This week on the blog, we’re sharing a few easy-to-teach tricks for you and your pup to learn together. Dog training can be a fun way to keep your dog busy (and tired!) and take your mind off the strange things going on in the world.
We’re all about the positive rewards at The Village Pets, so we suggest rewarding positive behavior rather than punishing/shaming the behaviors you don’t want to see. Treats are great but excited verbal praise is always a good reward too! We recognize that all pups and families are different, so choose the method that fits your unique needs. Remember – dog training requires PATIENCE and it will be perfectly normal for these to take hours, days, or even weeks to perfect.
“Shake” or “Paw”
Chances are your dog already uses their paws to get your attention, but having a specific command associated with lifting their front feet is a great way to control the behavior and ensure they do not use their paws in excess. Start by lifting their paw while saying “paw” or “shake” or whatever you want the command word to be, and reward them while you pick it up. Slowly touch their paw less and less and begin rewarding them even if they hesitate to shake at first. Over time, they will associate lifting their paw with a treat and you’ll have yourself a shaker!
“Spin” or “Turn Around”
The goal is to get your dog to turn in a 360 degree circle. Start by holding the treat near their nose and while saying your command word, show them how they should turn. This might take awhile, and it’s best to send them in one direction at first. Like with shake, you should gradually provide less physical guidance and reward them as they begin doing the movement, even if they only turn halfway at first.
“Take a Bow”
From a standing position, hold a treat in front of your dog’s nose and slowly lower it to the ground while telling them to “take a bow.” Hold them down for a couple seconds and gradually stand up. When the entire movement is over, reward and praise them. This one can be tricky, so remember to be patient. If your fur ball is struggling, you can break it up into two separate moves and reward them for bowing low first and add the return-to-standing movement later on.
“Bed,” “Place,” “Mat,” or “Home”
The goal is to get your pup to move to a certain spot when they’re told. Start by luring your dog to the target and reward them whenever they touch it. Do this many times until they appear to connect the treat to the specific spot. Then, start encouraging them to lay down in that spot (this will encourage them to stay there when they’re told rather than running there, being rewarded, and immediately running away). Gradually you should be able to move further and further away from the spot while encouraging them to continue returning there everytime the command is given. Once your pup has perfected this command, you will be able to move the target (bed, mat, etc.) around the house and they should still associate the specific target with the intended command.
These are common commands but you can customize them however you’d like. Just be consistent. If you want your dog to learn “shake,” make sure to use that same word every single time. Simple, straightforward, and consistent commands work best.
If you have dog training tips to share, please add them to the comments below. Even better – if your pup can do fancy tricks, please send us videos! We would love to feature them on our social media pages and give them alllll the praise.