When you see a dog performing amazing flips, jumps, and tricks, you probably think it will be impossible for your dog to do those tricks also. But any dog is capable of learning these complex tricks. All it takes is some consistency and patience on your part. The key is to start with some easy tricks that any dog can learn.
We know it is not easy to pick which of the hundreds of tricks to start with. So we’re here to help you with some easy-to-teach tricks to get you started. The tricks we will be teaching you how to do are: shake, high-five, wave, roll over, and speak.
Why Train Your Dog to do Tricks?
Good question! Teaching tricks to your dogs is not just purely for entertainment value, but it also serves as physical and mental stimulation for your pup and as a good bonding experience for you both.
When teaching a dog a new trick you are keeping them up on their feet and active. This helps prevent your dog from simply lying about the house all day. It also helps prevent your dog from developing destructive habits due to boredom and lack of mental stimulus.
Trick teaching keeps your dog’s brain active. Believe it or not, dogs enjoy solving puzzles just as much as humans do. Dogs will be motivated by the treat that you are holding and will try their best to figure out just how to get that tasty treat.
Some tricks take a few hours to learn, some take a few days for your dog to figure out. So this means that you will be spending a large amount of time with your dog. If your dog is young, then bonding will be more crucial as your dog will learn to be more responsive to you. But even if your dog is older, your dog will love spending the extra time with you.
Another plus to teaching these easy tricks to your dogs is that he will be more receptive to further training. He will understand that you are attempting to show him a new skill and will eagerly try to please you in order to receive a reward. He will enjoy learning the new skill just as much as you will enjoy teaching him.
Why do You Need Easy Dog Tricks for Beginners?
Just as we are not expected to learn new skills instantly, dogs should not be expected to know a trick after just one training session. More often, dogs will not even know that you are trying to show them a trick, much less a complicated one. They are usually just focused on how to get that treat in your hand. Starting with simple tricks can help introduce a dog to the concept of learning tricks without overwhelming or confusing them.
By starting with simpler tricks you are laying a foundation for teaching your dog more complicated tricks later on. The more advanced tricks use these easier tricks as a base and build on them. This helps provide a challenge for your dog as well so they are not bored doing the same simple tricks over and over.
But it is not just the dog who is learning the tricks, you are learning as well. New trainers, owners, and even the kids, will need to learn the tricks along with your dog in order to teach them properly. Once you get the hang of teaching the simpler trick, then you can experiment and try more complicated tricks that branch out from the basic trick.
Easy Beginner Tricks for Dogs
These are the 5 simple dog tricks that we believe are the best for beginners to start with. Make sure you have your dog’s favorite treats on hand before you start.
This simple trick has you asking for your dog’s paw in your hand for a polite handshake. Shake can also help you gain your dog’s trust to touch their feet and potentially clip their nails easier. This fun and functional trick can be learned by following the steps below.
- Start by holding a treat in your closed hand, low so your dog can sniff it easily.
- It may take a bit of time, as your dog will sniff and lick at your hand, but eventually, he will try to touch your hand with his paw. This is when you reward him with the treat.
- Repeat this until your dog is touching your hand almost instantly when you show him your hand.
- Then add the command “shake” each time he touches your hand and reward him. Never grab your dog’s foot until he is ready as it could scare him from learning the trick.
- After he has the hang of “shake” offer your hand palm up and repeat the command. Reward him when he puts his paw on your open hand. If your dog is having a hard time at this stage then return to the closed fist method to help reinforce the command.
- After a bit of patience, your dog will be able to shake with ease.
Check out this video if you need a visual
High-five with dogs is the same as with humans, open palm to paw contact to show mutual excitement, yay! This is a fun trick when you need a little extra enthusiasm. This trick is usually learned quicker if your dog already knows how to shake. But even if your dog doesn’t, the steps are similar.
- Show your hand to your dog with a treat in it. Start low and treat your dog when they touch your hand.
- Get him used to the idea that touching your hand equals a treat and then slowly lift your hand higher each time.
- Raise your hand in slow increments as your dog gets used to it. Don’t raise your hand too high or your dog will lose interest. Your dog’s shoulder height is enough. Add the command “high-five” to the trick once your dog is comfortable with the new height.
- After a few positive results, remove the treat from your hand and say the command. It may take a bit for your dog to understand what you are asking but he will get it. You will soon have a high-five partner.
See this trick in action:
Waving is a super fun trick where your dog shakes his paw at you. You can have some fun showing off as your dog waves hello or goodbye to you to your friends and family. Again, this trick is learned easier if your dog already knows how to shake or high-five.
- If your dog already knows how to shake, say the command but slowly raise your hand higher and higher so they get used to the height change. Give positive reinforcement for each well-done trick. You can skip this step if your dog already knows “high-five”.
- Next, try moving your hand slightly out of reach and give the command “shake”, or “high-five” if your dog knows that one. If your dog reaches up his paw give him the reward. Don’t reward your dog if both paws come up. Only reward the correct behavior.
- Switch the command to “wave” as he successfully raises his paw high without your hand there to guide him.
- It may take your dog a few tries to understand this trick. If you need to, go back to using your hand to encourage the trick until your dog gets the hang of waving.
In this trick, your dog rolls over onto their back and back onto their stomach. This is fun because it shows your dog trusts you enough to show you their stomach, which can be a sensitive area for dogs. This trick is easier to learn if your dog already knows the “down” command.
- Get your dog into a “down” position.
- Once your dog is down, hold a treat to their nose to get his attention.
- Slowly move the treat to his shoulder while shifting your weight to encourage your dog to follow the treat and move as well. Praise and reward him, even if he move just a little bit in the right direction.
- Continue step 3, encouraging your dog to move more and more each time. You will be moving the treat over his shoulder and down to the other side. Ideally, your dog’s nose and head will move with your hand.
- Once your dog is following your hand each time, you can move it all the way over so he has to roll his entire body to follow the treat. When he is doing this successfully you can add the command “roll-over”.
- This is a harder trick to learn for some dogs, but with some patience and practice, any dog can learn this trick.
Your dog barks to protect you, but they can also learn to bark on command if they know how to “speak”. This trick is fun to teach because you are gaining some control over your dog’s speech. This trick works well with the “quiet” command. Just follow the steps to teach your dog to speak to you.
- Find something that you know your dog barks at like a squeaky toy or door knocking. Sometimes, if you hold a treat long enough, your dog will bark because he wants the treat.
- Get your dog to bark at whatever makes them bark and then give him a treat.
- Add the command “speak” once he gets the idea that when barking equals a treat.
- Be careful not to treat him when he is barking excessively or not barking at your command. This can encourage negative behavior.
- Once your dog knows to “speak” you can use this trick for things, like when your dog wants to let you know he wants to go outside.
If you want to try more tricks with your dog, consider picking up Kyra Sundance’s 101 Dog Tricks: Step by Step Activities to Engage, Challenge, and Bond with Your Dog where she ranks tricks by their difficulty and gives detailed step by step instructions on how to teach them. Every dog has the potential to learn and perform amazing tricks, all it takes is a little dedication and patience.
Teaching tricks to your dog can be a fun and rewarding bonding experience between you and your furry friend. Our suggested tricks and tips are meant to help training be easier for both you and your pet.
Here are some more articles on how to teach your dog tricks and commands:
P.S. Help a friend learn some easy dog tricks by pinning this!