german shepherd
 

TEACH YOUR GERMAN SHEPHERD 24 TRICKS

If you haven’t already read our Ulitmate German Shepherd Training Guide, I would recommend you doing so before starting teaching your German Shepherd these tricks.

 

The 4 Basic Commands

 

Sit

GOAL: Your dog sits down and remains there until released.

  1. Stand or kneel (depending on the size of your dog) in front of your dog, holding a treat in your hand slightly above your dog’s head.
  2. Slowly move the treat straight back over your dog’s head. This should cause his nose to point up and his rear to drop. If his rear does not drop, keep moving the treat straight backward toward his tail. The instant his rear touches the floor, release the treat and reward your dog with some praise.
  3. If your dog is not responding to the treat, use your index finger and thumb to put pressure on either side of his hindquarters, just forward of his hip bones. Pull up on his leash at the same time to rock him back into a sit. Praise and reward him while he is sitting.
  4. Once your dog is consistently sitting down, wait a few seconds before praising and rewarding. Remember to only reward while your dog is sitting. Do not reward your dog after, or right before – reward your dog while it sits.
WHAT TO EXPECT:

Puppies as young as six weeks can start learning this command, and it is often the first trick a dog learns. Within a week, you should see some progress!

COMMON ISSUES:
  • MY DOG JUMPS AT MY HAND: This probably means your holding the treat too high – your dog must be able to reach the treat while standing on all fours.
  • MY DOG SITS AT FIRST, BUT KEEPS GETTING UP: When your dog stands up, you need to place your dog back in a sit – in a gentle but firm manner. Once he has learned the behaviour, he should not break his sit until released.

Down

GOAL: Your dog rests on his chest/belly. This command is vital for every dog owner – as it is extremely useful when averting situations – such as unsafe roads.

  1. Tell your dog to sit, with his face towards you, hold a treat to his nose and lower it slowly to the floor.
  2. If you’re dog is a quick learner, your dog will follow the treat with his nose and lie down instantly, at which time you can release the treat and praise him. Remember to only release the treat while your dog is in the wanted “lying-down” position. If your dog slouches instead of lying down, slide the treat slowly toward him on the floor between his front paws or away from him. It may take a little time but your dog will eventually lie down.
  3. If your dog is not responding to the treat, put some small pressure on his shoulder blade, pushing down and to the side. Praise your dog when he drops to the floor. It is always preferable to coax the dog to the position himself without any physical manipulation.
  4. Once your dog is consistently lying down, gradually delay the release of the treat. Varying the time before treating will keep your dog focused. The dog should not move from the “down” position until you have given your release word, “OK/Release!”
WHAT TO EXPECT:

Herding breeds, sedentary or massive dogs often drop easier into a down position than long-legged, deep-chested, and hyper dogs. This skill can be learned by dogs and puppies of any age.

COMMON ISSUES:
  • MY DOG WON’T LIE DOWN: Your dog lying down before you is interpreted as an acknowledgement of you as pack leader. If your dog is persistent in not lying down in front of you, you may need to evaluate your status as pack leader.
  • MY DOG WON’T STAY DOWN:If your dog stands up, don’t reward him, and put him back down. Standing on his leash will cause him to self-correct if he tries to stand up.
  • MY DOG WILL LIE DOWN IN ONE ROOM, BUT NOT IN ANOTHER: Pay attention to the ground surface. Short-coated dogs will often resist lying on hard floors. Try a carpet or a towel.

Stay

GOAL: Staying probably doesn’t need any explanation. In a stay, your dog will not move until released – it doesn’t matter if it is while standing/sitting/lying.

  1. Start with your dog sitting, as he is less likely to move from a “sitting”-position. Use a leash to guarantee control. Stand directly in front of him and in a serious tone, say “stay”, holding your palm flat, almost touching his nose. Your dog will probably just look confused at this point.
  2. Move a short distance away, keeping eye contact with your dog, and return to him. Praise him with “good stay” and give him a treat. Be sure to give the treat while your dog remains in the seated and staying position.
  3. If your dog moves from his stay before you have released him, gently but firmly put him back in the spot where he was originally told to stay.
  4. Gradually increase the time you ask your dog to stay, as well as the distance between you and your dog. You want your dog to be successful so if he is breaking his stays, go back to a time and distance he is able to achieve. Always end with a successful stay – for both your sakes.
WHAT TO EXPECT:

Herding breeds, sedentary or massive dogs often drop easier into a down position than long-legged, deep-chested, and hyper dogs. This skill can be learned by dogs and puppies of any age.

COMMON ISSUES:
  • MY DOG KEEPS GETTING UP: Don’t talk much when teaching this command! Talking often symbolizes action, and you want inaction. Solid body language will convey how serious you are.
  • MY DOG SEEMS TO BREAK HIS STAY A SECOND BEFORE I RELEASE HIM: You might be showing him the treat too soon – since a sighting of a treat will pull almost all dogs forward. Vary your pattern; sometimes return to him and leave him again without rewarding.

Come

GOAL: We want your dog to start running towards you as soon as you say “Come”. Additionally we want the command to end with your dog sitting in front of you. In order for this command to be consistently obeyed, your status as pack leader needs to be definite. Always reward your dog obeying this command, whether it be with praise or a treat. However, not obeying this command, should be viewed as a major “violation” and should end with you physically bringing your dog to the spot from where you originally called him.

  1. Put a 6 foot (1,8 m.) leash, and command him to “come” – and start reeling him in quickly, where he will be praised. Your command should sound happy, but firm. Only the say the command once.
  2. As your dog improves add additional feet to the leash.
  3. When you are ready practice off-leash, do it in a fenced area. Let your dog drag a leash. If he doesn’t obey your first command, go to him and firmly lead him back to the spot where you gave the command. Do not give a reward if the dog doesn’t perform the command on his own, the first time you call. Put the long leash back on him and require him to do five successful “comes” before attempting off-leash again.
WHAT TO EXPECT:

A dog can learn the meaning of the word very quickly, but the practice and enforcement of this command should continue for life.

COMMON ISSUES:
  • ONCE OFF LEASH MY DOG RUNS OFF: Don’t ever chase your dog, as that will only encourage him and will only hurt your “pack leader” position. Stand your ground and demand that he come. Dogs respond to a leader.
  • DO I HAVE TO ENFORCE THIS COMMAND EVERY TIME I USE IT? Yes. If you aren’t in a position to enforce it, simply don’t give the command. Instead just call your dog’s name or use “c’mon boy!”
 

Giving A Handshake

 

GOAL: When shaking hands, your friendly dog raises his paw allowing guests to shake his paw. This skill should be taught for both paws.

  1. With your dog sitting right before you, hide a treat in your right hand and start lowering it to the ground. Encourage your dog to paw at your hand by saying “shake” repeatedly. Reward your dog with the treat the moment his left paw comes off the ground.
  2. Gradually raise your hand off the ground – making the dog raise his paw further and further. Keep this up, until your dog is lifting its paw to chest height.
  3. When your dog is consistently raising its paw, transition to using the hand signal. Stand up and hold the treat in your left hand, behind your back, and extend your right hand while saying “shake.” When your dog paws your extended hand, support his paw in the air while you reward him with the treat from behind your back.
  4. Repeat these lis with the opposite side to teach the trick for both paws.
WHAT TO EXPECT:

Any dog can learn this trick, and it’s always an endearing gesture. Practice a couple of times per day, and always stop the training session with a success.

  • Instead of pawing at my hand, my dog noses it:
    Bop his nose a little to discourage this. He may also end up barking, nuzzling, or simply doing nothing. Be patient, and keep encouraging him. If he is not lifting his paw on his own, tap or barely lift it for him and then reward.
 

Fetch/Get It

 

GOAL: In “Fetch”, your dog is instructed to retrieve an object. “Get” is when he grabs an object within reach into his mouth.

  1. FETCH: Use a box cutter to make a 1″ (2.5 cm) gap in a tennis ball. Drop a treat inside the ball whilst showing your dog.
  2. FETCH: Toss the ball playfully and encourage the dog to bring it back to you by acting excited, or running from him.
  3. FETCH: Grab the ball from your dog and squeeze it to get the treat. Since he is not able to get the treat himself, he will learn to bring the ball to you to get his treat.
  4. GET: Select a toy that your dog loves, and playfully hand it to him while giving the verbal cue (Get).
  5. GET: Let your dog have the toy for a few seconds, before removing it from his mouth and giving him a treat for the exchange. As your dog improves, extend the time he holds the toy before rewarding. Only reward him if you remove the toy from your dog’s mouth, not if he drops it on his own.
  6. GET: Try different types of objects, let your creativity flow!
WHAT TO EXPECT:

Many dogs are retrievers by nature and will understand this trick within a few days.

  • MY DOG HAS NO INTEREST IN CHASING THE BALL:
    This can easily by fixed by your motivating your dog by acting excited and chasing the ball yourself. Bat it around or bounce it off walls. Make it a competition and race him for it.
  • MY DOG GETS THE BALL AND RUNS OFF WITH IT:
    NEVER chase your dog when he runs off – if you do, this definitely will not improve your position as the pack leader. Instead lure him back with a treat, or run away from him to encourage him to chase you. Have a second ball to get his attention.
 

Sit Up

 

GOAL: From a sitting position, your dog raises his forequarters while keeping his rear on the floor. Your dog should sit on both hindquarters with a straight spine, paws tucked into his chest. The alignment of his hindquarters, thorax, forequarters, and head is key to his balance. When your dog have learned this, he can charm any of your friends.

  1. Start by making your dog sit. Then go stand directly behind him, with your heels together and toes painted apart.
  2. Use a treat to guide his head back and straight up, until he is upright. Help his balance, by steadying his chest with your other hand. This is difficult, especially for larger dogs, as they have a harder time getting their balance – but every dog can learn this trick. As your dog improves, use a lighter touch on his back and chest.
WHAT TO EXPECT:

Some dogs may learn this trick rather easily, while others may have a rougher time establishing their balance.. This trick builds thigh and lower back strength, which will benefit any dog.

  • MY DOG JUMPS AT THE TREAT:
    Move slower when positioning your hand. Do not reward your dog if he jumps.
  • MY DOG STANDS UP ON HIS HIND LEGS:
    Keep your hand lower, and gently say “sit”. Hold the treat at face level.
  • MY DOG CAN’T SEEM TO BALANCE:
    This trick is easier for small dogs and round dogs. Large, long, and deep-chested dogs can also learn this trick, but they need more time to find their balance.
 

Go Fetch My Shoes

 

GOAL: Upon your command, your dog will go find and bring you one of your shoes. Your dog will even know the difference between your shoes, and someone else’s shoes. However, don’t expect your dog to fetch a matching sit.

  1. Teach your dog to “Fetch” before proceeding with this trick.
  2. Whilst being in an empty room/lawn, place one of your shoes a short distance from your dog. Point to the shoe, and tell your dog to “fetch shoe”. Reward your dog if he successfully fetches your shoe.
  3. After several successful iterations, put the shoe out of sight, or in a different room, and send your dog to fetch the shoe.
  4. Once your dog is comfortable retrieving that one specific shoe. Repeat the exercise with different types of shoes. Your dog will eventually understand that “shoe” means any footwear that smells like you.
WHAT TO EXPECT:

Only practice this trick as long as your dog is having fun – about 4-6 times per session. In about two weeks, you could be receiving shoes while sitting in your armchair!

  • MY DOG BRINGS ME OTHER TYPES OF OBJECTS (TOYS, CLOTHES):
    Your dog is just excited and remembers he wants to bring you something – but he doesn’t remember what. Don’t accept the object, but rather encourage him again to “fetch shoe”. If the ul persists, start from the beginning in an empty room or on your lawn.
  • MY DOG BROUGHT ME TWO SHOES, BUT FROM DIFFERENT SETS :
    You may need to better tidying up your shoes, or simply be happy that your dog at least got you on of the shoes.
 

Go Get Your Leash

 

GOAL: Your dog will go fetch his leash, either upon your command or whenever he wants to go for a walk. This might end up being rather annoying (but charming), since your dog will probably want to walk more than you do.

  1. Teach your dog to “Fetch” before proceeding with this trick.
  2. Introduce the word “leash” by using it every time you attach it.
  3. Toss his leash playfully and tell him to “fetch leash”. To ensure your dog won’t be hurt, you should secure the metal clasp within the leash so your dog doesn’t bonk himself in the head with it in his exuberance! Forming a circle with the leash by buckling the clasp onto the handle is not always a good idea, as the dog can get tangled in the loop.
  4. Now put the leash in its “regular” spot, such as on a hook by the door (it must be reachable for the dog). Point to it and encourage your dog to “go get your leash!” Maneuvering the leash off the hook may be a little tricky, so be ready to help coax it off, if your dog is having trouble. Reward your dog by immediately buckling his leash to his collar and taking him out for a walk. In this trick, the reward is a walk instead of a treat, so be sure to introduce this concept early on.
  5. The next time you are ready to go for a walk, get your dog excited to go out, and then have him get his leash before leaving.
WHAT TO EXPECT:

Don’t be surprised if your dog interrupts you watching TV, by dropping his leash in your lap! This method of communicating his wishes sure beats barking and scratching at the door, so try to reward his politeness with a walk as often as possible.

  • SOMETIMES THE LEASH GETS STUCK ON THE WALL HOOK:
    An excited dog can pull the hook right out of the wall – either store your leash on a shelf instead, or use some sessions teaching your dog to get the leash of the hook.
 

Do A Push Up

 

GOAL: With paws planted, your dog does push-ups by alternating between lying down and standing up. After learning this trick, you and your dog can do a work-out together.

  1. With your dog lying down at your side, command him to “stand” while luring him up with a treat. As soon as he rises, praise him and give him the treat.
  2. If your dog does not respond to the food lure, use your foot to gently prod him under his belly. Reward him for standing.
  3. Stand directly in front of your dog, alternating a “stand” and “down” cue to mimic push-ups. Use the verbal cues to perform the two actions.
WHAT TO EXPECT:

Gradually increase the number of push-up repetitions before rewarding your dog. With a solid down skill, your dog can be doing push-ups like a pro within a week!

 

Ring Bell To Get Inside

 

GOAL: Your dog will poke a bell when he wants to go outside, or get back in.

  1. Wiggle a bell on the floor and encourage your dog to “get it!”. Reward the instant he touches the bell with his nose or paw by saying “good bell” and offering a treat.
  2. Hang the bell from a doorknob in a very low height and encourage your dog to ring it by saying “bell”. You may need to hold a treat behind the bell, and tease him with it. As soon as the bell makes a sound, praise and reward him.
  3. Get your dog’s leash and get him excited to go for a walk. Stop at the door with the bell, encouraging him to ring it. It may take a while, as he will be distracted by the idea of his walk. As soon as he touches the bell, immediately open the door and take him for a walk. In this trick, the reward is a walk instead of a treat, so be sure to introduce this concept early on.
  4. As you return home from your walk, get him excited to go inside by the promises of a treat or dinner. Again, have him paw at a bell hung from the door before opening it. It could take several minutes to ring the bell, so practice when you are not in a hurry.
WHAT TO EXPECT:

Consistency in enforcing the bell to go in/out rule will speed up the learning process. You’ll also need to be very responsive to the bells in the beginning – if you hear them ringing, rush to open the door. This method of communicating sure beats barking and scratching at the door, so try to reward his politeness with a walk as often as possible.

 

Racing Each Other

 

GOAL: You and your dog hold your mark as you count down from three. On the cue of “let’s go!” you race off together shouting and barking and causing all kinds of havoc!

  1. Teach your dog to “Stay” before proceeding with this trick.
  2. When your dog is in a happy and excited mood, hold him by his collar at your left side. Crouch down as if you are about to sprint and in a suspense-building drawn-out tone say “three”.
  3. Your dog will likely be very excited and try to break away. Hold his collar and tell him to “stay”. Use a coaching tone, as opposed to a commanding tone, as you want to keep him excited for the release.
  4. Continue on with “two, one” and then release his collar shouting “let’s go!” and sprinting away from him. No treats are necessary as this is a self-rewarding game.
  5. Require your dog to stay during the “3-2-1” without holding his collar. If he breaks, stop the game and order him back. Start over with “3”.
WHAT TO EXPECT:

The intelligent (and conniving) animals that they are, dogs often learn the pattern of “3-2-1” and taking off a half second before your cue! This a perfect exercise to enforce “stay”.

  • MY DOG GETS CRAZY EXCITED:
    Dogs can go bonkers with this game and can really hurt themselves and/or you. I wouldn’t recommend doing this trick inside, or in surrounding with lots of obstacles.
 

Jump Over A Log

 

GOAL: Your dog will learn to jump over a log.

  1. Teach your dog to “Stay” before proceeding with this trick.
  2. Start by finding a straight log, or buy an actual bar for dog tricks.
  3. Create a homemade version, of a “bar jump”, out of two chairs and a broomstick. For safety reasons, the bar should release if hit. Set the bar to a low height: 3″-6″ (7.5-15 cm) for small dogs and 12″-18″ (30.5-46 cm) for medium-sized dogs.
  4. Attach a leash on your dog and start running towards the jump. Give an enthusiastic “jump!” as you jump over the bar with him and praise him for his success. A treat may be given, however most dogs enjoys the jump so much, that the treat isn’t necessary. If your dog is reluctant, lower the bar to the ground and walk over it with him. Avoid pulling him whilst jumping, and give him plenty of encouragement.
  5. As your dog’s confidence improves, gradually raise the bar. Try sending your dog over the jump from different positions. Put your dog in a “stay” , and call him from the opposite side of the jump. Or stand on the side of the jump and wave him over.
WHAT TO EXPECT:

Most dogs enjoy jumping and will easily learn this trick. Within a few days, your dog can be a jumper!

  • MY DOG TRIPPED ON THE BAR AND IS NOW SCARED OF IT :
    Much of his memory of this episode will be determined by your reaction. Encourage your dog to “walk it off” and in the future make sure the bar has a release and the ground is not slippery.
 

Tunnel

 

GOAL: Your dog runs through a straight or a curved tunnel.

  1. Allow your dog some amount of time to explore the short, straight tunnel in a familiar area. Set your dog at the opposite end and make eye contact with him through the tunnel. Coax him toward you. If he attempts to go around the tunnel, have a friend hold him and guide him in. Reward him with a treat at the tunnel exit.
  2. Once he is comfortable going through the tunnel, stand at the entrance with him, cue him with “tunnel,” and gUide him in. It often helps to get a running start. As he is running inside the tunnel, run along with him, encouraging him, so he can hear where you are. When he emerges at the other end keep running alongside him for a short way to encourage a speedy exit.
  3. Put a bend in the tunnel. Your dog may try to make a U-turn inside and come back out the entrance, so keep your eye on him until you are sure he has committed to go all the way through.
WHAT TO EXPECT:

Most dogs enjoy running through a tunnel and once accustomed to it, will do it every chance they get! Confident dogs can be running through the tunnel on their first day, while shy dogs may require more time.

  • CAN I PUT TREATS INSIDE THE TUNNEL?
    Since the goal is for your dog to navigate the tunnel quickly, treats inside could create a bad habit of hesitating in the middle.
  • MY DOG IS SCARED TO GO INSIDE:
    Don’t allow your dog’s apparent fear to change your behaviour. As a matter-of-fact be really serious about it and send him through. He will likely emerge a more confident dog!
 

Crawling

 

GOAL: Your dog crawls forward, sliding his belly on the floor.

  1. Teach your dog “Down” before proceeding with this trick.
  2. Your dog will be more willing to crawl on a comfortable surface such as grass or carpet. Put your dog in a down, facing you. Kneel on the ground and show your dog a treat hidden under your hand about 18″ (46 cm) in front of him.
  3. In a drawn-out voice tell him “crawl” as you slowly slide the treat away from him. He will hopefully take a crawl li or two with his front paws in an effort to follow the treat. Allow him to get the treat, while remaining down.
  4. Once your dog is able to crawl following your treat, try standing several feet in front of him with the treat exposed under your foot. You may have to alternate saying “crawl” and “down” while he makes his way toward your foot.
WHAT TO EXPECT:

Many dogs are able to begin crawling in their first training session. Transitioning to only using “crawl” as the verbal cue, is more tricky. Expect it to take at least a few weeks.

  • MY DOG STANDS UP:
    You are sliding the treat too fast, and say “down” if you spot your dog is about to get up.
  • MY DOG DOESN’T MOVE:
    He might believe he will be reprimanded for moving from his down. Keep your energy enthusiastic.
  • MY DOG HAS STARTED CRAWLING WHILE IN HIS DOWN-STAY!:
    You have to teach your dog the difference between “down” and “crawl”. Start by teaching your dog to “crawl” without using the “down” command.
 

Heel Forward And Backwards

 

GOAL: A dog at heel walks at the owner’s left side, and the dog must automatically sit when you stop.

  1. Teach your dog “Sit” before proceeding with this trick.
  2. HEEL: With your dog on a loose leash at your left side, say “heel” and walk forward, liping first with your left foot. Always give the verbal command first, before starting your motion.
  3. HEEL: Reward your dog periodically for a good effort, remembering to reward at the time your dog is in the correct position – with his shoulder aligned to your left leg.
  4. HEEL: When preparing to stop, slow your gait, plant your left foot and bring your right foot up to meet it. Pull up on the leash and say “sit”.
  5. HEEL BACKWARD: With your dog on a short leash at your left, tap his chest with your right foot while saying “back.” Reward him for taking a li back. As you reward him, don’t cause him to li forward by offering the treat too far in front of him. Practice heeling backward alongside a wall to keep your dog straight.
WHAT TO EXPECT:

In obedience classes, most dogs will be heeling nicely on leash by the end of eight weeks. Heeling really is an art form – and it can always be refined.

  • MY DOG LAGS BEHIND:
    Pat your leg and use peppy encouragement, or break into a jog.
  • MY DOG PULLS FORWARD:
    Give a quick jerk on the leash followed by a release of tension. This should immediately bring your dog back into position, at which time you praise him with “good heel”.
 

Backup

 

GOAL: Your dog backs up in a straight line away from you.

  1. Stand in a hallway facing your dog while holding a treat in your closed fist directly in front of his nose. Press gently on his nose while walking towards him giving the verbal cue “backup”. As your dog takes a few lis backward, praise and release the treat. If he squirms use your foot opposite the wall to guide that side.
  2. Once your dog is getting the hang of this, start to decrease the dependence on the nose push by instead walking in towards your dog while raising your knees to gently bump his chest. Use your hand to signal him backwards.
  3. Over time, take smaller lis forward, while continuing to raise your knees to pressure your dog backward. Walk over to him to give a reward, or toss one to him, rather than calling him back to you.
WHAT TO EXPECT:

In a week, your dog could be walking backwards following your treat. In another few weeks, you may be able to stand still while he backs up.

  • MY DOG BOWS:
    You may be holding the treat too low. Keep it no lower than nose height.
  • MY DOG SITS:
    Holding the treat too high will lift your dog’s nose and cause him to sit. Bump him with your knee to cause him to move backwards.
 

Spin Circles

 

GOAL: Your dog spins either a left or a right full circle.

  1. Begin with your dog facing you, hiding a treat in your right hand. Move your hand to your right, in a large counter-clockwise circle, slowly luring your dog while telling him to “spin”. Release the treat at the end of the circle.
  2. As your dog improves, diminish your hand signal until it is merely a flick of your wrist.
  3. Reach around by using your left hand to trace a clockwise circle.
WHAT TO EXPECT:

Practice ten times per day, and your dog should be following your hand easily within a week. In a month, he can be spinning on command!

  • MY DOG ONLY SPINS HALFWAY:
    Reaching your hand too far forward too early will cause the circle to stall. Start close to your stomach and move your hand to the side before extending it forward.
  • MY DOG CIRCLES ONE DIRECTION, BUT NOT THE OTHER :
    Analyze your own movements to ensure you are moving symmetrically.
  • MY DOG FINISHES A CIRCLE, THEN IMMEDIATELY CIRCLES THE OTHER DIRECTION:
    When you finish the hand signal for the first spin, make sure your hand returns to your side. By leaving it crossing your body, you are inadvertently signaling your dog to do the next spin.
 

Bowing For Your Guests

 

GOAL: Your dog bows by keeping his back legs upright, whilst bowing down his front until his elbows touch the floor.

  1. Have your dog stand facing you. Hold a treat in your fist at nose height.
  2. Gently press your hand into your dog’s nose and downward, while giving the verbal cue “bow”.
  3. As soon as your dog’s elbows touch the floor, release the treat and back your hand away.
WHAT TO EXPECT:

Practice this trick six to ten times per day. Remember to quit while it’s still fun. After one to two weeks your dog should be bowing easily when you press a treat to his nose. Gradually lighten your touch on his nose, and soon your dog will be bowing on his own. This really is a charming trick to do when your guests arrive.

  • MY DOG SITS INSTEAD OF BOWING:
    You are holding the treat too high. Start at nose height and press toward your dog’s hind paws.
  • MY DOG LIES DOWN:
    Release the treat sooner. You may have to reward before his elbows touch the ground. If this does not solve the ul, put your feet on the floor under his belly.
 

Place

 

GOAL: Your dog circles behind you to end sitting at your left side. This is a really practical command to know, since it can be used to get your dog at your side at any time. Either to put on a leash, or simply stop the dog from running over a dangerous overpass.

  1. Stand facing your dog with his leash in your right hand.
  2. Say “place” and take a li back with your right foot, pulling your dog toward your right side and behind you. Keep your left foot planted throughout this exercise.
  3. Transfer the leash to your left hand while returning your right foot next to your left and pulling your dog into position at your left side.
  4. Pull up on the leash and tell your dog to “sit”. Praise and reward your dog when he sits.
WHAT TO EXPECT:

This trick is quite impressive as your dog shows off his obedience training. In its final stage keep both feet planted while your off-leash dog responds to your cue to circle behind you and sit at your left side.

  • I FEEL LIKE I’M JUST PULLING MY DOG AROUND ME:
    You are conditioning your dog to the movement. At first you are pulling him around, but over time his muscle memory will take over.
 

Moonwalk

 

GOAL: When moon walking, your dog scoots backwards while in a bow position.

  1. Teach your dog “Down” and “Backup” before proceeding with this trick.
  2. Face your dog with your dog in a down position. In much the same way you taught him to back up, push your knee toward him while giving the “backup” cue. He will likely try to stand up, so guard his shoulder blades with your hand to keep him down. Reward even a small movement backwards.
  3. Start to stand up straighter, and minimize your knee action. Continue to guard your dog’s shoulders, pushing him down every time he rises.
  4. Stand in place while giving the hand signal and verbal cue. If your dog rises to his feet, tell him “down” and then “backup.” You may have to alternate these cues repeatedly.
WHAT TO EXPECT:

This adorable dance move can be learned in a few weeks by a dog with a solid back up. Dogs will often try to cheat by rising up, so be vigilant about form!

  • MY DOG DOESN’T MOVE BACKWARD:
    When first teaching moonwalk, don’t use the word “down” but rather just prevent your dog from rising up by guarding his shoulders. Telling him “down” may confuse him into thinking he is not supposed to move.
 

Drop/Give

 

GOAL: When giving the command “drop” it, your dog releases the object from his mouth, dropping it onto the ground. However, the “give” it command is used when the dog is supposed to drop the object into your hand.

  1. DROP IT: Point to the ground and command your dog to “drop it”. Do not move from your location, and keep repeating the command. It may take several minutes, but when your dog finally drops the toy, reward him with a treat the instant he drops his toy.
  2. GIVE: While your dog has a toy in his mouth, tell him to “give” and offer him a treat in exchange for the toy. He will have to release the toy to eat the treat, at which time you can praise him.
  3. GIVE: Give your dog his toy back, so he understands that relinquishing it to you does not mean that it will be taken away for ever.
WHAT TO EXPECT:

Dogs vary on their willingness to relinquish a toy. Build a habit of only throwing a ball if he is willing to give it back to you.

  1. MY DOG WILL NOT RELEASE THE TOY:
    Try using a less desirable toy and reward him with a highly desired toy when he obeys.
  1. SHOULD I FORCE AN OBJECT AWAY FROM HIM?
    No, as this could result in a dog bite, intentional or not.
 

Speak

 

GOAL: Your dog barks on cue.

  1. Observe what causes your dog to bark – a doorbell, a knock, the mail-carrier, the sight of you with his leash – and use that stimulus to teach this trick. Because most dogs bark at the sound of a doorbell, we’ll use that as an example. Stand at your front door, with the door open so your dog will be able to hear the bell. Give the cue “bark” and press the doorbell. When your dog barks, immediately reward him and reinforce the cue with “good bark.” Repeat this about six times.
  2. Continuing in the same session, give the cue but don’t ring the bell. You may have to cue several times to get a bark. If your dog is not barking, return to the previous li.
  3. Try this trick in a different room. Strangely enough, this can be a difficult transition for your dog. If at any point your dog is repeatedly unsuccessful, return to the previous li.
WHAT TO EXPECT:

Provided you’ve got a reliable stimulus that causes your dog to bark, he can learn this trick in one session.

  1. I’VE CREATED A BARKING MONSTER:
    Never reward your dog for a bark unless you asked for this behavior. Otherwise he’ll speak up anytime he wants something!
  1. I CAN’T FIND A STIMULUS TO MAKE MY DOG BARK:
    Dogs will often bark out of frustration. Try teasing him with a treat.
 

Play Dead

 

GOAL: When playing dead, your dog rolls onto his back with his legs in the air. He remains “dead” until you cue his miraculous recovery. Stick ’em up or you’re a dead dog!

  1. Teach your dog “Down” and “Roll Over” before proceeding with this trick.
  2. Teach this trick after your dog has had some exercise and is ready to rest. Put your dog in a down and kneel in front of him. Hold a treat to the side of his head and move it toward his shoulder blade, as you did when teaching roll over. Your dog should fall to his side.
  3. Continue to roll him to his back by guiding his midsection. Praise him and give him a belly scratch while he is on his back.
  4. As your dog improves, try to lure him into position with the treat only, without touching him. If he is likely to roll completely over instead of stopping half way, stop him with your hand on his chest, and then slowly release your grip so that he holds the position on his own.
  5. Practice this skill until you are able to elicit the behavior with the “bang” cue and hand signal. Your dog should stay in this position until he is released with “OK” or “you are healed!” or some other release word.
WHAT TO EXPECT:

This position can be a little awkward for your dog, and will take some getting used to. Practice in a combination with roll over, so your dog understands the difference.

  1. DEAD DOGS SHOULDN’T HAVE WAGGING TAILS:
    Try lowering your voice to a more commanding tone to stop the wagging. Or don’t worry about it.