Want a fun, new activity to bond with your dog, fight off boredom, and impress friends and family? Try teaching your dog some new tricks. We’re not just talking “sit,” “stay,” and “lie down.” These three tricks—walk backward, hug, and learning names of specific places and things—go beyond the basics, stretching your abilities and stimulating your dog’s mind at the same time.
Seemingly simple, this trick can be the basis of teaching your dog tricks that mimic dancing. It also helps you teach your dog to perform an activity while remaining locked in on you. According to Success Dogs, here is the best way to teach this ability.
Start by positioning your dog standing up and directly in front of you. Make sure to have your treats ready. While making sure your dog’s attention is on you, step backward, which will prompt your dog to move toward you. Reward this behavior before stepping forward again. As your dog follows suit and steps back, you should then reward them with a treat.
Success Dogs says you should then start using a command to teach your dog the link between the word and the action. Check out their website for the full step-by-step instructions.
You’ve probably already seen this Instagram-favorite trick replicated many times. The “hug” trick is a heart-warming choice to add to your dog’s repertoire and can be taught using a combination of a few different simple tricks.
Dog Training by Kikopup offers a full video tutorial of this stunt on YouTube. We’ll walk through the main steps here. First, dog trainer Emily explains that it’s helpful to teach your dog how to sit pretty and use both paws to perform different actions before teaching this trick.
In the video, Emily runs her dog through a series of behaviors: first presenting their paw, then offering their paw while Emily holds a pool noodle (a stand-in for a leg or arm) in front of them. When the dog touches the object or curls their paw around it, they are rewarded. Eventually, Emily adds “sit pretty” to the routine and rewards her dog for wrapping both paws around the object. Over time, the object can be replaced with your arm or leg for a full hug. Watch the YouTube video to get the full training tutorial.
Not only will this trick make your dog look like the genius they are, but it’s also useful. Teaching your dog names of people, places, and things in your house can help you direct them and better communicate with them on a daily basis.
For this trick, from Doggie Buddy, start by prompting your dog to use their paw to make contact with your hand. Reward this behavior, then move on to holding the item that you want your dog to recognize and giving them a treat for touching the object. Next, start adding in the name of the item when your dog makes contact with it. For more tips and information, plus details on teaching people’s names, check out the Doggie Buddy article.
These are just a small sampling of the stunts that it’s possible to teach your dog. Start with these, then continue adding new abilities to your dog’s lineup. They’ll enjoy the challenge, and you’ll grow closer with your beloved pet.