Teach Your Dog Tricks

Edited by Train Wreck, Eng, VisiHow

A dog is considered to be man's best friend. If you have a dog, you probably love to play with it. But some dog owners also want to teach their dogs to perform various tricks. The reason behind the trainings may be different. Sometimes you may just want to impress your friends by showing them that your dog listens to you. Other times, you may want your dog in to perform for competitions or exhibitions. No matter why you want to teach your dog tricks, you need to remember that the effectiveness of the learning process does not depend only on your dog, but also on the way you plan to teach. In this tutorial we will share some tips that you will find useful when teaching your dog tricks.

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Determine Your Dog's Personality

Dogs acquire various tricks to varying degrees. One dog may think that a particular trick is difficult, while another dog will comprehend the same trick in a moment. There is no doubt that the pace of assimilation of tricks depends largely on both the degree of difficulty and on the intellectual ability of the dog, but there is also another factor that is worth remembering when teaching your dog tricks. That factor is your dog's personality. Tricks such as "High Five" or roll over are easy to teach a dog that has a low urge to fight, but are a lot more difficult to teach a dog with a strong impulse to fight. In other words, the dog with a strong urge to fight will not "stoop" to perform "light" tricks, because it is beneath the dog's dignity. Please see the list below for a better explanation of what each personality type of dog is generally best at learning:

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  1. 1
    Dogs with a low urge to fight.
    These dogs are the best at learning things like a high five, rolling over, or playing dead.
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  2. 2
    Dogs that like to hunt.
    Hunting dogs will more quickly acquire skills such as searching for something, fetching things, or jumping over their owner's shoulders.
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  3. 3
    Herding dogs.
    Dogs with a strong herding instinct will more quickly learn to stay, to follow, or to come. They are also often easier to train to be off a leash.
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  4. 4
    Dogs with an urge to fight.
    These are often the most difficult dogs to train. Once trained they are quite good at learning to sit, to stay, to come, and to fetch, but their natural aggression can undermine training routines. This is because such dogs need to respect their owners as being in charge. Someone sweet talking an aggressive dog isn't demonstrating leadership to the dog, which makes it very hard to teach.
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  5. 5
    All dog types and personalities.
    Obviously, this list is an oversimplification. It does not mean that a dog with a strong will to fight will never learn a high five. Rather, it means that a dog is more likely to learn tricks that are consistent with its personality. Professional trainers can overcome most of these personality types, though in some cases bear in mind that teaching your dog new tricks will be easier if your dog has a particular habit. Consider this unique ability as a starting point for learning tricks. When you notice that your dog does something that could be easily converted into a trick, give it a signal using praise and a small treat. Now, all you need to do is associate your dog's behavior with the appropriate verbal command. Soon the dog will learn to perform the trick on demand.
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Learn To Teach Your Dog Tricks

  1. 1
    Practice for a short time on a regular or daily basis.
    If you want to teach your dog some simple tricks, try to spend approximately 10-20 minutes per day practicing. Setting aside practice time is a good way to reduce frustration and increase concentration. Repeat the exercises of your choice a couple of times, praising your dog and giving a treat whenever it behaves properly. For the easiest tricks, you need more or less one week to achieve some success. However, the rate of success depends on both you and your dog. Don't give up if you need extra time!
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  2. 2
    Teach your dog gradually.
    If your dog has no experience performing tricks, do not try to teach it more complex things at the very beginning. The key to teaching tricks is your ability to separate elements that are simple enough from those elements that are more difficult. For example, if you want your dog to give you a "High Five", first teach it how to give you a paw.
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  3. 3
    Avoid aggressive behavior.
    Remember that your dog is your friend and teaching tricks should be fun for both of you. Avoid shouting or beating your dog in case of failure, because the dog will be more likely to become discouraged. You can also cause the dog to lose trust in you, or the process of teaching tricks. If it isn't fun, the dog will associate it with the same feeling he or she has when going to the veterinarian.
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  4. 4
    Remember to give rewards.
    You're the one who knows your dog the best. You're also the one who knows what your dog likes the most. Food is considered to be the best reward for teaching tricks. For some dogs, small treats will work perfectly. Other dogs may prefer pieces of meat or cheese. However, avoid treats that consist of a lot of salt, preservatives and fat. It may also happen that your dog does not like treats as a type of reward. In this case, you may have difficulty finding a proper and effective reward. Just try to keep in mind what your dog likes the most, and give it to them immediately after they do the trick. Also, try not to end your exercises with a failure, but rather on a more positive note!
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Teach Your Dog to Give a Paw

  1. 1
    Crouch in front of the dog.
    Put a hand out to him and state the command you want to use; for example, "Give me your paw" or "Paw".
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  2. 2
    Gently grasp the dog's elbow and lift its paw a few centimeters off the ground.
    You should choose the dog's dominant paw for this action (your pet should indicate the dominant paw by itself).
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  3. 3
    Move the dog's paw into your hand and gently shake it.
    Be sure to praise and reward your dog with a treat. Repeat this exercise five times over two sessions.
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Teach Your Dog to Raise a Paw

  1. 1
    Crouch in front of the dog.
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  2. 2
    Put your hand out to the dog while stating the selected command; for example, "Hello".
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  3. 3
    Wait for a reaction.
    If the dog does not respond, touch its elbow and again put out your hand. Give your dog a chance to raise its own paw.
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  4. 4
    If the dog raises a paw by itself, grab the paw, praise your dog and give it a treat.
    Then, give the release command. If the dog does not raise its paw, grab the paw, praise your dog, give the treat, and then give the release command.
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  5. 5
    Repeat these exercises until your dog raises its paw upon hearing the command.
    Over time, you can teach your dog in the same way to give you a second paw.
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Teach Your Dog to Give a High Five

  1. 1
    Crouch in front of the dog.
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  2. 2
    Put your hand out to your dog while stating the selected command; for example, "High Five" or "Five".
    At this stage, the dog should put its paw in your hand. Praise your dog and give it a treat. Then, give the release command. If the dog does not react, come back to Lesson 2.
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  3. 3
    Repeat this exercise until the dog learns to put its paw into your hand without hesitation whenever you give the command.
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Additional Recommendations

Never forget that teaching your dog tricks should be fun and should also be a way to strengthen your friendship. If you are not patient enough, you can always send your dog to a special school where trained people will teach your dog. For some people, sending a dog to the trainer may not give the same pleasure as achieving goals together. For other people, the frustration of failing, or inability to regularly teach may prove too much. Additionally, schools for dogs may be useful for anyone when you want to teach your dog actions that are more difficult than basic tricks.

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See more tutorials on dogs: Know What to Feed Your Dog, Excercise Your Dog, Travel Safely with a Dog, Groom a Dog, Wash a Dog, Train Your Dog to Walk on a Leash.

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Categories : Dogs

Recent edits by: Eng, Train Wreck

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