didn’t need to be taught; it just came naturally. But you can teach your dog to “dance” or “spin.”
The key to this most fun of puppy tricks is treats. Hold the treat a bit behind your dog’s head so that he stands up, and then move it around, so it’s in front of his nose. Move it around his head again – basically, make a circle. The dog will follow the treat around and appear to be dancing. Eventually, you’ll be able to take the treat out of the equation, and amaze your friends with how great a dancer your dog is!
You’ve probably seen videos on YouTube of skateboarding dogs, and for sure, some dogs are just naturals! It’s more likely, though, that your dog will feel a bit timid when doing this sort of trick. So you’ll need to start gradually when it comes to the skateboard.
The thing is, skateboards move fast, and they’re loud, and that can scare your dog. So you need to progress slowly. Show your dog the skateboard, and if he sniffs it or shows any other sort of interest, praise him. Then, spend some time just sitting with your dog, with the skateboard upside down, spinning the wheels. Don’t roll the skateboard toward your dog.
Every time he shows the slightest interest in the skateboard, though, give him a treat. Then, try very slowly to get him onto the board. You might have to lift him at first, and if you can get him standing on the board without trying to jump off, praise him like crazy! And give him a treat. Once he feels safe, roll the board back and forth very gently, all the while praising him.
As soon as your dog is happy with the “back and forth,” push the board ahead a little bit. Make sure, though, that your hands are always in a position to stop the skateboard if your dog becomes overly nervous.
Now, watch for the “I got this!” point. That’s when your dog indicates through his facial expressions and body language that he’s decided “This is way cool!” and he’s zipping down the sidewalk.
7. Play the Piano
You know how kids love to bang on piano keys, even if what they’re doing is totally tuneless? Dogs like to do that, too. So if you have a piano, why not let your dog play it?
It’s pretty easy. Just put your dog on the piano stool, and raise his hands to the keys. Praise and treat, and say “Play the piano.” Pretty soon, he’ll respond to the command without the treats. Just don’t expect him to come up with Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, or Chopin’s Polonaise in A Flat.
Nobody really expects their dog to be a gymnast, but almost any dog can do a handstand. It’s really easy for little dogs like Chihuahuas, since they have very small bodies and big heads, and that makes it easy for them to find their balance. A headstand is more difficult for a large dog like a German Shepherd, Great Dane, Rottweiler or English Mastiff, but it can still be done. You just have to proceed a bit slowly.
Here’s how it’s done – have your dog stand before thewall, with his hind legs raised on something like a stool. Then gently turn him over until he’s in the “hand stand” position. Be careful, though – you don’t want to hurt his back.
As you work through this exercise, you can add some height. Use a higher stool, or add something like a book or a concrete block to build the height. Make sure, though, that whatever you use, it won’t slip and cause your dog to fall.
You might need several sessions to achieve the handstand, but that’s okay. It’s not something you have to do, it’s just something that should be fun with your dog.
This is such a fun puppy trick, and so adorable. You know how you play peek-a-boo with your kids? You can do it with your dog, too.
Here’s how it’s done.
Take your dog’s paw in your hand, and put it over his eyes. Tell him “Peek-a-boo!” The rest is really simple – just keep doing it until your dog gets the idea that when you say “Peek-a-boo” you want him to raise his paw up over his eyes. Every time he gets it right, give him a treat.
10. Walk Backwards
Okay, I’m going to get serious here for a bit. “Walk backward” isn’t just a cute trick – it’s actually something that could save your dog’s life. First I’ll tell you how to do it, and then I’ll tell you why it’s so important.
Dogs don’t have a natural “reverse” gear, and they need to be taught to walk backward. So what you should do is position yourself in front of your dog, facing him and holding a treat. Walk toward him. He’ll probably naturally try to back off. When he does, say “Walk backward,” praise him and give him a treat.
Repeat as needed.
So, why should you do this? Well, it’s because you can’t always be sure what might be in front of your dog that could harm him. Perhaps you see a rattlesnake, or a bear trap, or some other hazard. If you can tell your dog “Walk backward,” he’ll be safe from whatever is in front of him. Makes sense, right?
11. Marge, Beer Me!
Okay, this one is just pure fun. I was watching “The Simpsons” with Janice and Leroy one night, and in the episode we were watching, Homer said “Marge, beer me!”
It never occurred to me that “beer” could be a verb!
I got thinking, though, wouldn’t it be fun if my dogs could bring me a beer?
It probably would have been easy to get Janice to do it – she’s a canine rocket scientist! But Leroy loves learning new things, and I like to do things that make him feel as though he’s special, so I went to work.
The first thing I had to worry about was the possibility of Leroy eating everything in the fridge once he got the door open. But it turned out he had a bit of self-control, and here’s how I did it.
First, I put his Kong toy in the fridge. I let him see that it was there. Then, I closed the door and attached a towel to the fridge door. I said “Leroy, where’s your toy?” and I opened the fridge and showed him.
“Bring the toy,” I said, and he did.
Then I got some rubber bands and tied the Kong toy to a beer can.
Yeah, I know, lots of effort, but it was fun!
Point being, Leroy brings me beer now. So excuse me. I have my brewski and my dogs, and I’m cueing up Netflix. Enough blogging for today!
The Final Word
I hope you’ve enjoyed these fun puppy tricks. Do you have any that you’d like to share? Leave a comment!