Don’t believe what they say…. You can teach old (and young) dogs new tricks! And what better time than the beginning of a new year to get started?
Your Old Dog Can Learn New Tricks
Teaching your dog a couple of new tricks is a fun way to bond with your pet while also providing some physical and mental simulation for them. Just like humans, dogs can learn new tricks and behaviors at any point in their life.
If you want to train your dog, it’s important to have plenty of healthy treats on hand. Keep training sessions around 10 minutes long to prevent your dog from getting bored and make sure you tackle the basic tricks first. Here are five easy tricks to tackle in 2022.
Teaching your dog how to shake hands, or in this case, paws is a fun and easy trick for them to learn. Not only that, it’s a great way to impress your friends!
Start by having your pup sit while you hold a treat in your hand. Show the treat in your hand to get your pet interested, then close your hand so they can’t get it and place your hand near your dog’s paw. Give the command “shake” and wait for your pet to touch your hand. You can also wave your hand with the treat under your pet’s nose to keep them interested. Once your pup touches your hand with their paw, reward your dog with the treat and lots of praise! Remember, practice makes perfect so keep repeating this process until your pet understands the “shake” command.
Start by having your dog stand up facing you. Let your dog see a treat in your hand. Stand still and say, “Turn around”. Lead the dog’s nose around to the left (clockwise) with the treat so he walks in a circle. When he comes back to where he’s facing you again, say, “Good dog!” and give him the treat.
After some practice, hold the treat in front of you so your dog can see it and say, “Turn around,” but don’t lead his nose. See if he is ready to turn around by himself and get the treat. Pretty soon, he will turn around faster than you can say ‘Lassie!”
If you choose to use the words, “Turn Left”, use them all the time. Don’t use “Turn around” sometimes, and “Turn Left” other times. Be consistent.
This is a great trick for smaller dogs because it doesn’t require any size to complete the trick.
Give a Kiss
Dogs are known for showering their owners with lots of love and soberly kisses, but now you can teach your pooch how to give you a smooch on command!
Start by having some treats and a piece of tape to use as a lure. Place the tape on the palm of your hand and have your dog touch the tape with their nose. When they complete this action, reward your dog with a treat. Repeat having them tap the tape while bringing the tape closer to your cheek. Add the command word “kiss” to signal to your pet to kiss the tape. Once they have mastered the action, place the tape on your cheek and have them “kiss” the tape. Repeat this until they understand the command, remove the tape, and have them kiss your cheek. When your pet gives you a kiss on the cheek, reward them with a treat and lots of praise.
Take a Bow
Want a regal way for your pooch to thank your family and friends for viewing his new tricks? Teach your pup how to take a bow!
Grab some treats and start your dog in the “standing” position. Hold the treat in front of his nose and slowly lower the treat to the ground. Keep the treat close to your dog’s body as you lure your dog to the ground, keeping their backside up. Have your dog hold this position for a few seconds, then get them back up on all fours by raising the treat from the ground. When they complete this action, reward them with the treat! Repeat this process with them several times over a couple of training sessions. Once your pup understands the action, add the command word “bow” and repeat the training process.
If your pup tends to lower their entire body to the ground, try keeping your arm gently under their stomach to keep their backside elevated and prevent them from lowering to the ground completely. This trick is a little tricky to master so patience is key.
Get your dog to go into a “down” position in front of you and then hold a treat close to their nose. Gently turn their nose towards their shoulder by slowly moving your hand, containing the treat, to the side of their head.
As your dog’s nose follows the treat, they’ll flop onto their side. Reward them with the treat and plenty of praise. Keep repeating the move and add in the command “roll over” so they associate the behavior with getting a treat.
Give it Time
Teaching your pup different kinds of tricks can be a fun and engaging way to keep your pup from developing more destructive habits. It can also be an excellent way to spend time bonding. Teaching your canine companion new tricks will take time, consistency, and above all else, persistence.
Don’t give up on the first try. It takes some dogs upwards of 42 times over a period of days to learn a new command. Some pups can take even longer than that. Remember to be patient, and your pup will eventually learn to do what’s being asked of them. It will come even quicker if there’s positive reinforcement and love behind your training.