How to teach a dog tricks [lensandleash.com]. Many people see the cool things that many dogs can do on YouTube, America’s Funniest Pet Videos or even at events like the Westminster Dog Show and Frisbee Dog Shows. If you start early with a puppy it is easier to teach it more complicated tricks than if you start when they are older. Any age dog can learn tricks it will just take more repetition and praise to achieve your results. The key to teaching any kind of trick to a young or old dog is being consistent and making sure that you reward the proper behavior consistently.
Consider Which Tricks to Teach
The first thing to consider is what kind of tricks you want your dog to learn. You also have to consider what breed of dog you have and what their particular athletic ability is. For example, you probably do not want to teach your Chihuahua to try and catch a Frisbee. Some of the more common tricks people teach their dogs are to shake, crawl, beg, kiss and then hold still while they have a treat on their nose. You need to make learning a trick fun for your dog and they will learn faster. Be certain to only reward when the desired behavior is shown. Make sure you have a good supply of dog treats nearby to reward your dog when they accomplish something. Keeping the training sessions short with several repetitions is the best way to teach a dog tricks.
Most simple tricks for dogs require several repetitions each day for several days. For example, if you want to teach your dog to “shake hands” you need to take your dog’s paw with your hand, raise it and say “shake hands” and then praise your dog. Do this several times in one short session and repeat daily for about a week. Your next step is to say “shake hands” and not reach for her paw. If she raises her paw to praise her and give her a treat, praise or pat. If she does not raise her paw you will need to go back to the reinforcement of the trick by physically taking her paw and saying “shake hands” several more times a day until she learns the trick to your satisfaction.
Another great trick for both young and old dogs is “Playing dead”. Have your dog lie on her stomach and gently roll her over manually by yourself. As you roll her over say “take a nap” or “play dead”. If your dog stays put for a few seconds you can tell her to wake up. When your dog gets up you can praise her and reward her. If she does not stay on her side with her head on the ground do not reward her and start the training for the trick over. This trick is more complicated than “shake hands” and will require many more repetitions before the trick is mastered by your dog.
The use of repetition treats, and praise is the best way to teach a dog tricks as well as calm, assertive energy.