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One of the great things about owning a dog is that once you have taught them basic obedience and they have mastered all the essentials, the next stage of their training could include teaching them some really neat tricks. Not only will you have a lot of fun interacting with your four legged friend, but a few tricks actually boast having a practical side to them too and this includes your pet being able to take strange and awkward obstacles in their stride if come across any on one of your walks through the countryside!
The best way to teach a dog new tricks, is to keep things short which means not spending a load of time on just one thing and remembering to keep some very motivational treats in your pocket as a tempting reward. Your dog may find a few tricks really easy to learn but others may be a little more challenging and this has to be reflected in the sort of treat you give them when they get it right. The other thing to bear in mind, is that some dogs are just not physically or mentally built to do certain tricks and it would be unfair to ask them to try!
If you've already taught your dog to “sit” and they are doing this extremely well without moving until you ask them to, then you have achieved great things because this is a valuable tool in your dog's training. As a bonus, if you ever meet someone who is nervous when they are around our canine friends, a dog that's sitting down is less frightening than one that's jumping around even when they are trying to be friendly. You should always ask your dog to sit before crossing a road – even when there is no traffic around! This is one command that you can rely on when you find yourself and your pooch in a difficult situation and which can prove invaluable.
Teaching your dog to do the commando crawl is a really neat trick for them to learn and could come in very useful when out on a walk and you have to negotiate a stile or some kind of barrier which you can't lift your pet over. If your dog is good at a commando crawl, they will be able to get under the barrier with no problem at all and they will enjoy it!
To teach your dog how to do the commando crawl, you need to have first taught them to lie down. Once they are lying down, you then hold one of their favourite treats just in front of their noses as a way to tempt them forward without them standing up. You have to move the treat really slowly, keeping it as low to the ground as you can. Each time your dog crawls a little forward you have to reward them with lots of praise. You can then gradually increase the distance until you have them wriggling along on their tummies. However, don't overdo it because a little bit of training at a time works better than trying to teach your dog to anything too quickly!
Teaching your dog to bow when you ask them to is another really neat trick which means your dog is totally focused on you. This is true when you teach them to do it and then afterwards when you ask them to bow for you. You need to start off by getting your dog to stand facing you before taking one of their favourite treats and lowering it to the ground between their front paws. You'll find your dog cannot resist the treat and will follow it with their noses. Their front end, from the shoulders will do down but their back end will stay standing which gives you the impression of them bowing. You need to use your voice to teach your pet the command at the same time so they connect the command with your hand.
Once they have lowered their front ends, you need to give them lots of praise and the rewards. Over time and with each training session, you can slowly increase the time your pet stays in the bowing position and you'll find you won't have to use your hand quite so much but instead just your voice. Once your dog has mastered the trick, they will take the voice command as the cue to bow knowing there's a treat coming their way when they do!
One really cute trick to teach your pooch to do is wipe their faces. You may have seen dogs on television and in films doing this and it's always gorgeous to watch them doing it because it looks like they are washing their face or trying to hide behind their paws!
The way to teach your pet to wipe their faces is to gently place a Post-it note on their muzzles which naturally they will find very annoying and so will try to wipe it off. This is the first step in teaching them to wipe their faces for you. You must reward them offering them lots of praise when they knock off the Post-it and then repeat the process.
Your dog will keep on dislodging the note from the top of their muzzles and this is when you should start using a voice command so they connect the dots and understand what it's all about. You have to give your dog lots of praise and rewards each time they wipe the note off.
Eventually, you'll be able to get rid of the Post-it notes because your dog will take their cue from your voice command which ends up being a really cute trick for them to do on command! The thing to bear in mind is to never use anything too sticky when training your dog to wipe their faces because the glue could prove harmful to their noses and eyes!
Although this is quite a hard trick to teach a dog to do because it requires that they show tremendous control, it is however, a really great trick for them to learn and one which is very impressive. Your pet has to remain absolutely still even with one of their favourite treats on the end on their muzzles which is a very big ask indeed!
You have to ask your dog to sit facing you and you need to have their total attention on you. Once they are sitting motionless, you can gently place your hand under their chin to support it parallel to the ground before gently placing a small piece of biscuit on their muzzles but not too close to their eyes. To start off with, you should use a treat that's a little bit boring and avoid anything your dog really adores – which could make it a lot harder for them to stay motionless!
You should leave the treat on their muzzles for just a second before taking it off, praising your dog for staying so still and giving them their treat. You then slowly increase the amount of time the treat remains on their muzzles and eventually you can let go of their chins so your dog balances the treat without any help from you.
You should add a command like “OK” a few seconds after you have let go of their chins so your dog starts to recognise this as the cue to drop the treat to the floor. However, some dogs are really quick and will catch the treat in their mouths before it even touches the ground, making it a very neat trick that shows your dog is patient, quick and has tremendous co-ordination!
Teaching your dog to do a few neat tricks is not only a great way to interact with them, but it also helps create a super bond between you both which is always invaluable. Dogs give us such pleasure so when they learn to do something that's fun, you have to reward them with a favourite treat because it shows them just how pleased you are with them!
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