Five Tricks to Teach Your Dog

D. Williams

If your dog is a puppy, adolescent, adult, or a senior, almost any dog can learn to do at least a few tricks. Be sure to have short sessions, so your dog does not get tired. We do not want him to associate trick training with frustration. Trick training should be a fun, happy experience.

The Five Tricks assume that your dog has already mastered basic commands such as “sit,” “stay,” “down,” and “come.” If he has not, check out “Five Basic Commands” at

The rules before you begin:

1. Before attempting to do Trick Training, first, make sure that your dog is in good physical shape and has no issues that would cause him to be injured.

2. Make sure your dog has not just eaten before training. You want him to be into you and the training treats. For non–food-motivated dogs, use a toy that only shows up during training sessions.

3. Reward immediately—be fast when the dog does what you are looking for. Too slow, you will miss the opportunity to “mark” the correct behavior.

4. Wait to use a cue word until your dog is doing the exact behavior you want. Otherwise, you will be confusing your dog as to what the command actually means. Until that point, use a marker word such as “yes” to mean “You did it right, and food is coming.”

5. When teaching a dog a new trick, do 5 to 10 reps before moving to the next progression.

Detailed instruction for the following Five Tricks (this is a PDF that you can print out):

1. Sit Up, aka “Sit Pretty” trick requires the dog to balance in a sitting position with his front feet off the ground.

2. Reach up after your dog is able to “Sit Pretty,” lure him into standing on his back legs for the next trick.

3. Spin (both ways). Teach your dog to do a 360-degree spin.

4. Crawl, aka “Army Crawl.” This is a fairly simple trick to teach.

5. Speak, to teach your dog to speak on command.

Life of the party dogs love to please us and to be with us. Teaching and showing off the tricks he has learned will be satisfying for both of you.

Rover’s Kids are excited to be back to the second Saturday of the month Meet & Greet routine! As always, we will assist you in any way needed. We can help to facilitate obtaining supplies, transportation to vet, or groomer appointments and, of course, for pet sitting or boarding. If you have an emergency and need to leave, we can be right over to pick up and watch over your kid until you return. Do not forget we have some wonderful Kids for adoption! For more information, call 480-600-2828. Our November event will be in the greenbelt area. Please stop by!

Adapted in part, AKC Owner’s Manual and Family Dogs Training & Behavior