Tricks to Teach your Dog

Tricks help your dog to ‘learn how to learn’. If your dog can learn tricks, then he can learn obedience and good manners. Go ahead…have some fun with your dog and teach him a new trick!

The best way to teach a trick is to make it fun for him. Use praise and small treats to reward your dog.

Only practice new tricks for a few minutes at a time. You never want your dog to get bored when learning new things.

REMEMBER: Sometimes a dog will have trouble learning a new trick. There are dogs that don’t enjoy fetching items. Some dogs are born with more instinct to chase things and carry things in their mouths. If you’ve tried hard to teach your dog a new trick and he can’t learn it, give him a break and try another trick that’s easier for your dog

Shake Hands

Start by having your dog sit. Say, “Skake hands” and take his paw with your hand. Hold his paw and say, “Good dog!” and give him a treat. Let go of his paw. Do this a few time every day.

TIP: After a while say “Skake hands,” but don’t take his paw. See if he raises the paw by himself. If not, keep showing him what to do by saying, “Shake hands,” and taking his paw with your hand. Your dog is not slow; he is just learning!


Start by having your dog lie down. Hold a treat just in front of his nose and say, “Crawl.” Be very patient if your dog tries to get up, just don’t give him the treat. Slowly pull the treat away, keeping it low, near the ground and say, “Craaawl.” When your dog moves even a centremetre or two without standing up, treat and praise him and say, “Good dog! Craaawl.”

TIP: Your dog must know down before he can do this trick!

Play Dead

Have your dog lay down on his tummy. As you gently roll him over on his side, say, “Play Dead.” While he is lying on his side, keeping his head on the floor, say “Play dead.” Don’t give him a treat. Encourage him to stay their for a couple of seconds. Then say, “OK” and let him stand up and give him his reward.

TIP: You can use a treat to lure your dog into a lying down position. Don’t give the reward while he is lying down. Give him the treat after he has completed the trick.

Roll Over

Start by having your dog lie down on his belly. You can stand over him or kneel beside him. Using a treat, hold it near his nose and move it around and behind him, so that he follows with his nose and rolls over. Tell him what a great dog he is and give him the treat.

TIP: Only roll your dog on soft surfaces like carpet or grass so he doesn’t hurt his back. Some dogs don’t like to roll over. If your dog looks uncomfortable, try another trick.

Go Back

This is an easy one! Stand facing your dog and walk toward him, say “Go back.” He will want to get out of the way and will automatically walk backwards!

TIP: If your dog doesn’t walk back in a straight line, practice up against a wall or a narrow hallway. After your dog is walking backwards with you, try walking toward him only a step or two. Eventually, you will be able to stand still and say “go back.”

Take a Bow

With your dog in stand position, take a treat and hold it near the floor, under his nose. As your dog reaches down to get it (he may try to lie down), slip your hand under his belly to hold his rear end up. Hold him in that position and say, “Take a bow.” Keep the treat right by his nose, but don’t feed him. Stay there for just a second, release him with a word such as “OK” and feed him the treat.

TIP: If you feed your dog the treat while he is in the bowing position, in the future he won’t bow until he sees the treat in your hand. If he learns the treat comes later, he’ll be willing to perform for you without it right there all the time.


Your dog should already know how to shake hands before learning this trick. Face your dog and hold out your hand as if you are going to shake. When your dog lifts his paw to shake, don’t grab it, just pull back your hand and say “Wave.” Then give your dog a treat.

TIP: At first your dog may not lift his paw very high. But once he realizes that you’re going to give him a treat if he holds it up there, he’ll get it. You may have to encourage him a little with your hand so he thinks you are going to shake with him. Waving your hand a little may help to get his paw into a waving motion as well.