5 Fun Tricks to Teach Your Dog (or Cat)
These days, it seems like everyone owns a pet. And, if you’ve found yourself thinking that more and more people have pets, you wouldn’t be wrong. Practically every household in America has a pet, with dogs ranking as the number one pet each year. If you’re one of the many households that’s added a pet to your household, then you might be wondering what fun tricks you can teach your furry friend. No matter if you’ve purchased your dog from a breeder or adopted from a local shelter, here are some exciting tricks you can teach your dog or even your cat!
- Paw. It’s always cute when a pet can give their owner their paw on command! To master this trick, hold a treat in your closed fist. Encourage your pet to try to get the treat in your hand. When they reach out to try to open your hand with their paw, flip your fist over, open your hand and let them grab the treat! Continue this a few times, and they should ideally become conditioned to reach their paw to you whenever you hold your fist toward them. Prevent their paws from getting caught on their dog tag whenever they reach their paw up to you by putting a silicone pet tag on their collar. This way, you don’t need to worry about them getting hurt as you train them on their fun new trick!
- Shake hands. A step up from “paw,” “shake hands” is perfect for taking the next step in training your pet. Every time they give you their paw to get the treat, hold onto their paw, shake it and say “Shake hands” or “shake.” This will get them accustomed to letting you shake their paw whenever you give that command. This is a fun trick that you can do in order from “paw.” Start with “paw,” and then tell them to “shake” and wow your dog and your friends with the amazing tricks your dog can do!
- Roll over. Who doesn’t love watching a pup or feline roll over on command? They’re so adorable when they do it, so it makes sense to try to find a way to get them excited for it. However, before you teach them to roll over, you should make sure they know how to respond to “down.” Once they’ve mastered that command with you, you can teach them to roll over. As they’re in the down position, hold a treat in front of their nose. Then, move your hand back toward their shoulder. If your dog does this correctly, they’ll flop to the side chasing after the treat with their head. Always make sure to praise them for doing what you’ve asked, and repeat the move in order to get them to constantly roll over.
- Jump. Jump is another great trick to teach your pet. After your pet masters the “sit” command, hold a treat in a closed fist at shoulder height. As your dog sits and watches the treat, move your fist down toward them. When they move to eat the treat, move your hand back up and say “jump.” They’ll follow your hand on their hind legs, and the more you do the move the more likely they are to start jumping. Eventually, they’ll jump up to your hand when your hand is raised.
- Fetch. Fetch is another great trick to teach your pet! This way, no matter what you throw, they’ll bring it back. You’ll want to start with short distances, and then increase to longer ones. Start with a toy or object your pet loves, as they’ll be more likely to chase after it. Throw it and say “fetch.” As soon as they pick up the ball or toy with their mouth, make sure to encourage them to come back to you by telling them to “come.” When they return to you, tell them to “drop it.”
Before Teaching Them Tricks
Before you teach your dog any tricks, it’s important you teach them some basic commands. Without knowledge of basic commands, your dog probably won’t learn any of the tricks, or it’ll take longer to teach them. Some dogs, especially those who are older or adopted from a shelter, might already have basic training. The case manager or adoption manager will let you know when you complete the adoption paperwork.
However, other dogs, such as the ones you purchase from a breeder or dogs you adopt as young puppies, might not have that training. The earlier you start training them the better! Here are some additional pro-tips before you start training your pet.
- Invest in a schedule. It’s important you take the time out of your schedule to commit to training your pet. Pets do well with consistency, and tricks aren’t something you can teach in a day. Set aside time to teach your dog tricks or commands, and you’ll find that it’s much easier to train them and successfully teach them new things.
- Get some safety gear. Keeping your pet safe while training and teaching is important. Give them a unique custom pet tag that has their medical information and your contact info, especially if you’re training them in a park or another public place they might end up running away from you at. This way, you can locate them easier or encourage others to locate them.
- Talk to a trainer. Some things are best left to the professionals. This includes teaching your pet tricks! Cats are notoriously difficult to train, so if you really want to teach your cat to follow directions and learn some cool new tricks, then getting a trainer to work with them can be the one thing you need to ensure they’re trained successfully.
When your pet knows cool tricks, then it can make playtime fun. Whether you teach them with the assistance of a trainer or take the time to teach them yourself, getting your pet to do fun tricks will only add to your experience as a pet owner.