9 Cool Tricks That Make You and Your Dog Look Brilliant


Photo: Gorodenkoff / Adobe Stock

It’s amazing what Fido can learn with the power of positive reinforcement! Our canine companions are sharp-witted students, and there are all sorts of neat things we can teach them that will not only impress your friends but give your dog helpful lifelong skills. Whether your dog needs a little help walking on leash or you just want to enjoy a fair game of Frisbee together, positive reinforcement is the key to enjoying the learning process.

With this quick guide we help you to teach your dog nine useful tricks, cues, and skills that will strengthen your bond with each other.

9 Cool Dog Tricks Your Pup Can Learn on Cue

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1. Fetch

Jason Donnelly

Fetch is a great game to play with our canine companions. They get a bit of exercise and together you feel like a victorious team with each successful toss and retrieve. Not every dog is born with the know-how to fetch a toy but it’s easy to teach when you use really good treats and reinforce your dog every time they go and grab a toy and when they bring it back to you.

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2. Heel

Jason Donnelly

Dogs need daily walks for a healthy mind and healthy body. The majority of the walk should enable your dog to sniff, sniff, and sniff some more. But when you need to walk across traffic quickly or navigate a narrow pathway, heeling on leash is an important safety skill any dog can learn. Teaching a dog to heel on leash takes some practice but when you use an effective hand target and tons of super delicious treats, your dog can learn to walk nicely in heel position for short distances in no time at all.

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3. Come

Jason Donnelly

Of all the important skills a dog needs to know, coming when called might rank as #1. If you plan to enjoy off-leash time together or, in the event your dog ever accidentally slips out your front door, a recall cue like “come” is crucial to living safely with our puppers. When you combine coming when called and getting to eat nummies into one fun game, any dog can learn to come when called on cue.

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4. Drop it

Jason Donnelly

Playing with our dog is one of our favorite activities but when your dog doesn’t always play fair, fun times can end quickly (well, at least for you). If your doggo thinks it’s fun to grab that new squeaky toy and take off for the hills or doesn’t want to give up pilfered gems from under your bed, a drop-it cue becomes essential to living happily ever after. Successfully teaching this skill means not confusing it with a leave-it cue and always being ready to trade your dog for something even better, like a preferred treat or a fair game of tug.

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5. Lie Down

Jason Donnelly

Probably one of the easiest skills to teach any canine is to lie down on cue because every dog, even the most active ones, needs to rest at some point during their day and the behavior comes naturally for them. A “down” cue is not only easy to learn but can also serve as the foundation for lots of other awesome tricks and skills. When you use a food lure to begin the learning process and quickly fade it as your dog understands the goal, you can teach your dog to lay down when you ask in just three simple steps.

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6. Stay

Carson Downing

Teaching your dog to stay in place is valuable, especially as a way to instill some patience in your young dog or prevent them jumping out of the car before you’re ready. You can also use a stay cue to build other more complex behaviors, like go-to-bed. Within five steps, your dog can learn “stay,” first when you reinforce your dog for paying attention while staying in one position and then by moving away from your dog as they remain attentive.

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7. Roll over

Carson Downing

There might not be anything cuter than seeing a dog show their hairy belly as they perform a roll over cue. But this cue is also a super handy way for you to check your dog for any tummy concerns, like mats or ticks. When you use a tasty treat lure and marker you can guide your dog onto their back and then to their side in a few short repetitions.

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8. Shake

Carson Downing

This cue might not seem like anything more than just a cute dog trick, but teaching your dog to shake can become a foundational cue for successful nail trims, foot and leg care, and other tricks like “wave” or “high five.” To start, your dog should be able to comfortably lift up a paw from a sitting position. Then, it’s just capturing your dog’s natural pawing behaviors with clicks (a marker) and good treats.

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9. Sit

Carson Downing

Whether you have a new puppy or just adopted a distinguished senior canine, one of the first things you are likely to teach them is to sit on cue. It can be nearly effortless to do when you use a scrumptious treat to lure your dog into the position and then are quick to mark and treat.

No matter what new thing you want to teach your pooch, remember to make their wonderful efforts worthwhile by creating lots and lots of opportunities for positive reinforcement! In no time at all, your dog will look like the smartest one on the block.

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