Pet Tricks

ARE YOU INTERESTED IN TEACHING YOUR DOG A FEW PET TRICKS? BELOW ARE SOME OF OUR FAVORITES!

1. Have yummy treats ready. Remember, a yummy treat is a small bit of meat or cheese; something that your dog does not normally receive. The yummier it is, the more your dog will be willing to work for it.

2. Have your dog sit facing you. Hold a treat in your hand, ready to dispense.

3. Blow gently into your dog’s face. If he lifts his paw to scratch at his face, stop blowing and treat him immediately. Repeat a few times until he has several successes. It doesn’t matter how high he lifts his paw at first-treat any lifts.

4. After 5 or 6 tries, quit and go do something fun with your dog. Return to teaching the trick after a few hours, or the next day. (Ending teaching sessions while the dog is still interested in the training is much more effective because it keeps the dog interested, and he will be more likely to want to return to training.)

5. When you return, be patient. You will have to blow a few times to get him started, but if you are patient, and he is hungry, he should start offering the paw soon without any blowing. Once he starts, discontinue the blowing, treat a few more good tries, and quit again.

6. By the third time you get set up for this, your dog will probably be offering his paw regularly, before you even have to blow. You want to treat any paw lifts at first, then only treat the higher ones until all he offers is high ones. Make sure you praise him as you give the treat. Add the command “wave” and wave your hand before each try.

With lots of practice, your pooch will be waving like a pro!

Note: if your dog won’t lift his paw when you blow on his face, try tickling the back of his paw until he lifts it, then treat. Or, treat whatever he does when you blow on his face, and make it a different trick! Experiment!

Good luck! Tell us how it goes! Call 404.974.2899, or send us a picture of your pooch doing his trick.

  1. Have yummy treats ready. Remember, a yummy treat is a small bit of meat or cheese; something that your dog does not normally receive. The yummier it is, the more your dog will be willing to work for it.
  2. Have your dog sit facing you. Hold a treat in your hand, ready to dispense.
  3. Raise the treat up and over your dog’s head so that he must stand on his hind legs to get it. When he does, treat him and praise him.
  4. After 5 or 6 tries, quit and go do something fun with your dog. Return to teaching the trick after a few hours, or the next day. (Ending teaching sessions while the dog is still interested in the training is much more effective because it keeps the dog interested, and he will be more likely to want to return to training.)
  5. Try to only treat if he does not place his paws on you or anything else while “dancing.” Gradually wait longer and longer to treat him so that he will learn to stay upright longer. Remember to praise him each time you pop the treat in his mouth.
  6. As he improves, say “dance” just before holding the treat up, and add a hand signal if you wish. Try to get your pet to spin around or walk a few steps before treating.

With lots of practice, your pooch will be dancing like a pro!

Good luck! Tell us how it goes! Call 404.974.2899, or send us a picture of your pooch doing his trick.

BY EMAIL: Email a .jpg photo along with anything you would like to share about your pet. Our email address is successstories@atlantahumane.org

BY REGULAR MAIL: Mail us a non-returnable photograph of your pet (be sure to tell us your pet’s name and your name). Include your email address if you have one, or a phone number if you don’t, so that we can alert you if we decide to use your photo on our website. Mail to:

Graphics Department
981 Howell Mill Rd. NW
Atlanta, GA 30318

Did you know? Tricks are not only fun for your pet, but they help keep them happy and well-adjusted, and more focused on you!

1. Have yummy treats ready. Remember, a yummy treat is a small bit of meat or cheese; something that your dog does not normally receive. The yummier it is, the more your dog will be willing to work for it.

2. What sort of things make your dog bark or whine in a funny way? Do whatever it takes to make your dog speak, then treat him and praise him immediately. You might try having someone knock on the door or ring the doorbell, or dance around and act silly.

3. Make sure you praise and treat your dog as soon as he barks or makes the noise you want. You may have to ring the doorbell (or whatever you did) several times until he figures out that making noise = treat.

4. After 5 or 6 tries, quit and go do something fun with your dog. Return to teaching the trick after a few hours, or the next day. (Ending teaching sessions while the dog is still interested in the training is much more effective because it keeps the dog interested, and he will be more likely to want to return to training.)

5. The next time you are ready to try, say “speak” just BEFORE you ring the doorbell or whatever, then praise and treat when he makes noise. After you can get noise from him by saying “speak” only, add a hand signal.

6. Many dogs enjoy this trick, and may not want to shut up. After your dog understands that speak=bark, ONLY TREAT AND PRAISE YOUR DOG FOR BARKING IF YOU ASKED HIM TO; IF HE CONTINUES TO BARK, IGNORE HIM. Do not reward barking that you did not ask for.

With lots of practice, your pooch will be speaking like a pro!

Note: It is a good idea to teach “quiet,” too, so that your dog knows when to stop barking. As your dog is barking, say “quiet,” and wait he until stops making noise–it may take a minute or so. Praise him and treat the silence. Repeat this until he understands. Soon he will understand that “quiet” = treat, too!

Good luck! Tell us how it goes! Call 404.974.2899, or send us a picture of your pooch doing his trick.

Leave it is a great command for your dog to know, because it will keep him from getting into things he shouldn’t have, it will teach him to pay better attention to you, and it will solidify your status as “leader of the pack.”

Here’s how to do it:

Gather a handful of small, yummy treats your dog really likes and doesn’t get to eat very often. The pieces should be easily swallowable (if he has to chew them, they are too big). Put your dog on a leash, and take him to a room he spends lots of time in.

Put his favorite toy on the floor a few feet away from you. Draw up the leash so that he cannot reach the toy, but can see it. Walk him towards the toy, and when he leans over to sniff it or grab it, say “leave it” in a firm voice to get his attention. Use the leash to keep him from actually coming in contact with the toy. AS SOON AS he pauses, or if he looks at you when you give the command, quickly pop a treat in his mouth. Continue walking past the toy, then circle around and try it again. Do not allow him to even get close enough to sniff the toy, but REWARD him with one treat every time he pauses, looks to you, or otherwise acts uninterested in the toy AFTER you give the command.

The goal is to entice him, give the command, and then reward him for paying attention to you instead of the toy. He must be rewarded IMMEDIATELY for not pulling at the leash to get the toy.

Do not yank him away from the toy with the leash, simply hold it close to your body. We want it to be slack enough so that he has room to START towards the toy (if he chooses), but not enough room to touch it.

We want the dog to learn that HIS action (ignoring the toy and looking at you) got him what he wanted (the reward), which in this case is a treat. You will have better success if he is hungry, so practice prior to dinner time, and then his dinner will be an added treat, because he worked for it. Make sure the toy is one he likes and wants to play with at that moment.

After you’ve practiced this 5 times, and had 5 successes, quit until the next day. Feed him dinner. The next day, ask the dog to sit, and toss the toy a few feet away, while giving the command. He will probably lunge towards the toy, but the leash will stop his progress. AS SOON AS he stops, get him to look at you, then reward him. Verbally praise him at the same time you are giving him the tasty treat.

Gradually, you will be able to decrease the treats (but always verbally praise). You can eventually stop the treats altogether, and use the toy as his reward. To do this, have him sit next to you. Throw the toy a few feet away, and verbally praise him for not moving towards the toy. Count to 5, then say, “get ball” or “get toy” and allow him enough slack to do so. Let him mouth the toy for a few seconds, then take it away and repeat the exercise.

Practice on leash until he is reliable enough to not lunge for the toy until you say so. Then try without the leash. Remember, during training, every time he is allowed to get the toy, that is a reward, so make sure he’s not being rewarded UNTIL he has waited for you to release him. If you don’t have the leash on him, you cannot keep him from rewarding himself.

After he is very reliable with this in the house, begin using the command outside during walks (on leash, of course). When he goes to sniff or eat something in the street, give the command, stop his progress with the leash, and praise enthusiastically when he obeys. Do NOT let him have the item; use your praise as a reward, then move on.

Practice in different situations, until he is VERY reliable in all of them, then start using a yummy food item as the object (simply replace the toy in the preceding lessons with a stinky piece of food). When your dog (off leash) will refrain from scarfing up a piece of steak that has dropped on the floor because you commanded “leave it,” you will have trained him well. If you want him to have the dropped piece, make him wait a few minutes, in a sit, then give the command “get it.” Do not allow him to break the command himself, so don’t leave the room until after you tell him to “get it.”

Practice also getting him to “leave” a toy he is chewing or playing with by giving the command, and rewarding profusely when he drops it. Be ready to take the item away at first (enforce the command). At first, always reward his correct action, whether he dropped it on his own or you had to take it away. THEN only reward him when he does it on his own.

Your dog will learn that his action causes good things to occur. The reward must be something he wants more than the item he is chewing.

Good luck! Tell us how it goes! Call 404.974.2899.

Did you know? Tricks are not only fun for your pet, but they help keep them happy and well-adjusted, and more focused on you!

  1. Have yummy treats ready. Remember, a yummy treat is a small bit of meat or cheese; something that your dog does not normally receive. The yummier it is, the more your dog will be willing to work for it.
  2. Have your dog sit facing you. Hold a treat in your hand, ready to dispense.
  3. Move the treat up over your dog’s head so that he must take both front paws off the ground to get it. As soon as he does, treat and tell him “good dog” in a happy voice. Don’t raise the treat so high that he has to stand up on his back legs, though. It may take a few tries before he understands what you want; be patient. You may have to hold out your other arm for him to put a paw on to balance at first. Once he has his balance, though, do not give the treat unless he is doing the sit-up on his own.
  4. After 5 or 6 tries, quit and go do something fun with your dog. Return to teaching the trick after a few hours, or the next day. (Ending teaching sessions while the dog is still interested in the training is much moreeffective because it keeps the dog interested, and he will be more likely to want to return to training.)
  5. When you return, continue as before, treating as both front paws leave the ground. Your dog will have to learn how to balance in the sit-up position, which may take several sessions. Some dogs cannot get the hang of it, others just need lots of practice. Always praise him happily when he does what you want. This will make him want to do it again.
  6. Now it is time to add a cue word and a hand signal. Have your treat ready, and say “beg” as you start moving it up over his head. Figure out what you want the hand signal to be, and use it at the same time. As your dog gets better at balancing, treat slower–make him “hold the pose” a little longer each time before he gets the treat.

With lots of practice, your pooch will be sitting up and begging like a pro!

Note: Not all tricks work on all dogs. Larger breeds may have a hard time with this one, although Chaplin, a Doberman mix, is very skilled at it! For Jack Russell terriers and beagles, “sit up” is almost second nature! Experiment!

Good luck! Tell us how it goes! Call 404.974.2899, or send us a picture of your pooch doing his trick.

BY EMAIL: Email a .jpg photo along with anything you would like to share about your pet. Our email address is successstories@atlantahumane.org.

BY REGULAR MAIL: Mail us a non-returnable photograph of your pet (be sure to tell us your pet’s name and your name). Include your email address if you have one, or a phone number if you don’t, so that we can alert you if we decide to use your photo on our website. Mail to:

Graphics Department
981 Howell Mill Rd. NW
Atlanta, GA 30318

Did you know? Tricks are not only fun for your pet, but they help keep them happy and well-adjusted, and more focused on you!