Here are some fun tricks that you and your dog can use to entertain party guests. First of your dog should be well groomed for your guests. They are quick and easy to teach, and can be put together into a small performance. Before your dog can learn any of these tricks he must first learn the Basic Dog Obedience.
Shake is a relatively easy trick to teach. Your dog will give you his paw on command as if shaking hands with you. Your dog needs to be in a sitting position for this trick.
Start by picking your dog’s paw up off the ground, shaking it, and reward. Continue to do this until your dog understands that this is what you want him to do. Then, start adding the command ‘Shake’ when you pick up his paw. Continue until your dog can perform this trick on cue with both verbal and non-verbal commands.
This is a very entertaining party trick to teach your dog. First, get your dog in a down/drop position. Then, using either food or a favorite toy, move it behind his back, guiding him to roll toward it. Once he has done so, reward. Continue to do this until he understands, then, add in the command ‘Rollover’ or just ‘Over’ as you do the motion.
Once your dog understands the command, try doing this trick standing, without the hand signal. If this doesn’t work, lean closer to your dog and add the hand signal, but be more vague with it. Don’t use the toy or food, just loosely move your hand in an arc over the dogs head as if showing him where to roll.
This trick will progress over time if you keep your dog practicing it, and it will get easier for him to roll. Depending on the dogs size and breed, it will either be easy for him to roll straight away, or take him a while to get used to the motion.
Note: For the following tricks your dog needs to know the tricks above.
Wave can take a lot of time to teach. If your dog understands the non-verbal command for shake (simply putting your hand out to take his paw) it makes teaching this trick a little less confusing for your dog.
- Either command ‘Shake’ or put your hand out to your dog, but don’t grab it. Let your dog’s paw reach out and go back to the ground. This is the ‘Wave’ motion. Reward after he has done so.
- Repeat doing this twice in a row before reward the next time, and then three times in a row a few times after that. Try to get your dog to wave at least four times in a row on a single command.
- After you have done this four or five times, start adding in the command ‘Wave’ as you finish the motion. Always reward after you have given the command.
This trick may take a while to teach, but eventually your dog will be able to wave goodbye to guests on command.
Once you have taught your dog to beg, he can say please for his food. You will need to get your dog in a sitting position for this trick.
- Hold some tricks in your finger tips, so your dog can see them, and put them above his head making him look up. Jiggle your hand in an encouraging way to try to make him take his front paws off the ground. If he does so, reward.
- If he is reluctant to take his paws off the ground, you will have to help him, by asking for his paw, and if he can shake both paws ask for both, otherwise pick up his other paw and put him in a beg position. After holding him there for a few seconds, command ‘Beg’ and reward before letting him go.
- Keep doing this until your dog needs less encouragement to go up on his hind legs, and gradually stop doing the hand signals. This trick may take longer to teach but continue on with the exercise, and your dog will get it eventually.
This trick is just an extension from rollover. Warm up with a few ‘rollovers’ before doing this trick.
- With either treats or a favorite toy, hold it above them and slowly make your dog rollover, but stop him by putting your hand on his belly and commanding ‘Wait’, once he is laying on his back.
- Keep him in this position for a few seconds, then command ‘Dead Dog’ or ‘Play Dead’ and reward.
- Continue with this until you can do it from a standing position, and make your dog stay in this position for about 5 seconds after he is completely still. This is a very entertaining party trick, that can be part of a small act with other tricks.
This trick is a progression from ‘Through the Legs’. Your dog will walk through the gap between your legs as you walk, several times. Before you begin, hold some treats in your hand and practice the ‘Through the Legs’ trick.
- Put one foot in front of the other with a wide enough gap that your dog can walk through.
- Command ‘Through’ or ‘Under’ and lead your dog through your legs. This may be a little confusing for your dog because he will be used to going through your legs from the front or back, or he might get it straight away. You may need to encourage him.
- Once he has done so, reward. Now with him standing on the other side of your body, put your other leg foreword and using the same process lead him through the gap. Reward.
- For this trick, you can either use the same command as you use for ‘Through the Legs’ or you could use the command ‘Weave’. Although if you have taught, or are teaching your dog ‘Wave’ then they may get the commands confused. You could also use the opposite command to what you use for ‘Through the Legs’, for example if you use ‘Through’, use ‘Under’ for ‘Weave Walking’ instead.
Whichever command you use, begin to use it after you have done the first exercise about four times. The trick ‘Weave Walking’ would usually consist of four ‘Weaves’ however it doesn’t matter how many you do. Gradually stop doing the hand signal and only work using the verbal command.
This can be a progression from ‘Spin’ although it is only a half revolution.
- First, stand with your dog infront of you and hold some treats to his snout. Then slowly move them behind him encouraging him to follow. When he has done the half revolution, reward.
- Repeat this a few times so that he vaguely knows what you want him to do. Now add in the command ‘Turn’ or ‘Half’ after your dog has completed the half turn. Reward.
Progress this trick and slowly take the hand movement away. Try to only do this trick using a verbal command. It may take a while for your dog to work out that you don’t want him to do a full revolution.
Back Through the Legs
This trick is a progression from ‘Walking Backwards’. With your dog standing in front of you facing the same way you are, he walks bacwards between your open legs. However this trick is harder to teach because it is unnatural for your dog to be facing away from you, and it is important that he does.
- Start by holding some treats to your dogs snout with him standing in front of you facing the same way you are.
- Then spread your legs apart and gently push into his snout forcing him to walk backwards. Make him walk backs until his is completely on the other side of your body. Reward.
- Continue this process several times and then add in the command ‘Back’. Using the same command for this as ‘Walking Backwards’ won’t confuse your dog as much as changing it will. It is still walking backwards except in a different direction.
- Gradually take away the hand movement and only use the verbal command. Eventually your dog will get used to the motion. This can be a fun trick to perform with your dog and is entertaining to watch. Something that will amaze anyone.
Fun Idea – You can put ‘Walking Backwards’, ‘Half Turn’ and ‘Back Through the Legs’ together and make an entertaining performance with heel work to music. You can include tricks such as ‘Spin’, ‘Weave Walking’ and ‘Rollover’ as well. Use your imagination!
This trick is also a progression form ‘Through the Legs’. Your dog weaves around and through your legs in a figure-8 motion.
- With your dog standing at your side, lead him through your legs from the front to the back.
- Then lead him to the other side of your body.
- Next, lead him through your open legs from to front to the back.
- Now repeat this step several times before adding in the commands ‘Left’ and ‘Right’ for the leg that he is going around. Gradually stop using the hand movement and only work using the verbal command.
This is also a great trick to do in a heel-work performance.