Useful And Entertaining Tricks You Can Teach Your Dog

According to Statista, there are at least 90 million dog owners in the United States. Dogs can provide protection, affection, comfort, and joy to their owners, making them a rewarding pet to own. The bond between human and dog is something special and can be reinforced in many ways.

One thing dog owners can do to build trust with their furry friend is to teach them some fun and unique tricks. Not only will it be fun to see your dog having a good time, but tricks can also keep them safe, physically healthy, and mentally stimulated.

Have Them Open And Close Doors

Labrador assistance dog with harness opening a living room door by tugging rope as help for disabled people
Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

There can be both pros and cons to teaching a dog to open and close a door, but it can really come in handy. It’s best to have them learn from a rope tied to the door, rather than using the handle. This is because larger breeds will leave scratch marks with their paws and smaller breeds cannot reach.

Opening and closing a door can be useful for dogs who need to use the bathroom or get a drink of water. Also, make sure to lock the doors if the dog is home alone, so they don’t escape.

Get A Sloppy Smooch

An owner kisses her Great Dane
Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images
Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images

One way to have your dog show that they love you is to teach them how to give a gentle kiss. Not everyone loves getting slobbered on, but most dogs kiss their owners as a sign of affection. This is one of the simplest tricks that many dogs can do even without training.

The best way to teach them is to put a treat on your cheek and give them a command to lick it off. Teaching a dog to kiss on cue can also prevent unwanted licking.

It’s Time To Jump Rope

a small dog jumping over a white rope
Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images
Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Getting a dog to jump rope can be extremely difficult, but once they master the trick it will all be worth it. Jumping rope gives them plenty of exercise and teaches them patience.

First, get your dog comfortable with jumping. Put them on an elevated platform and use a clicker and a treat every time they jump off. Next, show them the jump rope and have them get comfortable with it moving back and forth. Finally, move the jump rope all the way around your dog and tell them to jump when it gets to their feet.

Freeze, Hold It Right There!

A stray dog stands at a monument
Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Sometimes dogs can get too riled up and you may not have the energy or patience to keep up with them. This would be a good time to teach them the freeze trick. Your dog will be as still as a statue once they get the hang of it.

Owners will have to reinforce their dog’s stillness by giving them the command to freeze. Begin with saying the command every second until your dog stays still. It’s best to teach this to your dog when they are tired because it will give them a better chance of focusing.

How To Turn Your Dog Into A Cool Skater

a dog riding a skateboard
Jeff R. Bottari/Getty Images
Jeff R. Bottari/Getty Images

Skateboarding isn’t meant for all dogs, but will work great with smaller breeds because they have a lower center of gravity. First, introduce your dog to the skateboard by placing it upside down on a carpet and letting them explore it at their own pace.

If they show any interest in the skateboard, give them a reward and proceed to gently spin the wheels. Next, bring the skateboard right side up and roll it in the opposite direction of your dog. Finally, if they are still showing an interest bring the dog outside to mount the skateboard and roll forward and backward on it.

Let Them Speak

A little white Terrier mix barking
Bob Chamberlin/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Bob Chamberlin/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

If your dog suffers from excessive barking, then you can teach them commands to speak and remain quiet. Before you start the training, make sure you have a reward and a barking stimulus, such as a doorbell.

First, create a situation where you know your dog will bark and let them bark naturally. If you’re teaching them to speak, give them a treat while they are barking. If you’re teaching them to be quiet, give them the treat when they are done barking. Repeat this process with cue words until the dog understands the commands.

Teach Your Dog To Spin

dog spinning around in the wind on a grass field
Matt Cardy/Getty Images
Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Something that can set your dog apart from others is teaching them how to spin. Spinning can be paired with other tricks, such as jumping, to create a fun dance routine. Once they master the trick, you can also teach them to spin in a certain direction.

To get them started, use a wand or touch stick to guide them around in a circular motion. When they go around in a full circle, use a clicker or cue word and give them a treat. Repeat this process until they don’t need you to guide them and can do it on command.

Turn Your Dog Into Your Personal Secretary

a tiny dog dialing a rotary phone
SSPL/Getty Images
SSPL/Getty Images

While it seems like many people are already glued to their smartphones, it would still be useful to teach your dog to retrieve it when it rings. First, introduce your dog to the phone and have them bring it to you, rewarding them with a treat afterward.

Then, get them used to the ringing sound. Command them to bring you the phone only when it’s ringing and give them a reward if done correctly. It may be best to practice with an older phone, so your current one doesn’t get damaged.

Dogs Can Become Your New Cleaning Buddies

stray dog sniffs for food in a trash can
Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

While some dogs may dig through trash cans and make a huge mess, it’s possible to teach them to pick up trash off the ground. It’s similar to teaching them how to play fetch, but the items won’t be as obvious as a toy or ball.

First, take them to an open space and throw trash items such as tissues or wrappers into the air. When they reach the ground, command your dog to fetch them. If the dog doesn’t respond, personally walk them over to the trash with a treat and wait until they put it in their mouth. Keep doing this until the dog picks up the trash without you near them.

Why Dogs Should Learn To Bow

A Saluki dog stretches while waiting to compete with a trainer
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The popular yoga pose Downward Dog was inspired by what dogs look like when they are bowing. In order to form a perfect bow, the dog must stick their bottom half in the air while putting their elbows and chest on the floor.

Before training them to bow, they need to master the command of standing. Next, put a treat on their nose and slowly move it down until their elbows are on the floor. Do this process again, this time giving them a treat when they reach the floor. Finally, say a command before and after they complete the bow.

Play A Game Of Tug Of War

a woman and a bulldog playing tug of war with a branch in the park
Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

This trick is used by movie dog trainers when the dog has to save someone’s life. Some dogs may know how to tug on their own, but it’s best if they can do it on command.

Start out by using a rope toy and tell them to “take it” with you holding the other end. Each time they take it, give them positive reinforcement. Then, gently shake the rope toy and see if they tug on their own. After they tug, repeat the process, only this time saying “give” and rewarding them for letting go.

How They’ll Know It’s Bedtime

a Jack Russell terrier sleeps in bed
Franck Prevel/Getty Images
Franck Prevel/Getty Images

It may seem as though dogs spend most of their days sleeping, but it’s important for them to have scheduled hours of sleep during the night. In order for this to happen, they need to have a designated space to sleep.

Once the area is established, bring them over to the bed and place a treat on top until they stay on it. Do this multiple times while saying the command for going to bed and stop when your dog doesn’t need the treat. If you want to be completely sure they’ve mastered the trick, move the bed to other parts of the house and give the command.

Help Them Do The Army Crawl

an instructor teaching her dog to army crawl
Gordon Chibroski/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
Gordon Chibroski/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Having dogs learn to army crawl can improve their physical fitness and agility skills. You’ll need some treats to get started. First, have your dog lie down on the floor and hold a treat in front of their nose.

Then, step backward, so they can follow it. After they start crawling, give them praise by rewarding them with a treat. If they stand up, take the treat away and try again. Keep doing this until your dog is able to crawl about 10 to 15 feet on their own.

Dogs Can Learn To Wipe Their Own Paws

A groomer washes the paws of a white dog
Sarah Stier/Getty Images
Sarah Stier/Getty Images

It can be a struggle trying to make sure your dog doesn’t bring dirty paws into the house. After learning this trick, dogs will be able to wipe their own paws before coming inside. All you’ll need is a mat or towel and some treats.

First, have your dog stand on the mat or towel and give them a treat. If they get off of it, take the treat away. Then, wait for your dog to move their feet on the mat or towel and give them a reward. Finally, introduce a command for them to wipe their paws. And keep the rewards coming.

Get Ready To Have Your Dog Jump Into Your Arms

a dog jumping in the air into the arms of a man
Fabian Matzerath/DDP/AFP via Getty Images
Fabian Matzerath/DDP/AFP via Getty Images

It’s very important for owners to build trust with their dogs before teaching them any tricks. Once that trust is built they can usually accomplish a lot. Teaching your dog to jump into your arms is definitely challenging and takes a lot of trust.

In order to encourage your dog to jump, start by holding a treat or toy at about your chest level and see if they are comfortable jumping that high. Then, replace the treat with your hand and begin with a command word. Finally, bring your arms into your chest and say the command. Keep repeating this until your dog is comfortable jumping into your arms.

Have A Sing-A-Long With Your Dog

Cary Grant singing with Skippy the famous movie dog at a piano
Bettmann/Getty Images
Bettmann/Getty Images

If your dog knows how to howl, then they shouldn’t have too difficult a time learning to sing. Some dogs will naturally howl along to music if they hear it, while others need some encouragement to get them going. Also, it’s probably best to teach this to your dog if you think their howls won’t disturb others around you.

In order to get your dog singing, lead by example and howl along to some music. Encourage them to join in and when they start to howl say a command and give them a treat.

See If Your Dog Can Walk Backward

A dog travels by subway
Gregor Fischer/DPA/AFP via Getty Images
Gregor Fischer/DPA/AFP via Getty Images

Dogs should know how to walk backward because it can save them from a dangerous situation such as crossing a busy street or backing away from a suspicious animal. Learning to walk in reverse can also increase their coordination skills. When you’re beginning with the training, have your dog start in the stay position.

Next, approach your dog and they should instinctively back up. If they don’t, nudge them to go backward. When they back up, give them a treat and say a command. This trick should be practiced in a narrow space, so they can’t turn around.

Teach Your Dog To Weave Through Any Obstacle

a corgi dog weaving through white rods
Chris Livingston/Getty Images
Chris Livingston/Getty Images

Dogs participating in any kind of agility contest train for a long time to be able to weave effortlessly between poles. To get started with your pup, use either cones, cups, or buckets to form a straight line and place each obstacle about 24 to 30 inches apart. Then, use a touch stick or wand to show the dog how to get around each obstacle.

Once your dog goes through them, make a clicking sound, give them a treat, and say a command word such as “weave.” Repeat this several times until your dog can weave on command.

Teach Your Dog To Catch Anything

a dog catching a green ball in a park
Agency-Animal-Picture/Getty Images
Agency-Animal-Picture/Getty Images

Catching creates alertness and sharp focus in dogs. It can be a great trick to teach a pooch that has a ton of energy. Start off slow with some small treats and work your way up to soft toys and other objects. First, hand your dog the treat you want them to catch and say a command once they take it.

Then, drop the treat directly down toward their mouth and keep doing this by increasing the distance between you and your dog. Once they get the hang of it, move onto a soft chew toy or rubber ball by throwing it across from them.

Come On, Roll-Over

a golden retriever rolling over next to a duck
Pam Ishiguro/Getty Images
Pam Ishiguro/Getty Images

One of the most classic dog tricks is roll-over. It may not seem like much, but it takes some practice to get right. Have them start by laying down on the floor and move them side-to-side, showing them a treat. Once they move, make a clicking sound and say the command “roll-over.”

Keep moving the treat in front of the dog until they are on their back. Make another clicking sound and give them a treat again. Finally, do the same thing to get them on their stomach. You can take away the treats once they’re rolling over using just the command.