Nothing comes close to the unconditional love you get from your dog. They can keep you company and they can keep you entertained, and they do all this expecting nothing in return.
No matter how bad a day you’ve had, you can always expect to come home to a jumping, licking and excited bundle of joy that has patiently waited for you all day. Dogs, as we know, love to please and a great way to bond with them and keep them sharp is teaching them new tricks.
We created this list assuming you’ve got the basics like sit, down and stay mastered. So, if you’re looking for some fun things to do with your dog, and to take their skills to the next level, check out these new tricks you can teach your dog!
23 Fun Tricks to Teach Your Dog
Just as it sounds, this trick involves getting your dog to extend their paw to you and “shake” your hand. This is one of the easiest tricks to teach your dog as many will perform this action innately.
In order to teach your dog the ‘shake’ trick, start by having them sit down in front of you. Once they are sitting, hold out your hand and say the command ‘shake’. When they inevitably put their paw in your hand, give them a treat. Repeat this process until they begin to paw at your hand when you say the command without needing a treat.
Also known as “Target,” this trick involves getting your dog to bump their snout against a specific point — could be your hand or could be a particular object. It can also be an important building block to some more advanced tricks like turning on/off a light switch.
3. Sit Pretty
This tricks involves your dog sitting on their hind legs and balancing, while reaching their front paws up in the air.
To start, have your dog sit in front of you and offer them a treat. Once they take the treat, slowly lift it up above their head while saying “sit pretty”. As they follow the treat with their eyes, they should naturally start to balance on their hind legs. If they lose their balance and fall back onto all fours, that’s okay! Just try again and keep practicing until they can stay in the “sit pretty” position for a few seconds at a time.
Once your dog has mastered the basic “sit pretty” trick, you can add some variations to make it more challenging. For example, try holding the treat out to the side so that your dog has to twist their body to reach it. Or see how long they can stay in the “sit pretty” position without moving or falling over.
One of the most fun tricks you can teach your dog is to speak on command. This is a great trick for those who want to show off their dog’s obedience, and it’s also a cute party trick.
5. Play dead
When your dog is playing dead, he will be lying on his side with his legs outstretched, head turned to one side, and he will have a relaxed expression on his face. To get your dog into this position, start by having him lie down on his side. Then, gently push on his hips until his legs are outstretched. Next, take a treat and hold it near his nose. When he smells the treat, he will likely turn his head to look at it. Once his head is turned, simply let go of the treat and allow him to enjoy it.
If your dog is having trouble staying in the play dead position, you can help him by lightly pressing down on his shoulders. Once he is in the correct position, be sure to give him plenty of praise and treats so that he knows he is doing something right. With a little practice, your dog will be a pro at playing dead!
A fun variation of this trick that our Harley used to perform is pointing at your dog and saying “Bang,” followed by them lying down and putting their legs up in the air.
6. Balance a Treat/Catch a Treat
This trick involves getting your dog to balance a treat on their snout, wait for your command, and then flip the treat into their mouth.
It is very impressive to watch and not that difficult to master for many dogs.
To get started, hold their snout gently in your hand and make sure that their head is level. Place the treat on their nose repeating “Wait” or “Leave it” while slowly backing your hands away. When they are able to leave the treat as it sits for a second or two, remove the treat and give them a different one. As they get the hang of letting the treat stay you can move your hands farther away and let it sit for longer and longer.
Once they are pros at holding a treat on their nose and not trying to eat it, you can introduce a release command like “OK,” allowing them to eat the treat. Most dogs will instinctively try to flip the treat up and swipe it right out of the air. With a little bit of practice you’ll be amazed at how proficient they become at it!
7. Roll over
This trick is just as it sounds, teaching your dog to get down onto the floor and roll completely over – back to belly.
The easiest way to teach this trick is by starting in the “Down” position. Next, take a treat and hold it above their head and to the side while saying “roll over.” As they keep reaching for the treat, their body will naturally roll over onto their back. Give them the treat and praise them when they succeed!
If your dog is having trouble rolling back over on their own, you can help them out by gently pushing on their back while they’re in the process of rolling over until they get the hang of making it all the way around in one fluid motion.
You may think of this as a game and not a trick, but with some imagination it can definitely be both. Instead of repeatedly tossing a ball or toy just for fun and exercise, you can take the same concept and teach your dog to go get something and bring it back to you. This is a crucial skill for many service dogs as they will go and get all sorts of things for their owners.
To get started your dog should already be familiar with the fun version of “fetch” and the concept of bringing something to you. Your dog will also have to get to know the name of an object that you want them to be “fetching.”
To get them familiar with the name of whatever they will be fetching, hold it in your hand or point to it by repeatedly saying the word. Also make sure to let them give it a good sniff! Once you have done this a few times place the object near them and back away. Encourage them to bring it to you by using the “Fetch” command. If your dog makes a movement toward the object make sure to verbally praise them. If they pick it up offer a treat to entice them to bring it over to you. Once your dog has done this a handful of times they will likely have the hang of it and you can start expanding their knowledge of different object that they will bring to you!
This trick is sure to impress, but can truly be a lifesaver as well.
Jumping is a common behavior in dogs, and it can be both fun and frustrating for owners.
If you want to teach your dog to jump on command, however, start by setting up something for them to jump over like the agility apparatus in the video below. Most dogs will do this pretty easily if you guide with a treat or toy and you do it with them. Once they are comfortable with the action they should be able to do it on command and you can work on increasing the difficulty of the jump.
10. Spin in a circle
This is a relatively simple trick that can be taught with just a few minutes of practice each day. To get started, stand in front of your dog and hold a treat close to their nose. Slowly start to move the treat in a circular motion around their head. As they follow the treat with their eyes, they should start to turn their body in a circle. Once they have made one or two complete rotations, give them the treat and praise them enthusiastically. Now introduce the “Spin” command as you do this. Over time you can drop the holding out a treat portion until they spin on command.
To teach your dog to crawl, start by getting them in a down position with their legs extended in front of them. Next, use a treat to lure their nose towards the ground between their front paws. As they lower their head to get the treat, their body should follow and they will start crawling. Keep luring them with the treat for several steps. Once they reach where you want them to go, give them the treat and lots of praise!
12. Take a bow
To get your dog to take a bow, start by holding a treat in front of their nose and slowly guiding it diagonally back against them and toward the ground. This will get your dog used to shifting their weight as necessary for the trick.
One of the most difficult aspects of this training is getting your dog to remain standing and not lie down completely. See the video below for a great technique to accomplish this goal!
13. Howl on Command
Slightly different than “speak” (and usually more difficult to train), the goal of this trick is to get your dog to howl instead of bark.
To start you will want to make a howling noise yourself, using a high-pitched tone that is different from your normal voice. You can also try playing sounds like below which will catch most dogs attention and get them to respond. Be sure to praise and reward your dog when they imitate your howl!
If your dog does not immediately respond to the cue, try making the howling noise again, this time with more enthusiasm. You may also need to show your dog what you expect by holding their muzzle and helping them make the noise. With patience and practice, most dogs can learn to howl on command.
Teaching your dog the “Place” command, also known as “Spot”, “Bed”, and “Settle”, is a simple yet vital trick that all dogs need to know. It’s often used as a polite way to have your dog lay down and wait–until given a release command.
This is perfect for scenarios in which you need to keep your dog away from certain situations for the safety of themselves, or the safety of others.
15. Putting away their toys
This is a great trick to impress your friends and family, and it’s also a great way to keep your home clean and tidy.
To teach your dog this trick, start by gathering all of their toys together in one place. Then, have your dog sit in front of you and hold one of their toys in front of them. Say the cue word “put away” and then drop the toy into a basket or box. Repeat this process with each of your dog’s toys until they are all put away.
Next hand them a toy and hold the basket in front of them while directing them to drop it in. Praise them when they release a toy into the container. Now, gradually, encourage them to pick up a toy on their own and drop it into a basket sitting on the floor. Soon your dog will have the hang of it and be able to carry toys across the room to their proper place!
Once your dog has mastered putting away their toys, you can add a little bit of difficulty by having them put away their toys by name, or by color. This trick is sure to impress anyone who sees it!
16. Giving kisses on command
To teach your dog to give kisses, start by getting them in a sitting position. Then, take a treat and hold it close to their nose. As they try to sniff the treat, guide their head up so their lips make contact with your cheek or hand.
When they do this, give them the treat and lots of praise. With some practice, your dog will learn to associate the action with the command “give kisses” and will happily perform it on cue!
17. Turning lights off and on
Start by having your dog sit or lie down in front of the light switch. Once your dog is in position, use the “touch” or “target” command on the switch to get them to push it up or pull it down. With a little practice, your dog will be flipping switches like a pro!
18. Ringing a bell to go outside
Ringing a bell to go outside is a great way to train your dog to let you know when they need to pee or poop. All you need is a small bell (like the ones used for decoration) or a smart bell and some patience.
Here’s how it works:
1. Hang the bell by the door that you use most often to take your dog out.
2. Whenever you take your dog out, make sure to ring the bell before opening the door.
3. Once your dog is done going potty, praise them and give them a treat.
4. Repeat this process every time you take your dog out, and gradually encourage them to “ring” the bell by nudging or pawing it before heading out.
5. With consistent training your dog will start to ring the bell on their own when they’d like to go outside.
19. Walk Backwards
If you think this sounds thoroughly entertaining, you would be right. It’s not much more than a fancy party trick, but a lot of dogs love doing it once you help them get it right.
This trick is not only impressive, but it’s also a great way to get some exercise for both you and your pup. To get started, simply have your dog stand in front of you and give the command to “walk backwards,” while you walk toward them. Most dogs will start walking backwards as you start to bump into them, and be sure to encourage this with positive reinforcement such as treats or verbal praise.
Once your dog has mastered walking backwards, you can even add in some turns or figure eights to make the trick even more impressive.
20. Wipe Paws
Here’s a trick that can actually help make your life easier.
Just imagine, your dog wiping their paws before coming inside! This is especially useful during those rainy and muddy days. All you need is a towel or piece of cloth and some tasty treats.
This one is for more than just impressing your friends. Doing a handstand may actually be great for your dog. Think of it as yoga or exercise for the little puppy.
Not all dogs are built for something like this and you may have to help the dog gain upper body strength before you attempt this. To start, gently take his feet and place it on the wall when he arches his back. Be very careful and take it slow if you want to attempt this trick.
22. Open and Close Doors
Be careful with this trick. It’s a crucial skill for service dogs and a great skill to have for a dog in case of an emergency, but you have to make sure they won’t use it to open the door and get out of the house easily.
TIP: Tie a tug toy or a rope on the handle so that your dog doesn’t have to keep jumping onto the door and damaging it and tie it up at night so he can’t get out without you knowing.
You’ve probably seen a dog skateboard on TV or on YouTube. These videos are amazingly popular, and with good reason. Some breeds such as pugs and bulldogs are the ideal size and frame for skateboarding. Your dog will need to have a certain personality to even attempt this however, and you’ll definitely have to take things slow! But just think of the attention you’ll get when people see your pup cruising around the neighborhood.
We hope that this list of cool dog tricks has sparked your imagination and inspired you to get up and get training! Your dog is sure to enjoy the challenge and it will be a great bonding experience for the two of you.
Do you have any other favorite tricks to teach your dog? Let us know in the comments below!