Dogs love learning new things every day. Mental stimulation is just as important as physical exercise. Teaching your dog new tricks is a fun way to incorporate mental training and bonding into your daily schedule.
Below is a list of 8 simple dog tricks for beginners to try at home.
Teaching new tricks will not only improve your dog’s ability to learn but will also make you a better handler in the process. Each time you train with your dog, he will be able to acquire new skills quicker and quicker. Many tricks are so easy that your dog will get many positive rewards which will boost his confidence as a result.
Tricks and commands don’t have to be difficult. As a new and inexperienced dog owner, you will have just as many options to choose from as veterans.
You probably haven’t heard about these creative dog tricks and yet they’re quite easy to follow. Every equipment can be made DIY.
1. Give a Hug
Giving hugs is such a cute trick to teach your dog and so easy for beginners. Your dog will be taught to wrap his paws around your shoulders while you are kneeling on the ground. It is best to train this trick when your dog is calm because otherwise, he will jump all over the place.
- Kneel down on the ground before your dog and put some treats in your hand. Show your dog the treats and move them towards your head to encourage your dog to lay his front paws on each of your shoulders.
- If he is calm enough, you can also gently grab his paws and place them where you wish. Reward him for each successful hug without jumping around.
- Only encourage a single jump towards you with his front paws on each of your shoulders. Discourage him from jumping up on you or other people while standing or not giving him the command.
- Once he learned to hug to get a treat you can then add your chosen cue as a command. A lot of practice will make this trick a great one!
2. Jump Through a Hoop
- Start by holding the hula hoop vertically to the ground while touching the floor. Guide your dog to one side and hold a treat in the other hand to lure him through the hoop.
- Really encourage him to walk through the hoop each time to get a treat. Repeat this step a few times.
- After this, you can lift the hoop a few inches off the ground, so your dog has to make a tiny hop to get through it. Repeat this step a few times.
- Slowly but gradually increase the height of the hoop and let your dog start from a further distance so he has enough space to make a jump.
- Once your dog gets the hang of it, you can then add a cue like “hoop” or “jump” as the command. Be very clear in your pronunciation and indicate your dog to jump through the hoop.
- The last step would be to take this training outside so your dog can make a real run-up and gracefully jump through the hoop.
For the advanced version of this trick, you can also form your arms into a hoop and use them instead. This will work best with small to medium breeds as a Great Dane usually won’t fit through your arms. Using your arms, you will be able to create a dynamic movement while your dog is jumping through them. You can watch the video below as reference:
This trick can be part of a dog agility course that you can create in your own yard. Luring your dog over, under, and through obstacles is a great way to exercise his mind while building up more confidence.
3. Take a Bow
Take a bow is a trick that any dog of any size can learn. After this training, your dog will be able to bend down onto his front elbows with his butt poking up in the air. It looks pretty adorable and makes it seem like your dog is doing yoga. You will only need your dog’s favorite treats for this.
- Start this trick by standing in front of your dog while holding a treat in one hand. Show your dog the treat and get him into a standing position.
- Lower the treat to the ground while luring your dog’s nose. Try to get to the floor as close as possible and release the treat once your dog’s head is near the ground.
- Wait a bit longer each time until you release the treat which will make your dog paw your hand. Gently push the treat between your dog’s legs to encourage him to bend down. Reward any movement of the elbows in the right direction.
- Your dog will get lower and lower each time you repeat this. You will want to get him moving after the bow so he won’t be tempted to get into a lie-down position.
- Once he has learned to drop his shoulders completely, you can add a cue like “bow down” or “take a bow” and slowly fade out the luring with the treats until he does it on command.
4. Ring a Bell
This is by far the easiest trick of this list and only requires some dog treats and a bell (obviously). Many dog owners use the bell to potty train their dogs. The bell is being used as a signal that the dog needs to be going outside but for this exercise, we will just be using the association of the bell with treats.
- Start by getting your dog into a sit position and place the bell in front of him.
- Ring the bell and throw him a treat. Repeat this a couple of times.
- Wait a bit longer each time until you ring the bell and give him the chance to do it himself. He will quickly learn that if the bell is rung, he will get a treat.
- Once he rang the bell for the first time, praise him and wait the next time for him to ring it as he now made the connection. You can add a cue like “ring” or “bell” every time he rings it.
And that is it. It’s so easy and if you have a puppy and want to know how the potty bell is being trained, check out the video below:
5. Figure 8
This dog trick is not as simple as the bell-ringing one before but still a beginner trick as it involves normal lure training. Figure 8 is a trick where the dog moves between your legs and walks around each leg to form the figure 8.
- Start with your dog standing in front of you and spread your legs wide apart.
- Take a treat into your right hand, lure your dog between your legs in order for him to come to the front of the right leg. Treat him every time he comes to the front.
- Switch the treat into your left hand, lure him from the right leg between the legs to the back and come to the front again. Now you have completed a figure 8 with your dog.
- Repeat this process many times and add your desired cue. You can then slowly fade out the luring until you only have to point to the right leg.
You can also train your dog to do the figure 8 while you are walking. For this, you will need to repeat the same process and just take one step with the leg your dog is currently going around and then with the other. So you will be slowly moving forward with your dog parkouring between your legs.
6. Hold an Object
Holding an object in a dog’s mouth without chewing or biting on it is a common task for service dogs and is often used in obedience training. For everyday life, your dog could learn to bring you the newspaper for example.
- Use a simple and medium-sized object to train your dog. Ask your dog to take it into his mouth and reward him for that. If your dog already has a cue for picking up objects, use it.
- While the object rests in your dog’s mouth, support it with your hand to keep it from dropping.
- Repeat this process of giving him the object a few times and slowly increase the time in which he has to hold it.
- Once your dog has learned to hold the object for a few seconds, add the cue “hold” to it.
- Decrease the amount of support you are giving the object and let him hold it in his mouth for 5 seconds. Do not reward chewing or dropping the object and just start over again.
- Your dog will eventually start to hold it on his own. While you are in the training process, always use the same object.
After your dog has completed the training, you can also ask him to “hold” other objects like a newspaper or the remote control.
7. Agility Weave Poles
For this one, you can either use old broomsticks and do it DIY (explained in my PDF below along with other possibilities for a DIY Agility course) or you buy these stable weave poles.
The PDF guide below will give you tips on how to build 5 DIY agility obstacles and how to use them.
Crawling is not a dog characteristic. Human babies are used to
Before you start teaching your dog to crawl, he will first need to learn how to lie down. If your dog doesn’t already know the command, read the first paragraph of this blog post and teach it to him.
- Stand in front of your dog and get him into a lie-down position. Squat down and show your dog the treat.
- Lay your hand with the treat down to the ground and lure your dog’s nose towards you.
- When your dog starts crawling just a bit, reward him immediately. If he gets up this means that you have gone too quickly. Stay really close to your dog’s nose and encourage him to follow your hand.
- Your dog will quickly pick up the behavior and crawl longer each time.
- Repeat this step many times until you add your wished cue.
- Increase the distance and give your dog the command to “crawl” towards you. Take a step back if he fails and slowly
Teaching your dog to back-up is a cool and very useful trick. When your dog is standing right in the doorway or is blocking the path for people, you can simply ask him to back up.
- Grab a treat and lure your dog’s nose towards his chest.
- When he looks down, keep moving it close to his chest which will make him go backward.
- Reward him for every step back and slowly increase the distance.
- Add the cue “back up” every time he walks back.
To make it easier and more rememberable for your dog, you can also place a mat on the floor behind your dog. Once his back paws touch the mat, you can treat him. Using targeted training is often more simple for you and your dog. Watch this video as a reference:
You can also try to incorporate tricks in your dog yoga routine where you both practice together to strengthen that bond!
BONUS: Professional Dog Tricks in Dog Shows
For those of you who are giving up too quickly or those wo are interested in what a dog can actually achieve in terms of tricks, check out the video below.
It’s a great demonstration of the mental accomplishments our canine companions can actually achieve. If you’re struggling with teaching a certain trick right now, don’t get frustrated. Sooner or later, your furry companion will come around. Clear communication and fun learning experiences are the keys to success.
If you want to find out more about mesmerizing dog tricks and routines, go down the rabbit hole and research Flying Disc competitions. It sure looks impressive and is fun to watch.
Make sure to challenge your dog but never go beyond exhaustion. If your dog’s breathing gets heavy or he starts to refuse to participate, you might want to evaluate the exercise level your dog gets (although too little exercise happens far more often).
Teaching your dog new tricks will heavily improve your overall bond with your canine companion!
Let me know in the comments which of these tricks you have tried and if you have other recommendations.