New Year, New Tricks: 3 Easy Commands to Teach Your Dog
Training your dog to perform tricks does more than give you and your pet something to show off. You and your furry friend will have a chance to bond, and nothing pleases good boys or girls more than getting an opportunity to earn praise and rewards from their human parents. Learning to obey commands also gives your pet a positive way to direct energy and modify their behavior.
Three new dog tricks for the new year
Start the new year right with these fun, beneficial, and surprisingly simple dog tricks.
Go to their place
This command teaches your pet to visit a predetermined spot on command, like a dog bed, blanket, or mat. Choosing a movable "place" makes this command handy to use outside of the house and may even provide a way to coax your pup into their traveling crate. This invaluable trick is especially helpful for dogs who are easily excitable when visitors come over and need a gentle reminder to calm down.
- Pick a special spot in your house to be your dog’s “place”. Give the place a name (such a “place”, “mark”, or “spot”) for your dog to recognize later on.
- Start by pointing at your chosen location and calling its name.
- Whenever you give the command, and your dog investigates it’s new place, reward your pooch with praise and a treat.
- Continue to reward this desired behavior by offering additional rewards for staying in this place for several minutes.
- Teach your dog a release word that lets them know it's OK to wander away again.
- Pro Tip: Make your dog’s place enjoyable! Your dog doesn’t want to feel like they’re being banished to the corner every time you say, “Place.” Keep toys or a favorite blanket in the area so they don’t get bored.
Put away toys
If you and your pet resemble most dog-loving families, you probably have dog toys scattered all over the house and perhaps around the yard as well. Use these simple steps to teach your dog how to lend a helping paw with the household clean up:
- Choose a large box or basket to act as your dog’s toy chest.
- Gather your dog’s toys into a pile nearby.
- Offer the toys one by one to your dog. Once they take the toy, tell them to “Put it away” while guiding them to the toy box.
- Command your dog to “Drop it” into the toy box.
- Be sure to reward them after each successful attempt! Continue to evolve this command by having your dog retrieve toys that are already on the floor as well as ones that are farther away from their toy chest.
Run the course
Teaching your dog to weave between obstacles will ensure that your dog is the star of the dog park, but it can also serve as a great way to run off some pent up energy.
- Set up obstacles in a straight line, roughly 2-3 feet apart. The obstacles can be anything from cones to red Solo cups.
- Teach your dog to become familiar with weaving in and out of the obstacles by guiding them the first few times.
- Start by rewarding your dog after they successfully weave through each obstacle. Slowly decrease the amount of rewards as they gain confidence in their weaving pattern until they can complete the whole obstacle course by themselves without being guided.
Tips to keep training fun and productive
Always exercise patience. Some dogs won't pick up the trick on the first day, but most canines will get the idea after a few days of consistent effort. Whether your dog learns fast or slow, you can still enjoy the bonding experience.
Remember to keep calm and maintain a pleasant demeanor. Expressing frustration might make the dog anxious, making training less productive.
Keep your dog’s age and abilities in mind. As the American Kennel Club mentioned, puppies are no more like mini adult dogs any more than children are like miniature adults. Similarly, senior dogs may not have the memory or spry limbs to respond quickly to commands like a younger adult dog. Yes, you can teach old dogs new tricks and young dogs old tricks, but they might need some extra love and encouragement (and treats!) to help them along the way.
Most importantly, be quick about doling out treats. Offering prompt rewards ensures your pet associates obedience to your commands with treats and praise. Instead of feeding your dog table scraps or unhealthy treats, try a nutritious supplement like Multi-Plus Bites from Moe's Health Pets. These tasty bites are packed with vitamins and minerals to promote optimal wellness in your dog.