Having a dog is awesome, but not if they are running roughshod all over your house. You want to be the master of your domain, and that becomes tough with a furry little terror chewing up all your work shoes. Here are some tricks to teach your dog to keep them busy and help them learn some discipline. They will love it because you are spending time with them and giving them specific directions, and you will love it because now they listen and obey you. It is a win-win! And those don’t come around all too often. Here are nine of the essentials (and a couple more for good measure).
The cornerstone of every other trick, this command shows that your dog understands their name and is willing to respond to you when you call them. This trick is sort of essential for having a well socialized dog, insofar as this ensures that your dog is willing to drop whatever they are doing just to see what you want, which is a great, passive way to display your dominance.
Is your puppy jumping all over everyone the second they come in the door? Tugging at the leash trying to chase down anything on four legs? Whenever they start to lose control, give ‘em the old “Sit” command to get their attention and keep them in one place.
A variation on the “Sit’”command, the “Down” command gives your dog an, albeit forced, opportunity to take a load off. Let your pup know that this is no time for fooling around by making them cool off on the floor.
A great trick to learn, the “Speak” command can give a shy dog a voice and take the power away from a dog that is, let’s call it, overly vocal. By rewarding your pooch for barking on command, it may seem like you are just opening Pandora’s Box, but in reality, without this command you wouldn’t be able to teach this gem: “Quiet.” Teaching your dog the “Quiet” command is a great way to communicate with your dog, as well as save yourself a ton on ibuprofen.
Essential to ensuring your role as the dominant party in your relationship with your dog, “Heel” is a way to make walks more pleasant for everyone involved. Also, it is nice to have a way to get your dog by your side without having to hold on to them.
This one is mostly just for fun, but isn’t that what dogs are all about? If you want to play outside with your dog, and you don’t want to have to chase them down every 30 seconds to get the toy back, teaching your dog how to “Give” you back the toy will make everyone’s life much easier.
On a similarly fun note, the “Shake” command will have your dog looking like an obedience pro around your friends. I mean, do you want your dog to be an uncivilized cur, or do you want your pooch to introduce themselves like a sophisticated dog-about-town?
This trick is another great way to be able to better communicate with your dog. If your dog is ever someplace where they are not allowed, or should be somewhere where they aren’t, this series of tricks will make your life much easier. “Jump On” is great for getting your dog to climb up onto their grooming box without having to drag them up there, and “Jump Off” is great for getting your dog off the sofa.
Doesn’t it seem like at least once per walk your dog is getting tied up in their leash? Sick of having to get your dog to sit still and cooperate as you untangle them from their self-inflicted bondage? Teach them how to “Fix It” and with a couple shakes of the paw, they will free themselves all on their own!
If you think you and your pup are up to it, agility training is a great way to spend time with your dog, teach them some fun tricks, and get loads of good exercise in at the same time. Entertain all your friends at your next party with your hoop-jumping pooch.
Another great party trick, but for tiny dogs only, unless you think you can handle it with a bigger dog, but we don’t recommended it. With this trick you get your dog to climb up on your back and, eventually (and if they’re little enough) climb up to your shoulder, sitting up there like a little parrot. How cute is that?!
More On Dog Tricks
20 Dog Commands You Need To Know
Training Your New Puppy
Training an Older Dog