Have you ever sat on the couch with your furry best friend watching movies or TV shows about a well-trained dog? Did you secretly wonder how you can teach your dog to do amazing tricks just like those dogs on the TV? Well, luckily, you’re in the right place! Here at Squishface, we’ve also had moments wishing our wrinkly-faced pooches would collect us ice cream on-command. And, while we’re still trying to figure out how to train our dogs to do that one, we’ve settled for some of the standard dog tricks such as sit, stay, roll over, and so on.
Where to Begin: Dog Training Basics
The first tip to training your dog to learn a trick is to know that the experience should be fun and enjoyed by both you and your dog as it presents the perfect bonding experience. During this time, you can establish routine, boundaries, play spaces, and relaxation spaces all as part of a healthy home with your dog.
The next thing to be aware of is knowing how to teach your dog to learn in "dog time." When training your dog to perform dog tricks, repetition is key. This is because dogs will often forget a trick two minutes after performing it. So, it is a good idea to end training on a positive note with a treat or playtime incentive.
Finding Incentives to Train Your Dog to Learn Tricks
It’s important to learn your pup’s favorite toys and treats to make it a more effective training experience. Also, try to vary the incentive every so often so they don’t lose interest in the treat or toy and become unresponsive when you teach them dog tricks. It is also important to find a treat that you can restrict to training time and rewards only. Otherwise, the incentive loses power and your dog can become confused if the incentive is overused in everyday play.
Need some ideas for the best toys for dogs? Check out the top rated dog toys this holiday season.
Don’t be disheartened if your training methods or incentives differ to those around you.
Dogs are all different with certain environments triggering a specific response in one dog and a different response in another. The important part is to feel relaxed, confident, and make the experience enjoyable for both you and your dog.
Here are 5 fun and easy tricks with some tips and pointers on how to successfully train your dog.
For this trick, begin with a piece of tape about a few inches long and a training treat. Introduce the smooth side of the tape to your dog and when they interact positively, verbally praise and reward with a treat. Repeat this, getting the tape closer to the face, and saying "kiss" as your pooch approaches the tape. After a while, place the sticky-side of the tape on your cheek. Then remove the tape, present your cheek and say "kiss." When your pup interacts with your cheek, be sure to give them a treat and verbally praise them.
If you happen to notice an odor or see irritated wrinkles when your dog comes in to give you a kiss, your pup might be suffering from tear stains or skin fold dermatitis. If that’s the case, our amazing Squishface Wrinkle Paste and Squishface Tear Stain Paste can help clean your dog’s tear stains, wrinkles, tail pockets, and irritated toes - literally from head to toe! We even have convenient Squishface Wrinkle Wipes for on-the-go cleaning.
- Shake Hands
How to teach your dog to shake can be quite simple because dogs often lift their paws to beg for a treat, anyway. So, begin with your pup in the "sit" position. Have a treat in your hand and slowly lower to your dog’s paw. As they lift their leg in anticipation, begin your verbal cue "shake." When they have placed their paw on your hand, praise them and treat them to the reward. With time in training, keep lifting your hand further away from the floor and try to remove the treat. Not only this, but don’t forget repeating the process with the other paw. Our pups are not ambidextrous, so we need to offer them lateral balance.
As the classic game with dogs, playing fetch is what most prospective puppy parents dream about on a sunny day in the park. Firstly, find a toy that your dog likes to hold in their mouth. Then praise behavior when the dog has shown interest such as sniffing or licking. After a while, reward after the dog has used their mouth to try and take the toy, also introducing verbal cues such as "take it." At this point, you can begin introducing different toys to avoid association with just one toy. After a while, instruct your dog to hold the object for a certain time. And, when they are rewarded, take the toy and place it away from you. When they grab the toy again, they will naturally bring it back to you to look for the treat. With time, keep increasing the distance between you and the toy while saying "fetch" or "find it." Then you’ll be able to play a good game!
- Play Dead
This is a super fun game and command to teach your dog. However, it must be noted that your pup should already know the command for "lie down" in order to begin. So, if you’re not there yet, first start with teaching your dog the “lie down” command.
Begin with your pooch lying down. Take your treat close to your dog’s nose, slowly pulling to the side so they have to roll over to reach it. When lying in the "dead" position, give a verbal praise and let them eat the treat. Repeat these steps multiple times a day, incorporating verbal cues such as "bang" along with hand movements, if desired.
It’s important to take baby steps allowing your dog to learn at their own pace. While this is one of the easy tricks to train your dog, it requires strength and can be difficult to perform. Begin with your dog sitting down. Take your treat and hold it above their heads so they have to lean back onto their hind legs and look up. Complete this process a few times and when your pup is ready, start holding the treat higher up. As some dogs can be very tall, this might be an easier trick to teach to smaller dogs. As your pooch progresses, increase the standing duration and begin to draw circles to encourage them to spin around and dance for the treat. Eventually, introduce the verbal command "dance" and a hand signal that doesn’t involve the treat and you’ll be golden!
Top Tips from the Pros
The RSPCA suggests starting dog training lessons in a quiet space in the house to avoid distractions. And you should also use this time to concentrate on your dog’s body language. Be sure to pay attention if your dog is giving cues that they are uncomfortable or need a break. Also, it should be noted that it can take an average of 6 weeks for a dog to fully learn a new trick, so daily repetition, and patience, are key!
Here at Squishface, we’re all about keeping your furry friends happy and motivated. When you teach dog tricks to your pooch, you are boosting their self-confidence, allowing them to relax, diminishing destructive behaviors, creating a space for mental stimulation, as well as having bonding time with your dog.
Be sure to check our blog regularly for other great tips for dogs and their owners!