40 Tricks to Teach a Dog that will Wow Your Neighbors

Have you ever seen a well-trained dog in action? They are capable of doing some amazing things. You may have even wished that your own untrained pooch was capable of pulling off some crazy tricks.

Well, wish no more. With these 40 tricks to teach a dog, you can totally get your pooch up to speed on the basics, plus more advanced tricks.

Have plenty of healthy treats on hand, keep training sessions between five and 15 minutes to avoid having your dog lose interest and be enthusiastic when it accomplishes something you want it to do.

Don’t jump right into the hard stuff. It’s important for your dog to learn some basic stuff first. Most of all, it has to learn to sit still while waiting for treats. A dog that is jumping up and down, trying to snatch a treat out of your hand is not a well-trained dog.

Having said that, though, you should be rewarding your dog for the behavior you want from it immediately so it associates the behavior being taught with receiving a treat. If you wait too long to reward a dog, it will not know what it’s getting the treat for and no association will be made.

Many people have adopted the clicker method of training where you teach your dog to associate clicks with good behavior. You can do this, but introducing a clicker into your dog’s training isn’t necessary. Dogs have been trained for thousands of years without clickers and it’s possible for anyone to train them without the use of clickers as long as they have patience and enthusiasm for what they’re doing.

Use short commands so they’re easy for your dog to understand and follow. Be cognizant that your dog will almost certainly not learn any of these tricks quickly. It takes a lot of repetition for a dog to learn these behaviors, which is why you should only do them for a maximum of 15 minutes per day. That may not seem like a long time, but it adds up over the days and keeps your dog from getting bored with learning.

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Sit

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This is the first trick most people will teach their dog. It’s useful for getting hyper dogs to calm down and it’s probably the easiest one for them to learn.

  • With your dog standing, gently put pressure on its hind end while giving the “sit” command.
  • Once the dog is sitting, give it a treat and praise its behavior. Eventually, your dog won’t need the pressure on its hind end once it learns the command.

Here is a video tutorial for teaching your dog this most basic of tricks.

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Lay Down

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The next logical step for training your dog is to go from sitting to laying.

  • Start with your dog in the sitting position.
  • Take a treat and hold it down on the ground and say your “lay down” command while gently pushing on the dog’s shoulders.
  • Give it the treat and praise when it has lain down. Repeat enough times and you should be able to take away the push downward and only use the command.

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Crawl

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Especially sneaky dogs will learn to army crawl all on their own if they are trying to grab a snack while not being seen. For other dogs, though, they need a little help.

  • Have your dog lie down.
  • Hold a treat firmly in your fingers so the dog can smell and lick it, but not eat it.
  • Hold the treat in front of your dog’s nose and slowly drag it just above the ground.
  • When your dog crawls a few feet, praise it and give it the treat.
  • However, if your dog stands up to take the treat, quickly take it away and start over.
  • Repeat, having the dog crawl a little bit more each time.
  • Once the dog has mastered the trick, sit down about 10 or 15 feet away and have your dog crawl toward you.

Check out the video of this well-trained puppy doing an army crawl with a backpack.

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Shake Hands

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Now your dog can greet you in the most human way possible.

  • While your dog is sitting, hold a treat just out of reach in front of it.
  • While repeating the command “shake hands,” tap one of your dog’s front feet with your hand that is not holding the treat. Most dogs will raise their foot to paw at the treat you’re holding.
  • As the dog raises its paw, catch it with your non-treat-holding hand and say the command “shake hands” again so the dog connects the action with the sound. Alternately, just pick up one of your dog’s paws. As long as it doesn’t react negatively, reward and praise it.
  • Repeat these steps until your dog automatically lifts his paw when given the command.
  • You can encourage your dog to raise its paw by gently tapping the inside of its knee and then tickling the underside of its paw.

Your dog might even get to the point where it doesn’t need the command to do the trick. Some dogs will shake your hand if you simply raise your hand in front of them.

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Kiss

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People equate dogs licking their face with kisses, but any old dog can lick a person’s face. It takes training to get your dog to offer what we humans might call a ‘peck’ on the cheek.

  • Hold a treat up to your face and give your dog the preferred command.
  • Offer your cheek to your dog and wait until it touches your cheek with its nose.
  • As soon as your dog touches you with its nose, pull away before it can lick you and give it the treat.
  • If you do it quickly enough, your dog will eventually learn that all it has to do to get a treat is to lightly touch you with its nose.
  • You can teach your dog to kiss other people by pointing at them and using the command, but you may have to give the other person a treat to give to the dog a few times until it fully understands.

Be careful with dogs who like to nip when they get excited and with extra big dogs who might accidentally headbutt you.

Enjoy the doggy love without the doggy slobber! Check out this bulldog baby kissing a human baby. So cute!

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Be Ashamed

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Teaching your dog to be ashamed may sound odd, but you’re not actually teaching it to be ashamed, you’re simply teaching it to look ashamed. Think of when a person does something embarrassing and they look down and shield their eyes with their hand. That’s what you want your dog to do so it looks ashamed.

  • Get your dog to sit in front of you.
  • Put something on its snout that will fall off when it brushes it with its paw.
  • Take one of its paws and guide it so it knocks whatever you’ve put on its snout off while repeating your “be ashamed” command.
  • You will ultimately be able to just use the verbal command without the object on your dog’s snout.

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Dance

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Dancing is usually associated with small dogs, but big dogs can get their two-step on under the right circumstances. Overweight dogs or dogs that have issues with their hind legs are not recommended for dancing, though.

  • While your dog is sitting, raise a treat slowly above its head.
  • Say a command like “up” or “dance” as you continue to raise the treat, encouraging the dog to raise up on its hind legs. You may have to hold it slightly behind the dog’s head.
  • If your dog is steady on its feet already, circle the treat around its head to get it to spin. If your dog is less steady on its feet, let it get accustomed to standing before you try and get it to spin.
  • Obviously, once your dog has the trick down, heap praise on it along with some treats.

Be careful if you have a particularly big dog who may not be steady on its feet. If it falls, it could easily take you with it.

This little dog really has some moves!

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Salute

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Sometimes you want your dog to do more than just shake your hand. Sometimes you’d like it to salute you or someone else.

  • Start with your dog in a sitting position.
  • Take a post-it note or something else that is sticky, but not too sticky and put it just above your dog’s eye.
  • As your dog raises its paw to get the tape off, say the “salute” command and give it lots of praise and a treat.
  • If you don’t want to stick anything on your dog, you can try just having it give you a paw and then slowly raise it over your dog’s eye.
  • When it reaches the right spot, say the command and give the dog a treat.
  • Be patient and your dog will eventually learn to salute by just hearing the command.

For a real surprise, train your dog to salute and then next time your friend or family member who has a military background comes to visit, show them what your dog can do.

This dog doesn’t just know how to salute, it knows actual military commands.

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Skateboard

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Shorter dogs may find skateboarding easier than larger dogs because of their low centers of gravity and shorter legs. While it would be really great to get your dog to propel itself while on a skateboard, this trick is just getting your dog to ride a skateboard.

  • Acclimate your dog to the skateboard gradually by placing it upside down on the ground and letting your dog inspect it at its own pace. Do this several times so it can get used to the skateboard. Praise the dog when it shows interest in the skateboard.
  • Spin the wheels of the skateboard so your dog gets used to the sound.
  • Turn the skateboard over and roll it away from your dog. This is important because rolling it toward your dog can frighten it.
  • Continue to praise your dog whenever it shows interest in the skateboard.
  • Slowly entice your dog to get onto the skateboard. At first, you may need to lift it onto the skateboard.
  • When it is on the skateboard and standing still, reward it with treats and praise.
  • After your dog’s confidence with the skateboard has been built up, slowly introduce pushing the skateboard while it’s on the board.
  • Don’t forget lots of praise and treats.

This dog really knows how to skateboard! It even pushes itself!

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Handstand

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A trick that will easily impress all who see it, the handstand isn’t easy and some dogs may not be able to do it. Toy dogs like chihuahuas can perform this trick best because their big heads and small bodies give them the right balance to do this trick naturally.Big dogs can learn this trick, but you must use extreme caution with them.

  • Before you even begin teaching this trick, you have to make sure your dog has the right muscles built up to perform it.
  • Start by having your dog stand in front of a wall with its back legs up on some kind of block or book.
  • Do this several times, getting your dog used to the idea and also adding one more block or book each time.
  • Once your dog is comfortable standing on as many blocks or books as possible, gently take its feet off of them and place them against the wall.
  • Once your dog is able to place its back feet on the wall without any trouble, put a treat in front of its nose and encourage it to move away from the wall. You will likely need to put a hand on its belly for balance the first several times until it gets used to the feeling.

Remember, plenty of praise. You will know when your dog is ready to graduate to the next step by how easily it places its back feet on the blocks or books and the wall.

This little dog doesn’t need any help getting onto its front paws.

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Water Fetch

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It’s just like real fetch, but with water. This may sound odd to people who own dogs that are natural swimmers, but some smaller breeds may actually need to be taught how to swim and short-legged dogs may even need floatation devices.

  • Start by getting into the water and coaxing your dog to join you.
  • If possible, bring another dog along that enjoys swimming to help your dog build up confidence. (Also, more dogs means more fun.)
  • Start by throwing the stick or ball into the shallow water.
  • Praise your dog and give it a treat when it brings the object back (unless your dog is already a fetching machine, in which case you can skip the treats).
  • Gradually throw the object further out into the water.

Take care not to tire your dog out, especially if it’s just gotten used to this whole swimming thing.

This dog loves the water. Join along as it plays fetch in a lake.

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Play the Piano

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Although it would be basically impossible to teach your dog any songs on piano, you can teach it to “play” by hitting random keys.Although larger dogs should be able to play on a standard sized keyboard, you likely wouldn’t want to sacrifice a real piano for this trick. It’s best to get an old toy piano or keyboard from somewhere.

  • Start with the keyboard in a quiet room, free of distractions.
  • Praise your dog and give it treats when it shows interest in the keyboard, but keep initial sessions short so your dog doesn’t lose interest or become frustrated.
  • To make sure your dog associates the treats with the keyboard, when your dog nudges or paws the keyboard toss a treat away from it. When the dog returns to the keyboard, praise it and toss another treat.
  • Eventually, your dog will associate treats with touching the keyboard. Once this happens, limit the treats and praise you give unless it concentrates attention on the keys, particularly when it presses them down.
  • When the dog does hit the keys, say the command “play” and reward generously.

If your dog is having a little trouble getting started, try placing treats on the keys so it presses them down with its nose when it retrieves the treats.

Watch this doggie play the piano and sing along.

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Peek-A-Boo

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It’s adorable when small children play it and it’s equally adorable when dogs can play peek-a-boo. Teaching your dog this trick is fairly easy, but you’ll already be halfway there if it knows how to shake hands.

  • If your dog already knows how to shake hands, then get it to give you its paw.
  • Take its paw and then raise it above its eyes.
  • While you do this, say your peek-a-boo command and give the dog a treat.
  • Alternately, if your dog hasn’t mastered giving you its paw on command, you can use a piece of not-too-sticky tape and place it on your dog’s nose.
  • When your dog raises its paw to its nose to get the tape off, praise it and give it a treat while saying your peek-a-boo command.
  • After your dog gets used to the command, start simply tapping your dog’s nose gently while saying the command. It should eventually be able to perform the trick just using the command alone.

This pooch seems to have mastered Peek-a-boo.

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Walk Backward

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This is not so much a trick as a skill. Of course, dogs can naturally walk backward, but the real trick is to get it to do so on command. Getting your dog to walk backward on command will be useful for when you need your dog to back away from a situation. It will also help improve coordination for your dog.

  • Call your dog and command it to stay.
  • Back away from your dog, give the “back” command and start walking toward your dog.
  • Many dogs will instinctively start backing up as you come toward them, but if your dog doesn’t back up, gently nudge it with your legs or body until it does.
  • You can also try holding a treat just behind your dog’s head while giving the back command.
  • Obviously, most dogs will opt to turn around if they can. To avoid this, try teaching them the trick in a narrow space like between two parked cars.
  • Once your dog has gotten the backing up part down, stand off to the side of it and hold a treat out over its head. Slowly turn around in a circle so your dog is walking backward around you as you give the command.

Little Maggie can run backward along a narrow ledge.

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Open and Close Doors

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Depending on your living situation, you may not want to teach your dog to open doors, as this could lead to it escaping and putting it in danger.You should teach your dogs to only open doors with ropes attached to them, as this will save wear and tear on both the doors and your dog’s teeth. Plus, it will discourage your dog from opening exterior doors.

  • Tie some kind of rope or tug toy that your dog can easily grasp in its mouth to a door handle. Obviously, handles work better than round door knobs. If you have round doorknobs, you can leave the door closed, but not latched.
  • When your dog starts to tug on the rope, praise it and give it a treat when the door is completely opened.
  • Once it has mastered opening the door, get your dog to close the door by holding a treat in your hand up against the door. This should cause your dog to leap against the door, closing it.

Lily here has the whole opening and closing doors perfected.

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Fetch You a Drink from the Fridge

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You will have to first judge your dog’s self-control before teaching it this trick. Some dogs will be able to ignore all the tasty food in the refrigerator while others will eat everything in it. If you know your dog isn’t the type to eat everything in the fridge, you can get it to fetch you a nice, cold beverage.

  • If you’ve already taught your dog to open and close doors, you’re halfway there. If not, then use the same strategy to teach your dog to open and close the fridge.
  • Spend some time to make sure your dog has perfected these steps and can do them using only vocal commands.
  • Place your dog’s favorite toy in the fridge in a spot where it can see and access it easily.
  • Encourage your dog to take the toy from the fridge and bring it to you.
  • Once your dog has gotten used to this step, replace the toy with a drink and encourage it to bring the drink to you instead.

Plastic drinking containers like bottles are recommended for this trick. Aluminium cans might get punctured by a tooth and would end up spraying violently and probably frightening your dog. Glass bottles would probably be difficult to grip for a dog.

Here are a whole bunch of dogs who have mastered the art of the fridge fetch.

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Use the Toilet

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Ideal for people with mobility issues or who are kept away from their house for long periods, teaching a dog to use the toilet takes a lot of work and even more patience, but can be worth it not to have messes in the house.

  • Start by using a command of your choice each time your dog goes outside to relieve itself until it associates this command with relieving itself.
  • Eventually, your dog will learn to relieve itself on command. Once you’ve attained this, introduce a plastic litter box to its routine.
  • Put your dog’s front paws in the litter box while repeating the command.
  • After a while, your dog will get used to using the box and that’s when you can start to bring it inside. Place it just inside the door first and gradually move it closer to the bathroom.
  • Then, place it in the bathroom.
  • The next step is placing the box right into the toilet and encouraging your dog to hop up onto the seat to use it.
  • Once that’s done, you can take the box away completely and your dog will be using the toilet.

Teaching it to flush is a whole other thing, though (but this doggie has the flushing part down, too).

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Play Soccer

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Some dogs just take naturally to sports and will be able to “kick” a soccer ball around without any prompting. Others, however, will need a bit of training before they are ready to join the national soccer team and play for the Canine World Cup.

  • Choose a ball that is larger than your dog’s mouth so it cannot simply pick it up.
  • In an open area, just leave the ball in front of your dog so it can get accustomed to it in the usual dog way of sniffing it.
  • If your dog paws at the ball on its own, immediately praise it for doing so, but do not give it a treat for that.
  • If your dog isn’t interested in the ball at all, gently roll it toward your dog and encourage it to play with the ball.
  • Once your dog gets the hang of dribbling the ball (pushing it forward with its paws), you can start doling out the treats for dribbling it longer distances.
  • Kick the ball away from you a little bit further each time and getting your dog to dribble it back to you. Reward your dog each time it successfully dribbles the ball back to you.

Here are some dogs that are ready for the big leagues.

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Say Prayers

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This is a cute trick for people to watch and they can even participate if they like. Your dog should know how to shake hands or beg with both paws in front of it first. If it doesn’t already know this, you should teach it that trick first.

  • Get your dog to sit in front of you and give you its paw or sit in the begging position with both paws lifted in front of it.
  • Raise your arm so your forearm is in front of you across your body.
  • Rest your dog’s paws on your forearm. You want your dog to naturally rest its paws on your forearm, so spend some time getting this step down with lots of praise and treats and a command word of your choice.
  • Once your dog has mastered this position, move onto the next step by holding a treat in front of your dog’s nose and slowly lower it so that your dog lowers its head between its paws and under your arm.
  • If your dog takes its paws off your arm, remove the treat and start again.

These four dogs like to say grace before eating.

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Sing

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Whether you want your dog to sing or not may depend on where you live. If you have neighbors nearby, getting your dog singing (which means howling in this case) might not be a good idea, especially considering your dog might just start practicing on its own while you are out.

  • Start by testing out different songs or instruments to see if any of them inspire your dog to start singing on its own.
  • If nothing catches your dog’s fancy, start howling yourself. As a pack leader, you might have to lead by example here.
  • As soon as your dog starts to howl along, say your chosen command word and praise your dog and give it a reward.

Be warned, though, once you teach your dog to sing, it may love its own voice so much that you can’t get it to stop singing.

Here is one that likes to duet with its owner.

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Slalom

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When teaching your dog to slalom, always use specially designed dog slalom poles that are bendable to keep your dog injury free. Always make sure you place the poles the same length apart while training so your dog can get used to it and make sure you place them equal distance apart. Use a tape measure when setting up your course rather than just guessing.

  • Start with four poles. Hold a treat in front of your dog and entice it to follow the treat.
  • When it reaches the end, reward and praise your dog.
  • Add poles to the slalom course one at a time until your dog can weave through about a dozen poles.
  • After your dog has mastered this trick, you can try moving the poles closer together.

Once your dog knows how to slalom, you could do this trick with naturally occurring courses like trees or bollards, but be careful if you try this, as these objects might end up hurting your dog if it runs into them.

Check out Tex, the winner of the 2015 Masters Agility Championship. “Look at those poles!”

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Pick Up Toys

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If you keep your dog’s toys neatly in a basket, chances are you don’t need to encourage it to take them out and spread them around. Putting them back, however, is probably a different story.Your dog should know how to fetch first. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to teach it fetch before tackling cleaning up its toys.

  • Start by sitting on the floor with your dog’s toy basket in front of you.
  • Take a toy and throw it across the room. Command the dog to get it and bring it back to you while holding a treat over the toy basket. (If your dog loves fetch, it will probably bring the toy back without prompting.)
  • If it drops the toy before returning to you, hide the treat from its sight and command it again to bring the toy back to you.
  • When your dog gets back to you with the toy, hold the treat directly over the basket and command it to drop the toy into the basket.
  • When it drops the toy, give your dog plenty of praise and the treat.
  • Repeat these steps, moving the basket away from you each time. Hold the treat over the basket in your extended arm and when the basket is moved out of your reach, simply point to it.

Eventually, your dog will be able to pick up its own toys. Maybe you can get it to teach your kids the same trick.

This Golden Retriever named Grace really has this trick down.

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Go Potty on Command

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Sometimes it can be annoying waiting for your dog to relieve itself, especially if you live in a climate that gets extremely hot or extremely cold. Not to mention that it can be dangerous for the dog in cold weather to be outdoors for too long freezing its paws.If you don’t want to teach your dog to use the toilet inside, you can still hasten the potty process by teaching your dog to relieve itself on command.

Start this training early, when your dog is still a puppy and learning to be house trained.

  • When taking your dog outside to relieve itself, repeat the “potty” command from the moment your pooch begins to relieve itself, saying the command slowly and softly. The moment it is done, cease saying the command. Your dog will eventually begin to associate the command with the action.
  • Continue to use the command every time your dog relieves itself, whether it’s urinating or defecating.
  • After you get your dog accustomed to the command to the point where they are associating it with the action, test your dog’s response to it by calmly using the “potty” command before it relieves itself. If your dog responds immediately, you have been successful. If it still does not go on command, return to repeating the command during the action like in step one.

Here is a perfect example of this trick at work.

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Carry Groceries

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Dogs love being useful and having tasks to accomplish. Having them help you carry groceries or other bagged items into the house will give them the sense they’re being productive.

  • Start with a mostly empty reusable grocery bag. Put some treats inside a sealable plastic baggie so your dog doesn’t smell them and simply go for the treats.
  • Command your dog to take the bag.
  • When your dog has the bag in its mouth, begin to move slowly away from your dog while using the command “carry” while getting your dog to come toward you (using whatever way is easiest for you to get your dog to come to you).
  • After your dog comes toward you, carrying the bag for a few steps, praise your dog for carrying the bag that short distance.
  • Reach into the bag and get a treat out of the plastic baggie inside to treat your dog. This will help your dog associate carrying the shopping bag with treats.
  • Continue to increase the distance your dog carries the bag with the “carry” command.
  • Start placing a few items in the bag to give it some weight.
  • When you believe it’s ready, hand your dog a bag of groceries after you’ve gone shopping. Hide a treat in the bag so your dog can get rewarded once it gets in the house.
  • You can either hand your dog a bag and then have it follow you to the house or have a partner call it to the house when it gets the bag from you.

Watch Millie the dog help her owners carry groceries from the car.

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Pickpocket

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This trick is neat to show people just how clever your canine is.

  • Stand with your back to your dog and hold a treat near your tailbone.
  • Encourage your dog to take the treat while using the command “pickpocket.”
  • After your dog has become accustomed to taking the treat you hold near your tailbone, place a handkerchief or some other light and easily accessible object in your back pocket. Move your hand so it’s over the handkerchief and keep using the command “pickpocket” while getting your dog to take the treat from you.
  • Once your dog is familiar with the handkerchief, you can take your hand away and start getting your dog to take the handkerchief out of your pocket with the pickpocket command. Make sure you reward and praise it as soon as it takes the handkerchief.
  • When the general behavior is mastered, begin to move away from your dog while using the pickpocket command to introduce movement into the trick.
  • Continue practicing both with treats and without, but make sure to praise plenty regardless of whether you give them a treat or not.

Eventually, your dog should be able to pick your pocket with ease.

This little dog is too short to pick people’s pockets, but he sure knows how to thieve from people’s bags!

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Doggie Push Ups

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This is really just the combination of two of the easier tricks, but when put together, they make for an amusing workout regime for your dog.

  • Have your dog sitting while you stand in front of them.
  • Command your dog to lay down.
  • When your dog is down, immediately command it to sit and reward it when it does.
  • Repeat as necessary for your dog to master the move with increasingly longer intervals between the action and the reward.

Because this trick is just a combination of two tricks your dog already knows, it might lose interest in it quickly if there isn’t a little extra to the treats you offer. We suggest giving your dog a variety of treats when teaching this trick to keep it interested.

This little puppy does it a bit differently, but it’s still cute!

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Tuck Yourself Into Bed

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For a cuteness overload, try teaching your dog to tuck itself into bed. Your friends will be amazed at how self-sufficient your dog is.

  • Get your dog to lie down.
  • Put a blanket that is about twice the size of your dog down right beside it on their dominant rollover side (meaning the side they usually roll onto first when they roll over).
  • Bunch a portion of the blanket up right next to your dog to make it easy for them to grab and roll over with.
  • Command your dog to take the blanket by taking it with your hand and offering it to the dog. Only reward the dog if it takes the blanket and holds onto it until you take it back from them. If the dog takes the blanket and drops it before you have a chance to take it from them, don’t reward that behavior. You want the dog to hold onto the blanket throughout the rollover phase.
  • Once you’ve got the blanket part down, command your dog to rollover. Be prepared to have your dog drop the blanket before it rolls over, as it is a natural instinct for dogs to drop what’s in their mouths before rolling over. When this happens, immediately reset the trick and start over without praises or treats. Your dog will learn that treats only come when they keep the blanket in their mouth.
  • If your dog isn’t completely covered by the blanket, that’s not a problem. It’s not going to get completely covered every time (and may not get completely covered ever depending on how it rolls over).
  • If it even masters the act of rolling over with a blanket in its mouth, though, it’s learned a trick that isn’t easy for dogs to master at all. Make sure you give it a treat for mastering a difficult trick.

Here is a video tutorial for teaching this trick.

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Go Hide

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This is another cute trick, especially when a big dog tries to hide behind a small object.

  • Begin with a large object and make sure your dog has room to hide under it or behind it. (Although you can also get your big dog to simply put their head under something like a low table, which will make it seem like it’s trying to hide itself under a small object.)
  • Show your dog a treat and either toss it behind the object or coax them under the object with it while using the command “go hide.”
  • After your dog gets the hang of that, try using the go hide command without the treat incentive, but reward it with a treat after it’s in position.
  • When your dog is able to follow the go hide command, slowly begin weaning it off the treats by rewarding it in intervals (like after every three times they do it) and eventually you’ll be able to take out the treats altogether.

Here is a video to help you teach your dog to go hide.

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Take a Card from a Deck

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Have you ever wished you could see your dog in one of those dogs-playing-poker paintings? Well, this trick won’t teach your dog to play poker, but it’s a start.

  • Offer just a single playing card to your dog (it will help a big dog to have oversized playing cards) and tell it to “take it.” When the dog takes the card, reward it with praise and a treat. (Take care not to move the card, as this may give your canine a paper cut and make it never want to touch a card again.)
  • When your dog has gotten used to taking a card, try putting three cards in front of it, fanned out, and commanding it to take one. If you want your dog to take a specific card, it will help to have that one sticking out a bit further than the rest. If you don’t care about which card it takes, then putting one out a bit more won’t matter.
  • Once your dog gets the hang of the trick, you can add more cards, maybe even getting to the point where you can use an entire deck.

Next step: teaching your dog to place a bet.

Check out Jilli Dog playing poker with her owner.

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Refuse Food

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Getting a dog to refuse food sounds like an impossibility, but with a little patience and a lot of hard work, you can get your dog to completely ignore food (as long as it gets a tasty treat, of course).For this trick, don’t use the usual sort of treats you would give your dog to reward it, lest it get confused. Also, you’ll need to make sure your dog is sufficiently well-trained so it doesn’t just lunge at the food and grab it.

  • Present some kind of food to your dog.
  • When your dog is excited for the food, use the command “yuck” in a low tone of voice and pull the treat away.
  • Repeat this until your dog starts turning its head away from the food being offered. When it does this, reward it with praise and a treat other than the food you are trying to get it to refuse.
  • You can work up to this head turning by watching your dog’s eyes. Start praising it when it looks away from the food. If you keep this up, it should eventually start turning its head away completely for extended periods. Make sure you are using your yuck command to initiate the trick.
  • Be consistent when you treat your dog. Once it gets to the level of turning its head completely away, don’t reward it for anything less than that full action.

This pooch has got it!

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Shell Game

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With this trick, you’re trying to outsmart your dog’s nose, which is not an easy task.

  • Start with one cup. Put a treat with a strong aroma under an overturned cup. Make sure your dog sees you do this.
  • Use the command “find it” to encourage your dog to try and get the treat.
  • When it paws at the cup or bumps the cup with its nose, lift up the cup and give your dog the reward.
  • You can influence whether the dog paws at the cup or uses its nose to indicate the cup by only rewarding the action you desire.
  • Once your dog is familiar with the command and desired action, introduce more cups into the trick and encourage your dog to find the treat using your find it command. Do not shuffle the cups at this stage.
  • Don’t let your dog forcefully overturn the cup, as this isn’t the desired behavior. You simply want it to indicate the cup via pawing at it or bumping the cup with its nose.
  • If your dog picks the incorrect cup, calmly say “whoops,” but do not reward it. Only reward your dog for the correct cup.
  • After your dog has mastered finding the treat from the unshuffled lineup of cups, begin to shuffle them, simply at first and then more complex as it gets better at picking the right cup.
  • Practice for complete mastery.

To give your dog a better chance at picking the right cup, try rubbing the treat on the inside of the cup to make it smell like the treat more.

This little dog knows where those treats are.

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Walk Yourself

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Once you teach your dog to walk itself, you can just send it outside for a walk without having to go yourself if you’re too busy. Okay … that’s not actually how things work, but this is still a cute little trick to teach a dog. You can even teach a dog to walk another dog if it’s calm enough.

  • Fold up your dog’s leash. (If you usually use a retractable leash, you’ll need to get a non-retractable one for this trick.)
  • Give your dog the leash and command it to hold the leash with the “take it” command.
  • After it has held the leash in its mouth for a short period, take it back and reward it with praise and a treat.
  • Next, walk beside your dog while holding the folded up leash in its mouth. Obviously, your dog will have to know how to walk calmly. If it hasn’t mastered this yet, you should start by teaching it to heel.
  • Once it’s gotten used to walking with the leash in its mouth, unfold the leash and clip it to the dog’s collar and present the looped end to it and get the dog to take the looped end of the leash as it had done previously.
  • Continue to walk beside your dog and make sure you stop immediately if your dog drops the leash. If it does, get it to take the leash again.
  • Continue to practice and you will eventually get to the point where you don’t have to walk beside it anymore. It will simply walk itself.
  • If you have another dog that is calm enough, you can introduce it into the trick gradually once your dog has mastered the initial trick.

The walk yourself trick will impress friends and strangers alike.

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Bang!

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Every dog has its own little flair for doing the bang trick. Even other animals have mastered this cute trick, where they pretend to be shot and fall over dead.

  • your dog start in the sitting position and get it to lie down in its down position.
  • Coax it further with a treat to roll onto its side, taking note which side it prefers to roll onto. You can take the treat and move it from your dog’s nose to its shoulder and then onto the ground.
  • Practice this move, going from sitting to lying on its side with the verbal command of “bang.”
  • Repeat until your dog understands the bang command.
  • After your dog has the verbal bang command down, introduce the visual pistol cue by holding your hand like a pistol (pointer finger pointed at your dog, thumb in the air and your three other fingers tucked in like a fist).
  • Give your bang command, drop your thumb like the hammer on a pistol and watch your dog flop to the ground in its best Hollywood death scene performance.

Maybe it’ll win an Oscar! This dog deserves one.

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Ride a Horse

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Having two different animals perform a trick together adds a whole other element to the trick. However, be careful that you don’t injure yourself, your dog or the horse when attempting this trick. You should be familiar with both animals, they should be familiar with and friendly with each other and the dog and horse should both have a calm demeanor. If there is any doubt whatsoever about any of these elements, do not attempt this trick.

  • Tie the horse up next to a platform about the height of a picnic table.
  • Get your dog up on the platform and encourage it to place its front paws on the horse’s back. Encourage your dog to get up on the horse’s back and reward its efforts. Practice until both your dog and the horse are comfortable with these steps.
  • Pick your dog up and place it on the horse’s back, being mindful of either animal showing fear. Do not attempt to put a fearful dog on a horse or put a dog on a fearful horse. If either animal looks the least bit uncomfortable, abandon the trick.
  • Once your dog is on the horse’s back, get its favorite treat and reward it generously. You want it to associate this accomplishment with its favorite reward.
  • Once you’ve practiced enough that both animals are comfortable with the dog being on the horse’s back, remove the dog from the horse and place it back on the platform.
  • Hold a treat on your horse’s saddle outside of your dog’s reach and use the command “up” to encourage your dog to jump onto the back of the horse.
  • Having your dog jump onto its back is going to be a bit jarring for the horse, so this part of the trick should be taught last and you should use extreme caution while teaching it.
  • Practice these maneuvers and if all goes well, make sure you give both the animals a big treat.

This Jack Russell and miniature horse even do a show together.

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Spin

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A fun dance move to teach your dog. Just make sure it doesn’t get dizzy!

  • Take a treat and hold it near your dog’s head and move your hand in either a clockwise or counterclockwise motion, enticing your dog to follow the treat.
  • Use the command “spin” and when your dog does a complete circle, give it the treat.
  • Repeat and practice this move while slowly reducing the amount of luring needed for your dog to complete a full circle. Ideally, you want to get to the point where you can simply give the verbal command or a visual command with a quick flick of your wrist.
  • Once your dog has mastered spinning one way, try having it spin the other way.
  • If you want a further challenge, try using a different command for the directions so you can get your dog to spin either clockwise or counterclockwise.

This little dog has been trained to spin when it hears “do you.”

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Wave

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Sometimes you’d prefer a wave to a handshake. No problem! It’s easy to teach your dog to wave hello and goodbye.

  • Get your dog to sit.
  • Command your dog to shake a paw, but place your hand at or above the level of your dog’s head.
  • Use the command “bye” when they attempt to shake your hand.
  • When it does try to shake your hand, quickly pull your hand away and wave to your dog. (This will be an up and down waver rather than a side to side wave.)
  • When you pull your hand back, your dog will miss it and just get air. When it does this, praise and reward it.
  • Make sure you are praising the actual waving motion and not just your dog missing your hand. It will take some time for it to get the hang of it.

This pup knows how to wave well.

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Learn the Names of Objects

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We all know dogs are incredibly smart. But, did you know that they can be taught to recognize the names of everyday objects? It’s true! Wow your friends with your dog’s

  • It will help if your dog is already familiar with an object by name like a favorite toy. If so, use that as a starting point. Lay the toy in front of your dog for a starting point.
  • Get another two objects that are completely different in shape and size and put them by the original object.
  • Command your dog to bring you the object it is familiar with by giving it the “find” command and the name of the object. For example, if your dog’s favorite toy is its tug-of-war rope and it knows “rope,” you would say “find rope” to get it to bring you the rope.
  • Reward your dog the moment it touches the correct object. Don’t worry if it doesn’t bring it to you immediately. You just want it to get the basics down at this point.
  • Repeat and practice until your dog is comfortable finding the correct object out of the ones in front of it.
  • Use the “fetch” command to get your dog to bring you the object you want. (In this case, it’s still the original object it’s familiar with.)
  • Once your dog has mastered bringing you the already familiar object, begin the process anew with a less familiar object.
  • This time, you are teaching the dog to identify a new object and bring it to you.
  • Use the same strategy as with the familiar object. Praise it as soon as it has the right object and then work on getting it to bring the object to you.
  • Slowly add more objects for your dog to choose from, making sure to take the time and teach each one to your dog.
  • When your dog starts recognizing the names of more objects, try alternating between them to test your dog’s recollection abilities.

Here’s a video of a dog that knows over a thousand nouns!

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Climb a Ladder

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Just like horseback riding, this trick comes with some serious warnings and will take some preparation. It is a fun little show to have your dog climb up a ladder to fetch something, but you have to make sure you take all the necessary safety precautions.Use a small ladder, put non-slip material on the steps, never let your dog walk backward down a ladder and always stand near your dog as it performs this trick in case something bad happens and you need to grab them.

  • First, get your dog to put its front paws on the ladder. Entice the dog with its absolute favorite treat and when it puts its paws on the ladder, give it plenty of praise and a reward (but not the treat you’re using to entice it).
  • Keep enticing your dog to take the next step up the ladder. Make sure you praise it and reward it for its efforts.
  • After your dog has reached the topmost step it can with its front paws, carefully assist your dog in lifting one of its back paws onto the first step. At this stage, it is critical to watch your dog carefully. If it seems shaky or is overly afraid, immediately abandon the trick. A cute show isn’t worth your dog’s health and safety.
  • Continue to entice your dog with its favorite treat, working slowly and steadily up the ladder, placing its front paws and then back paws onto the steps.
  • Practice for short periods, as this trick is a lot of work for your pup. When you are done practicing for the day, give your dog the treat you’ve been using to entice it. Your dog has earned that treat!

Once your dog has mastered this trick, it should be able to climb the ladder with little to no problem.

This Kelpie named Zip is a real pro with the ladder climb.

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Play Goalie

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This will be especially useful if you are on a sports team and you have trouble getting someone to play goal for you.

  • Take your dog’s favorite toy and toss it in the air so that it can catch the toy in its mouth. When it does catch it, say “catch” to associate the command with the action. Praise and reward your dog for a good catch.
  • After your dog has gotten used to catching its favorite toy, move onto using some small, soft balls. Use the catch command to get your dog to catch the balls that you toss at it. Give it praise and treats for catching well.
  • Next, set up a goal behind your dog, get it to sit in front of the goal and toss the balls at it so it can play goalie and impress your friends.

This little pooch is such a good goalie, it has a Guinness World Record!

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Find My Keys

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This can work with any object, but we’ll concentrate on keys for now.

  • Take a small pouch that is capable of holding treats and attach it to your key chain.
  • Toss the keychain with the pouch attached across the room and get your dog to fetch your keys with the “keys fetch” command.
  • When your dog brings the pouch and keys back to you, take a treat out of the pouch and give it to your dog. It’s important for the dog to see you take the treat out of the pouch so it associates fetching the keys with getting a treat.
  • Toss the keychain/pouch combination further and further from you, getting your dog to fetch it each time and praising and rewarding it appropriately.
  • Next, hide the key chain and pouch around the house and ask your dog to find it. Continue to test out your pooch by hiding it in increasingly difficult places.
  • Once it has mastered finding the keychain and pouch, you’ll be able to remove the pouch and get your dog to fetch your keys without the pouch.

This dog “nose” where to go to get the keys.

If your dog can master all 40 of these tricks, it can be considered one of the most well-trained dogs around. Put on a show and let everyone know you’re got the smartest dog in the whole neighborhood. Good luck!

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Dog Lover
Madona is the writer at Barkily.