Tricks to Train Your Dog

Hey there, dog lovers! Are you and your furry companion ready to level up your playtime? Teaching your dog cool tricks is not only fun, but it’s also a fantastic way to boost their smarts, improve their behavior, and strengthen your bond. And the best part? It’s easier than you might think!

Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a professional trainer to get amazing results. With a few simple strategies and a whole lot of tail wags, any dog can learn some impressive moves. Let’s learn about Tricks to Train Your Dog and start training your dog right away.

The Secrets of Super-Dog Training

Before we dive into the tricks themselves, let’s unlock the secrets to happy and successful training sessions. Here’s what you need to know:

  • The Power of Positive Reinforcement:Ditch the scolding and focus on rewards galore! Every time your doggo does something right, go wild with praise, a delicious treat, or a quick game of tug. Positive reinforcement makes learning fun and encourages good behavior to keep happening.
  • Mastering the Basics: Think of commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “come” as your dog’s superpower building blocks. These basic commands are important for both safety and for learning more advanced tricks. If your pup needs a refresher, we’ll cover some great tips to get them up to speed!
  • Perfect Training Zone: Learning is easiest in a quiet, cozy space with few distractions. If your house is a bit too exciting, try carving out a smaller training zone using a baby gate or playpen. Bonus points if this zone has a comfy dog bed for well-deserved breaks.

Tricks to Kickstart Your Training Adventure

Alright, let’s get those paws moving! Here are five super fun tricks that most dogs pick up quickly. Remember, patience is key. Relax, have fun, and celebrate every little bit of progress!

Trick 1: Target Touch

  • What is it? Teaching your dog to touch a designated object with its nose. This trick opens up endless possibilities for more challenging moves!
  • Why it’s great: Improves focus and control, plus it gets those wheels turning in your pup’s head.
  • How to teach it:
  1. Hold a treat near your dog’s nose.
  2. Close your fist and slowly move it around.
  3. The second your pup sniffs or touches your hand, say “YES!” and give them the treat.
  4. Repeat, gradually increasing the distance between their nose and your fist.
  5. Introduce a target stick or use your open palm for a clear signal.

Trick 2: Go Find It

  • What is it? Your dog learns to search for and retrieve a hidden toy or treat using your guidance.
  • Why it’s great: Taps into those natural scavenging instincts, is mentally stimulating, and is a blast!

How to teach it:

  1. Show your dog their favorite toy and get them excited.
  2. Tell them to “stay,” then hide the toy partially within their sight.
  3. With a big smile, say “Go find it!” and encourage them to search.
  4. Praise big when they find it! Gradually increase the hiding difficulty.
illustration: A dog excitedly sniffing a toy hidden under a cushion.
illustration: A dog excitedly sniffing a toy hidden under a cushion.

Trick 3: Leave It

  • What is it? Your dog learns to resist the temptation of food, a dropped object, or something exciting.
  • Why it’s great: Impulse control is key for polite pups and can be a lifesaver in some situations (think yummy but unsafe snacks on the sidewalk!)
  • How to teach it: Check out a detailed breakdown in the table below!




Place a treat in each closed fist and present them to your dog. They’ll try to get the treats, but ignore them!


When they stop trying to get to the treats, give them lavish praise. Say “YES!” and open just one hand, giving them the treat as a reward.


Repeat steps 1 and 2, gradually increasing the time they need to ignore the treats before getting the reward.


Start opening one hand slightly (treat inside!), letting them see it. If they go for it, close your hand quickly. When they back away, say “YES!” and reward them from the other hand.


Gradually increase the opening of your hand and add a verbal cue like “Leave it.”


Time to Level Up Your Doggo’s Skills

Your canine companion is a star in the making! Now that they’ve nailed the basics, let’s add some wow-factor with these awesome intermediate tricks:

Trick 1: Close the Door

  • What is it? Your dog learns to gently nudge a door shut with their nose.
  • Why it’s great: This one’s practical, impressive, and fun! Perfect if you need a little extra privacy (or just want to show off).

How to teach it:

  1. The helper: Start with a helper on the other side of a slightly open door, ready with a treat.
  2. Target practice: Have your dog touch a sticky note (their target) on the door with their nose. Reward each touch.
  3. Increase the distance: Move the sticky note further away. Have your helper reward each nose nudge that moves the door.
  4. Fade the target: Gradually remove the sticky note, rewarding any attempt to push the door with their nose.
  5. Add the cue: Start saying “close the door” as they perform the behavior.

Trick 2: Put Away Toys

  • What is it? Your pup becomes your little cleanup helper, learning to pick up and put toys in a designated basket.
  • Why it’s great: Teaches tidiness, responsibility, and gives your dog a sense of purpose (plus it saves you a chore!).

How to teach it:

  1. Familiar object: Start with a favorite toy or something easily grabbed.
  2. Hold and drop: Hold the toy and say “take it.” Praise them for biting/holding it. Then say “drop it” and gesture towards the basket. Reward heavily when they drop it in!
  3. Increase the distance: Gradually increase the distance between your dog and the basket before the “drop it” cue.
  4. New toys: Time to generalize! Introduce different toys for them to clean up.

Trick 3: Play Dead

  • What is it? Your dog strikes a dramatic pose, playing dead on cue.
  • Why it’s great: It’s a crowd-pleaser! It also requires focus and control.

How to teach it:

  1. Down: Start with a solid “down” command.
  2. Rollover cue: Gently lure your dog onto their side using a treat. Say “play dead” as they roll.
  3. Reward and repeat: Each time they roll onto their side, mark it with “YES!” and give a yummy reward.
  4. Stay: Gradually increase how long they have to stay in the “play dead” position before getting their reward.

The Benefits of Training

Teaching your dog cool tricks is amazing, but guess what? The rewards go way beyond impressing your friends. Here’s what trick training does for you and your furry sidekick:

  • Boosts Brain Power: Learning new things keeps your dog mentally sharp, which is especially important for senior dogs. It can even help prevent boredom and reduce problem behaviors.
  • Strengthens the Bond: Working together on tricks builds trust, communication, and a stronger connection between you two. Think of it as quality time with a side of awesome!
  • Improves Behavior: Trick training promotes focus, impulse control, and teaches your dog to look to you for guidance. This can translate to better overall manners and easier everyday life.


Amazing job, you two! Whether you’ve mastered one new trick or a whole bunch, you should be incredibly proud. The journey of teaching and learning with your best furry friend is one of the most rewarding adventures. Remember:

  • Every dog can learn: Don’t be discouraged if progress seems slow. Keep training sessions positive, focus on small wins, and have fun!
  • Celebrate success: Shower your dog with love and praise after every training session, no matter how small the accomplishment.
  • The possibilities are endless: The world of dog tricks is your oyster. Explore new ideas, get creative, and most of all, enjoy this special bonding time with your furry Einstein!

FAQs – Tricks to Train Your Dog

What are the easiest tricks to teach my dog first?

Start with the basics! “Sit”, “Stay”, “Down”, and “Come” are the building blocks for so many other tricks. Once those are mastered, try simple but fun ones like “Shake”, “High Five”, and “Spin”.

My dog gets frustrated easily. How can I help them stay motivated?

Keep sessions short and upbeat! Focus on tiny steps and reward the smallest progress with treats, praise, and extra playtime. If your pup seems tired, take a break and try again later.

How long does it take for a dog to learn a trick?

Every dog learns at their own pace! Some pups pick up new tricks in a few sessions, while others need more practice. Be patient, stay positive, and don’t be afraid to break tricks into smaller steps for easier success.

How do I know if my dog is enjoying trick training?

Look for happy body language! A wagging tail, excited panting, playful barks, and bright eyes are all signs your dog is having a blast. If they seem stressed (ears back, yawning, cowering), give them a break.

Can I teach my older dog new tricks? Absolutely! Trick training is great mental exercise for dogs of all ages. Just be patient, break things into small steps, and go at their pace. Your senior doggo will love the extra attention and bonding time!

Can I teach my older dog new tricks?

Absolutely! Trick training is great mental exercise for dogs of all ages. Just be patient, break things into small steps, and go at their pace. Your senior doggo will love the extra attention and bonding time!

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