How To Teach A Dog Tricks

Everybody has at some point been impressed by a dog that has been trained to do tricks. Some of the things may look impossible and you may wonder how they even teach a dog to do that or if you could teach your dog to do that.

Well stop wondering! The answer is yes, you can teach your dog and it isn’t really that difficult in most cases.

Can you teach any dog tricks?

Yes, most dogs can be taught tricks if you use the correct techniques and have patience and dedication. Generally the older the dog is, the more difficult it is to teach him tricks but it just takes a little longer and most dogs will get theĀ idea eventually.

The more tricks you teach your dog the more their brain will develop and the more intelligent they will become.

How to teach dogs tricks

Teaching a dog a new trick is always completed using the same three parts.

  1. A cue. Usually a voice command tells the dog what you want them to do. SIT for example is a cue.
  2. An action. The actually trick. The sitting motion for example is an action.
  3. A reward. It is extremely important that he gets a reward for the trick, otherwise, why would he do it?

Sounds simple doesn’t it?

Where most people go wrong is in the timing. Timing is everything when you try to teach your dog tricks.

You need to understand that your dog doesn’t understand anything you say or do. He doesn’t understand that you shouting SIT or ROLL OVER means he needs to sit down or roll over.

You need to link that action to your words, then tell him with a reward that he did it right. The key is to that you only say your command as he is completing the action and NOT before he does it. If you state it before then he will link whatever he was doing at that time with the command.

For example, if you want your dog to sit, you would NOT say sit and then push his bum to the floor.

You would push his bum to the floor and as you are doing it say SIT, then give him his reward.

It sounds obvious when you read it but most people do not get the timing right because it isn’t intuitive, you just assume that you need to say it first.

And this is the philosophy with most simple tricks. It works every time, you just need to link the action to the word and then re-enforce it by practicing over and over.

Simple dog tricks

Here are some very simple dog tricks you can try using the methods above.

  1. Teach him to sit. The favorite and often the first trick a dog is taught is to sit on command. It is easy to do because dogs often sit down naturally if they are waiting for something. Get your treat at the ready and show him you have it. Gently push his bottom down to a sit position and say ‘SIT’ then give him his reward. Dogs will often pick this up extremely quickly and you should be seeing a result within a few hours.
  2. Teach him to lie down. Once you have taught him to sit the next step is to teach him to lie down. It is sometimes a little harder to do because often dogs don’t want to lie down. Most dogs will pick it up though. Use the same technique as above except gently try and lie him down and say ‘LIE DOWN’ as you do it.
  3. Give your paw. Another favorite is shaking hands. It is much easier if you have taught your dog to sit down because shaking hands will be easy for him to do. Show him you have a treat again and have him sit down. Then lift one of his paws up with your hand and say ‘PAW’ as you are doing it. Then give him the treat.


Any dog can be taught tricks you just need to remember these two things:

  • Timing is everything. Always say the command as he completes the action.
  • Consistency is key. You have to be consistent, dogs aren’t as intelligent as us, they have a poor memory and are easily confused.

Read on and find out how to teach your dogs all sorts of amazing tricks!