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    7 Fun New Tricks to Teach Your Dog

    Authored by Jennon Bell Hoffman

    Once your dog has mastered the basic sit, stay, and come commands, why not try building off those skills with fun tricks that’ll impress your family and friends?

    When teaching your dog new commands, you need to be patient, ready to provide a lot of praise, and—most of all—armed with tons of treats . And remember: Keep training sessions short and positive.


    1. Teach your dog to ‘kiss’ on command

    According to the American Kennel Club, some dogs are natural kissers and don’t need much prodding to slobber your cheek. If you want a more predictable reaction and a fun trick, try this:

    • Dab a small amount of peanut butter or another favorite spreadable food on your finger and let your dog lick it off. Then dab a small amount on your cheek and say, “Give a kiss,” (or another chosen verbal cue—just keep it consistent) and turn your cheek to face them. Then reward your dog with praise and treats.
    • When your dog does this reliably, say, “Give a kiss,” without peanut butter or treats so that they learn the verbal cue. As always, praise their efforts.

    2. Help Fido learn to play dead

    This trick is the first half of the roll over command and starts with the down position (front paws down), so make sure your dog has already mastered that before moving on.

    • Tell your dog to go into the down position. Kneel in front of them and hold a small treat in your hand on one side of your dog’s head, near their nose. You want your dog to want to investigate the treat.
    • Slowly move your hand from the side of the head across to the dog’s shoulder. Your dog should follow and lay flat on their side. Repeat a few times and pair each movement with the cue “Play dead.”
    • After a few repetitions, have your dog hold the position before giving them the treat and use a release word, such as “OK” or “All done.”

    3. Train Your companion to roll over

    This trick involves mastering a few steps, so take the training slow and praise your dog for each part of the completed sequence.

    • From the down position, hold a favorite small treat in your hand on the side of your dog’s head, near their nose.
    • Slowly move your hand from the side of the head to your dog’s shoulder. Your dog should follow into lying flat on their side. This is the “playing dead” position—if your dog knows this already, they may stop here to wait for the treat.
    • Continue by moving your hand with the treat from your dog’s shoulder to their backbone. Your dog should follow the treat by rolling onto their back.
    • Once your dog masters following the treat to a full roll over, you can add the verbal cue of “Roll over.” Continue practicing with the hand movement and treat until only the verbal cue is needed.

    4. Teach your canine how to spin

    This trick is similar to “roll over” in that the dog will follow the treats in your hand to make a full rotation.

    • Start your dog in a standing position and make sure you have their full attention.
    • Hold a treat in your hand above the dog’s nose and slowly make a large circle in the air just above their head. Your dog should follow your hand.
    • Continue drawing a circle until your dog gets used to the entire movement. Give plenty of treats and praise when they complete a circle.
    • After mastering the circle a few times, add the verbal cue “Spin” or “Spin around.” Once your dog is good reacting to the verbal cue and completing the circle, you can start to add more rotations before giving the treat.
    • After several successful rotations, use only the hand movements without treats. After practicing that, you can try only using the verbal cue. Don’t forget to heap on the praise after each iteration.

    5. Teach Rover to jump over jeople

    This moderately difficult trick teaches dogs to jump over people, not on people. Before attempting this trick, be sure that your dog can comfortably handle jumping over a stick or bar at least 25 inches off the ground.

    • Have a family member or friend get into a tabletop position on their hands and knees on the ground. Have another helper hold a stick above the person on the ground. If the dog won’t jump over the stick (and person), have the person lay flat on the ground and lower the stick. Pair the jumping action with the verbal cue “Jump” or “Leap.” Treat after every jump.
    • Increase the height of the stick as your dog’s confidence grows. Once they can comfortably jump over the person and stick, remove the stick. Shower your pooch with praise and treats after each successful attempt.

    6. Instruct your dog to sit pretty

    This trick teaches your dog to stand up on their hind legs or sit tall on their haunches. Many dogs will naturally flop their front paws forward to counterbalance, which is why this trick is sometimes called “the beg.”

    • Start your dog in a sitting position and slowly raise a treat in front of them. Your dog will naturally follow the treat with its head until it needs to pull their body up to continue to follow.
    • Allow your dog to rest their front paws on your arm until they find their balance and can hold the standing position for a few seconds. Pair the action with a trigger phrase, such as “sit pretty” or “beg” so the dog makes the connection between the movement and the treat.
    • Remember to go slowly and gratuitously reward your dog every time they hold the position.

    Bonus: “Sitting pretty” is not only very cute, but this trick is a good stretch for dogs and helps strengthen their muscles.

    7. Command your dog to bow

    Teach your canine to bow with these simple steps.

    • Start your dog in a standing position. Put a treat in your hand and show the dog so they know what to look for.
    • Move your hand from the dog’s nose to the space between their front legs, toward its belly.
    • As soon as your dog bows down, get them moving again so they don’t lay down. This will require some repetition and a lot of praise.
    • After your dog can bow down repeatedly, do the hand movement without a treat. Add a verbal cue, such as “Bow down” or a visual cue, like a curtsy. Reward your dog with treats and praise for completing the action.