Easy Dog Tricks for Beginners

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When you see a dog performing amazing flips, jumps, and tricks, you’re probably thinking you could never train your dog to do those tricks. But any dog is capable of learning these tricks. Remember that proficiency at tricks isn’t limited to agility stars and online dog celebrities.

It doesn’t matter if your dog is a playful puppy or a sedentary senior.  All dogs can learn simple tricks regardless of age or breed, 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. That is why we’re here to help you with some easy-to-teach tricks to get you started. These easy dog tricks for beginners include shake, high-five, wave, roll over, and speak.

easy dog tricks

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.

There are endless benefits of teaching your fur baby a few tricks. In general, teaching them any behavior is a great way of communicating with them and becoming quicker to learn. See? Trick training benefits go way beyond wowing people!

To Keep Them Mentally Active

When teaching a dog new tricks, 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.

To Strengthen Your Bond

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.

Also, trick training helps develop mutual trust as your dog believes you can help them change their behavior and receive a reward afterward and you are guaranteed that they will learn how to act in certain situations because of the discipline you instilled in them.

Moreover, their obedience and manners improve so other people can approach your dog as they become pleasant around them. 

To Improve Physical Health

Trick training may result in better health for your dog and improve their flexibility, balance, and concentration. It’s like doggie sports!

Training dog tricks can also build endurance, stamina, and muscle tone which all contribute to physical well-being. They are also able to burn unwanted fats and use their energy more meaningfully.

To Get Them Used to Further Training

Another plus to teaching these easy tricks to your dog is that they will be more receptive to further training. They will understand that you are attempting to show them a new skill and will eagerly try to please you to receive a reward.

They will enjoy learning the new skill just as much as you will enjoy teaching it to them.

Why Start With 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 beginner dog 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 simpler tricks, then you can experiment and try more complicated tricks that branch out from the basics.

How to Teach Simple Dog Tricks Using Food?

A flavored toy or some small treats can be used to motivate your dog to perform most tasks. Remember that the reward should be appealing enough to them so that they give the desired response.

This bacon-scented dog toy from Hartz is just the right size for training them to do tricks. You can choose from various shapes such as disc, bone, ball, and rocker. It’s fun to throw and bounce, it floats, and it’s the best choice for outdoor games!

Now if you prefer a food treat for your dog to munch on as a reward, then this natural pack of pumpkin and carrot tasted treats from Old Mother Hubbard are a tasty treat for your doggo. One pack contains premium natural ingredients without artificial preservatives. Each piece is crunchy and tasty enough to motivate your pup!

Pair a command phrase or word with each action for the food then give them the reward immediately after an accurate response. This will help your dog learn the meaning of the commands. For example, food held over your pup’s nose and moved backward means a command to “sit”. Meanwhile, food brought back up from the ground means “stand”. 

As your dog learns to comply, you can start to hide the food in your hands. However, give the command and repeat the motion or the signal they learned to follow. Soon, they will start to expect the treat each time they perform the task. 

When they accomplish the trick, reward them with praise like “good dog” or a pat on the head. From now on, give the treats only every three or four times. 

When they get used to less treat, the pat on the head the “good dog” statement will start to become secondary reinforcers to them, and they will get less used to food as a reward. 

How Much Time Should You Spend Training Your Dog?

You do not need to organize a single hour-long session for training every day. Dogs to better with smaller sessions that are integrated into daily activity. Try for around 15 minutes of trick training every day but divide it into three five-minute sessions at different times throughout the day.

Take note that you should train them in every room of the house so that they will behave and be comfortable not just in one location. 

Easy Dog Tricks for Beginners Step by Step

These are some easy tricks to teach your dog 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.

Shake

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.

  1. Start by holding a treat in your closed hand, low so your dog can sniff it easily.
  2. 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.
  3. Repeat this until your dog is touching your hand almost instantly when you show him your hand.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. After a bit of patience, your dog will be able to shake with ease.

Check out this video for a demo:

High-Five

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.

  1. Show your hand to your dog with a treat in it. Start low and treat your dog when they touch your hand.
  2. Get them used to the idea that touching your hand equals a treat and then slowly lift your hand higher each time.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 they will get it. You will soon have a high-five partner.

See this trick in action:

Wave

Waving is a super fun trick where your dog shakes their 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.

  1. 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”.
  2. 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 their paw give them the reward. Don’t reward your dog if both paws come up. Only reward the correct behavior.
  3. Switch the command to “wave” as he successfully raises their paw high without your hand there to guide them.
  4. 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.

See it in action here:

Army Crawl

It’s in dogs’ DNA that they can crawl without proper training, so this trick will be very easy to teach. Dogs usually crawl when they try to scrape off leftover foods under the chairs.

Here’s how you can teach them.

  1. Have your dog lying flat on the floor. 
  2. Hold a treat on your hand and put it near their nose for them to be able to smell it without letting your dog to steal it from you
  3. Slowly pull the treat away from your dog while keeping it low near the floor until he follows it while crawling.
  4. If your dog successfully does the trick, praise them and hand over the treat.

Watch as this dog learns how to army crawl!

Roll Over

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.

  1. Get your dog into a “down” position.
  2. Once your dog is down, hold a treat to their nose to get their attention.
  3. Slowly move the treat to their shoulder while shifting your weight to encourage your dog to follow the treat and move as well. Praise and reward, even if they move just a little bit in the right direction.
  4. Continue step 3, encouraging your dog to move more and more each time. You will be moving the treat over their shoulder and down to the other side. Ideally, your dog’s nose and head will move with your hand.
  5. Once your dog is following your hand each time, you can move it all the way over, so they have to roll their entire body to follow the treat. When they are 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 how to roll over.

Stand Tall

This may seem difficult, but it is actually very easy for most dogs and simple to teach.

  1. Hold a treat in front of your dog above their head and move it backward.
  2. Once their front paws come up off the floor, give the reward.
  3. As your dog gets better at it, make it harder by raising your hand higher and holding it longer before giving the treat to them.
  4. Repeat the training again and again until he can stand on his own with just a command.

Speak

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.

  1. 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 they want the treat.
  2. Get your dog to bark at whatever makes them bark and then give them a treat.
  3. Add the command “speak” once they get the idea that barking equals a treat.
  4. Be careful not to treat them when they are 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 other things, like when your dog wants to let you know he wants to go outside.

Back Up

This trick primarily makes your dog gentler in public as it will prohibit them from running away or rushing to people. The trick is also very easy to teach your dog. 

  1. Begin with “stay”.
  2. Take a few steps away from your dog, and then turn and face them.
  3. Begin moving towards your dog. Some dogs will take a few steps back the minute you start moving in their direction. If your dog doesn’t start stepping back as you move toward it, keep going forward, and try to lean your body forward slightly.
  4. Then next time say “back up” as you move toward your dog.
  5. Continue to reward your dog as they back up on cue.

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 pup.

Check out our other articles for more tips on how to teach your dog tricks and commands:

Dog Training Commands Your Dog Should Know and How to Teach Them

10 Best Dog Training Tips for Successful and Effective Dog Training

The Best Online Dog Training Course

How to Train Your Dog to Sit

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