Not just for fun, tricks are serious business for dogs

By Valdette Muller| November 6, 2015 | Blog


Like play is children’s main occupation, your dog’s tricks can play an important role in his development and behaviour. If, for example, your dog loves to chase every moving object, from animals or children to balls and shadows, you can distract him through a serious of active tricks like sitting down, rolling over or playing dead. Here are some useful tricks you can teach your pet that could be useful in other situations.

In your place

Teaching your dog to go to a specific place at your command can be useful in many situations. If the doorbell rings, you can send an overly excited jumper to his place – the steps by the back door, his bed or the bathroom mat – and he can stay there until you release him. Your guests will welcome the absence of muddy paws on their clothes. Your pet can also sit in his place and staying there while you prepare his dinner. Not only will it ward off begging if your pooch gets overly excited at meal times, but you will also avoid accidents in the kitchen, especially if you send him to his place when carrying hot food or heavy items. Reward him with treats or attention when you’re done.

Play dead


If your dog is anxious or overly excited, playing dead and lying down on its side can be relaxing. The trick can be handy when he is distressed and if you want to examine him for ticks, parasites or injuries. If he is willing to lie quietly and play dead, you’ll be able to get access to areas that are often difficult to reach when your dog is upset, like under the legs or belly. It is also a useful trick for times when you want to settle down on the couch or bed and your dog is restless and pacing up and down. Remember to keep the rewards coming while he is learning to play dead and stay.

Hand targeting


Hand targeting — teaching your dog to touch his nose to your outstretched hand — is a fun, easy training project, and can prove useful in a variety of situations. For example, a dog that jumps up to greet people can be taught to touch his nose to a visitor’s hand in greeting instead. If he is particularly excitable or meeting a crowd of different people, he can hand target many times between people, or they can switch hands until he is feeling calmer and no longer wants to jump. It is also a good way to distract him away from mischief – like jumping on furniture, sniffing food left on a counter, or chasing the cat. It is also useful for people that can’t lift their dogs but can use hand targeting to guide them to their beds or into the car for a visit to the vet.




Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *