Maryland Avenue Pet Hospital

96 East Maryland Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55117


Can Your Dog Do Tricks?

Published by Maryland Avenue Pet Hospital

Teaching your dog to perform tricks on command can be a fun experience for both of you. Before you start, make sure that your dog has mastered the basic expectations of your household and that you have treats available to reward him for his progress. Below are three basic tricks that most dogs can master within a few training sessions. Teaching Dog Tricks | Maryland Ave Pet Hospital | St. Paul, MN 55117 | Veterinarian

Shaking Hands
To teach your dog this trick, extend your hand towards her with your palm facing upwards. She should be sitting down when you do this. After ensuring that you have her attention, say the word “shake” in a commanding way. If she reaches for your hand the first time, give her a treat along with lots of praise. If not, gently reach for her paw with your other hand and place it in yours while repeating the shake command. Resist the urge to give her a treat until she places her paw in your hand upon command.

Playing Dead
When your dog is sitting down, show him a treat and tell him to roll onto his side. You may need to push gently on his back so he understands what you mean. Once he’s in the right position, issue the command for him to “play dead.” You may want to come up with a gesture or a sound to reinforce what you expect him to do. Eventually, he should be able to assume the position as soon as you signal it. Always provide him with a treat and plenty of positive reinforcement when he does it right. 

Playing Fetch
Teaching your dog to play fetch is a great way for her to release pent-up energy, especially when she’s excited to see you after you have been gone at work all day. It’s also an ideal way to bond with your pet. To start, find a ball, stick, Frisbee, or other item she can easily fit into her mouth. Next, throw the item a few feet away from you while issuing the command to “fetch.” 

Some dogs will automatically go for the item while others will look to you for more guidance. If your dog doesn’t move, gently take her by the collar and lead her to the item. Once she gets the hang of playing fetch, you can throw the item a further distance away from you. As with the other tricks, be sure to reward her with a treat and praise. After a while, she will fetch automatically just to make you happy.

Photo credit:  mdmilliman | iStock