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Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks

Jan 3, 2008
There are many tricks which it is fun to teach your dog. Here are some of them.


Put your dog on leash and tell him to "Sit!" Then hold a piece of meat or dog candy above his head. Encourage him with "Beg! Beg!" When he lifts his paws from the floor, praise him and give him the tid-bit. If he stands on his back legs, take the food away, tell him to sit and then start over again.

Or, hold your dog in a sitting-up position by lifting both paws until he learns to balance on his haunches.


Make your dog sit. Then hold out your hand. When you say "Shake" or "Give paw!" tap the heel of one paw lightly. At the same time, push him slightly off balance with your other hand. While you hold his paw, give him his reward.

"Play Possum"

Make your dog lie on his side. Then soothe him by stroking him gently. Keep repeating "Play Possum, Stay!" When he relaxes, take your hands away. Release him by saying "O.K.!"

"Roll Over"

After your dog learns "Play Possum!" teach him "Roll Over!" Put him on his side. Then take hold of the front and back-paws on the underside of his body. Say "Roll Over!" Then quickly flip him over. When he jumps to his feet, praise him and pat him. The circle motion used to flip your dog over later becomes the signal for this trick.


Use a soft ball and throw it into the air. A hard ball thrown with force directly at your dog might break a tooth. When you throw the ball say "Catch!" It may bounce off his nose a few times but he will soon learn to grab for it when he sees it coming.


Buy a play hoop or make one out of wire. Put your dog on leash, slip the leash through the center of the hoop, say "Jump!" and pull him through. Hold the hoop low and say "Jump!" before you pull on the leash, so your dog will learn to jump on command.


Carefully place a small object, like an old glove, a leather wallet or the handle of a small basket, in your dog's mouth and flatter him with "Aren't you smart!" Scratching his back will also help teach your dog to carry.


Never take things from your dog by pulling. When you want him to let go, take hold of the object with one hand and say "Out!" If he won't give it up, surprise him with a little cuff on the nose with the free hand. When he drops what he is holding, praise him and pat him.


Hold something to eat above your dog's head and teach him to dance. When he stands on his back legs to reach the food, say "Dance!" and move your hand in a circle to make the dog pivot. After he turns, give him the food and praise him.


Make your dog sit in front of a low bench. Place his front paws on the bench. Say "Prayers!" and gently push his head down. At the same time, offer him food between his front legs. Release him with "Amen!" or "O.K.!"


Place a ball or a piece of dog biscuit on your dog's nose between his eyes. Tell him "Wait!" After a moment or two tell him "O.K.!" and see if he can catch it. This trick may take a lot of practice.

"Take A Bow!"

Take advantage of your dog's natural ways to teach additional tricks. When he stretches, say "Take a bow!"


When he barks or sniffles, put your finger in the air and say "Speak!" or "Sneeze!" It won't take long for your dog to learn that whenever he makes a noise he will get a reward.

You can have great fun teaching your dog any of these tricks.
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