Week 19 #askleightonshow that goes into more depth…

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Teaching fun tricks is one of the best parts about having a dog!  Why stop at basic obedience commands like “sit”, “down”, and “stay”, when your dog can learn “spin”, “peekaboo”, and “roll over”?




1.   Teaching your dog tricks give them something to do. A hobby so to speak.  It is often more fun for a dog to learn a trick than practice obedience training, although both have similar benefits.

2.   It builds a stronger relationship between you and your dog.

3.   Trick training is a positive and fun thing to do and can be used to redirect a dog’s energy from destructive or harmful behaviors.

4.   It teaches the dog that communication and socialization are positive and rewarding things.

Why Do it?

All dogs can learn new tricks if they are motivated and willing to work for you.  The most rewarding part of learning and performing tricks for a dog is pleasing you and making you smile.  If you’ve got your treats and you’ve got your dog, here’s how to teach a few iconic tricks that everyone will love! 


“Spin” is a great trick because it can be used to teach your dog left and right.  After teaching to spin one way, you can teach him to “reverse” and spin the other way.

Use food to lure your dog to turn in a circle, initially just turning to the side, and eventually spinning all the way around.  The lure should basically be glued to your dog’s nose, rather than held out in front of him.  If the lure is too far away from the dog’s nose, he will have a more difficult time completing the turn. 


“Roll Over” is a classic, but seriously underestimated trick.  Dogs don’t always like exposing their belly, so some may have trouble learning this one.  Remember your treats and your positivity, and your dog will soon realize that rolling over is a fun and rewarding trick. 

1.     Like with the “Spin” trick, having your dog’s nose glued to a treat lure will help him succeed in learning to complete the trick.  Lure your dog’s nose to his shoulder blade towards the direction you want him to roll so that he is inclined to flop onto his side.  Mark this behavior with a “yes!” and treat. 

2.     Once your dog is used to shifting weight onto his side, continue to lure him further to expose his belly, and eventually, roll all the way over.  Reward all your dog’s progress with a verbal marker and a yummy treat!

For more information, Kelli explains “Roll Over”


This trick requires luring, bridging, and a lot of practice for your dog. You are asking him to stand, fall, and get back up on que.  This is more complex than the “Spin” trick, but it’s still a lot of fun and will get a lot of laughs

  1. Using a lure, get your dog to raise his front two paws off the ground so that he is “standing”.
    1. This trick is also sometimes called “Sit Pretty” (although here the command will be “stick ‘em up!”) and is a fun addition to playing dead.
    2. You will need to bridge this command with the rest of the trick you are about to teach your dog.
  2. From a down position, lure your dog onto his side or his back to expose his belly.  Don’t forget to verbally mark this behavior with a “yes!” and reward your dog IMMEDIATELY after he achieves the behavior you want.
  3. After your dog consistently understands the movement of showing you his belly, you can incorporate fun things like your “gun hand” and the word “Bang!” that will que him to go belly up from a standing position
  4. A release command like “It’s a miracle!” or “you’re alive!” will release the dog from the floor.

      For more information, Kelli McCoy explains step by step how to teach your dog to “Stick ‘Em Up” 

Some tips

1.     Learn tricks step by step!  If your dog is having trouble learning or completing the trick, try breaking it down and teaching it in smaller parts.  In the training world, we call this process “bridging”.  Bridging builds on each little step of the trick and makes it easier for the dog to understand once all the small steps are finally put together.

2.     Your every-day basic obedience training also serves as a bridge when trying to teach your dog a new trick.  For example, your dog already being familiar with the “down” command will certainly help him to easily understand “roll over”.

3.     When getting your dog to try new things and learn new tricks, try using high-value treats to really motivate them to work for you.  Eventually we want the reward to be our verbal praise, but your dog’s favorite food is a great way to get the learning process started.  Treats can also be used to lure the dog into doing the behavior you want, and then given as a reward after the dog has completed the behavior.

4.     Make sure to mark the behavior you want.  In addition to high-value treats, a verbal marker like the word “yes!” or a training clicker will help your dog understand what you are wanting him to do.

5.     Keep trick training positive!  Learning tricks shouldn’t necessarily feel like work for you or your dog.  This is a fun activity; praise and reward as much as possible!

And remember…

Often times our dogs come with funny quirks and unique personalities.  It’s why we love them so much!  Some of the distinctive behaviors we find in our dogs can be used as inspiration to teach them fun and silly things to do on command.

Tricks are a dog’s hobby.  Learning tricks is a fun and productive thing for you and your dog to do together and should be a rewarding experience for you both.  When learning new behaviors, remember that timing is everything.  Reward your dog verbally or with food IMMEDIATELY after he does what you want, or he will miss the concept of performing for you.

Teach tricks to your dog as slowly and positively as possible.  Enjoy yourselves!

Additional Tricks you can work on with your dog

  1. Jump through hoops
  2. Give hugs/kisses
  3. Speak
  4. Peekaboo
  5. Shake or High Five
  6. Back Up
  7. Bow
  8. Be “Shy” or “Ashamed”
  9. Leg Weaves
  10. Crawl

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