Don’t let the old adage about old dogs scare you off, you can teach new tricks to dogs of any age. Dogs are natural learners who love figuring out new challenges, especially with a good friend and leader to help them along. Just remember that dogs are full of personality, and some may take more time to learn than others. That said, if you have a furry friend that needs something new to focus on, try out ta few of these tricks.
Spinning is a good trick. Lots of dogs have a lot of energy, and this can be a quick way to burn off the excess. Teaching your dog this trick is all about using their natural instincts to follow their nose in order to get them in circles.
- Let your dog sniff out a treat in your hand
- Once they’re interested and following, lead them in a wide circle as you give them the trick word – ‘spin’ or ‘circle’
- Encourage them with a treat – or clicker, if your dog is clicker-trained.
- Keep doing this over a few weeks, weaning down the treat until you can get them to follow without a treat.
Sitting is a foundational trick to teach your dog. This is an important command for everything for getting your dog to wait, heel, and more. Additionally, this can help your dog begin to pick up more patience and discipline.
- Use a treat to get your dog’s attention. Hold it just above their nose.
- Move the treat above and behind their head – they might try and follow it, but most dogs will begin to sit at a certain point. Once they completely sit, give them the treat and a lot of praise.
- After a few sessions of this, begin to add the command word “sit,” and then after a few more, begin doing this without a treat.
‘Shake’ is a classic trick to teach your dog, and is an excellent way to graduate your tricks. This is a natural progression from the sit command, and is useful for helping your dog’s coordination. Additionally, this is useful for helping them get used to vet inspections as well as nail clippings.
- Ask your dog to sit
- Brush against the back of her foreleg (don’t lift for them) until they lift their paw. Use your command while doing so – ‘Shake,’ or ‘Paw’ are both standard.
- After they’re used to this, reach for their paw while giving the command word and reward them for reacting to the handshake with a treat.