Looking to have some fun with your dog? Teaching your dog new tricks is a great way to bond and keep their minds active. Have you ever had a long day at work, and you feel exhausted even though you did nothing physical, only mental? That mental stimulation can tire out your puppy, as well. They will enjoy learning new things, and they will have a great time being with you.
Some words are practical, others are fun. Dogs have an amazing capacity for vocabulary, and you may be surprised to find out what your dog can learn and remember.
There are multiple ways to teach each of these commands. This article only gives suggestions on commands to try but does not go into training methodology. If you have never taught your dog anything before, then I suggest you seek out a professional trainer to show you how to get started. Human society and your veterinarian are good sources to find reputable trainers.
This word is common in dealing with dogs, so most people know what it means. Teaching your dog to sit is the first step in learning to communicate with your pet. In the sit the dog will put its back end on the ground with its front legs upright. The sit can be used to keep a dog under control, as in the sitting position the dog is incapable of jumping up or running away.
The down position has the dog completely lying on the floor on its belly. This position is useful for longer periods of time when you need the dog under control, and they might get tired sitting.
This command can be used as an invite-only object. Teach your dog to get up on the couch, but only on command. Without the word “up” they’ll stay on the floor and off the furniture.
If the dog jumps up on something you don’t want them on, or if you’re just ready to have them leave you alone, this word can be used to tell them to get back on the floor. Be careful not to confuse “off” with “down.” If you mix these words your dog will be left confused about which means which. Stay consistent in your use.
If you want the dog to stay in place while you do something else, or walk away, teach the “stay” command. This tells them not to move from their position until you allow them. The stay is usually done in conjunction with either the sit or down. In the beginning, keep your stays short so that your dog can be successful and get rewarded. Slowly lengthen the stay time until they are comfortable with long periods of time.
Release lets the dog out of the stay position. You can also use the word “ok” for this command, but some people prefer to avoid “ok” because it is used in casual conversation and they don’t want their dog to accidentally get released from the stay. The word “release” is used much less often in casual conversation.
This isn’t a command in itself, but more a test of how well the dog knows the word “release.” The idea is to put it in a stay, then in the same tone of voice as you usually say “release,” say a bunch of other words. Anything you can think of is fine, foods, objects, names, anything. The key is for the dog to stay put until the keyword “release” is said.
This one is also not commanding itself, but a combination of two of the above commands. Bring the dog into one room of the house where they can’t see outside the room. Put it into a stay and leave the room and find somewhere to hide. Yell “release” and see how long it takes the dog to find you. This game is one of my dog’s favorites.
Always make “come” be rewarding. If you’ve been yelling for them, and then get angry when the dog finally comes, it will not be going to want to come to you anymore. Instead, making “come” be an exciting time with lots of pets and cheery voices. Tell the dog how good it is and if you have any treats, share them. This is an extremely important command, and you always need to be able to rely on “come” getting your dog to come to you in the event of an emergency.
“Leave it” means to ignore whatever it is the dog happens to be interested in. This command is useful if it finds something on the street that could injure it and you need to get it away from that object.
The “heel” means the dog walks immediately next to your leg and sits down when you stop. This command can be used for controlling the dog, but it is also a fun game to test your dog and see how precisely it can match your step while you speed up, slow down, and turn left and right.
This command is strictly for fun. Spin left or right tells the dog to make a full circle in place. You can combine some heels and spins to music and do a little dancing with your dog.
Some dogs like to bark, others don’t. You can teach them to bark on command, and use that to train them to bark when strangers come to the door, or to give you any other sort of warning.