Hilarious Tricks to Train Your Dog
Are you looking for some inspirational ideas of how to put your new clicker and positive training toolbox to work?Try these adorable and hilarious tricks which are quick and easy to train, doesn’t matter what type of dog you have, from Border Collies to Cavapoo’s, they’ll be a hit.
Before getting into the tricks, here is a quick review of some basic clicker training principles. Don’t worry, if you are not experienced with a clicker, you can just use a sound like “YES!!” to let your dog know that whatever they just did was what you were looking for. Always be sure to reward whatever word or sound you use as a marker, even if you used it by mistake.
- Use high value rewards cut into tiny pieces so that you can reward frequently and rapidly.
- Keep training sessions short and fun. If you or your dog get frustrated, end on a high note and come back to it another time.
- Never correct your dog with sounds or touch during training sessions. This will discourage them from trying new things, which will be important for training new behaviors.
- Set your dog up for success by choosing criteria they are able meet, gradually raising criteria for a click/treat as your dog offers up a behavior incrementally closer to your ultimate goal.
- Think about your ultimate goal and find creative ways to build it from smaller behaviors. In some cases you can teach the smaller behaviors, then later chain them into the final behavior that is more complex.
- Do not add a verbal cue until the dog is reliably giving you the final behavior that you are looking for. Otherwise you are “wearing out” the command.
On to the tricks!
Traditional, but basic, this simple trick is easy to teach and fun for social situations. Generally, this is a trick that starts with the dog in the sitting position. You can actually start by picking up your dog’s front paw, holding it for a second, then click/treating.
Your goal is to extend the duration of the paw hold, add the shake, and have the dog offer their paw for the shake rather than grabbing it. Be patient and positive.
Shake is particularly fun if you make a verbal command for the trick that accentuates how darling it is for a dog to offer a paw for a greeting. “How do you do?” is a good example of a cue that makes this trick a few shades funnier when done for company.
Get Your Tail!
Another easy and fun trick to teach your dog is to chase their own tail. Use a high value doggy treat to lure your dog around in a circle, clicking and treating when the circle is complete.
You will want to encourage faster spins with smaller hand signals over time with this trick. Eventually “Get your tail!” and a tiny circle with your finger should be enough for your dog to enthusiastically chase that tail in hope of a reward.
My dog is such a fan of this fun trick that I often get it hopefully volunteered as a way to remind me that life is just a game after all!
You know when your dog thinks something smells bad, you have comedic genius at your fingertips. I like this trick trained from a down position, with the dog holding a paw over their nose for at least 5 seconds.
The secret to this trick is using a little scotch tape on the nose to get your dog to make the initial nose swipe with their paw. Make sure to click and treat even a fast swipe at first. Over time, raise your criteria until your dog is doing “It Stinks!” and holding it for more and more time, without the tape.
If you have good timing, this fun and easy trick comes in handy for comic relief. Teaching this trick is easiest if you have a dog experienced with clicker training. Like all dogs that are old hat with the clicker, you can “capture” just about any volunteered behavior and turn it into a trick.
I like to make the hand signal my own hand over my face with a mock yawn. That way, if I plan to tease someone about being a little bit boring, my dog will help confirm the diagnosis!
Everyone needs a yes-man from time to time. When life gets you down after a hard day at work, make sure your dog knows how to agree when you ask if you are the prettiest lady in all the land.
This trick is easy to train with luring, using a high value reward to encourage a nod of the head then clicking and treating. The thing with luring is you want to “fade the lure” quickly, moving to just a hand signal, then transitioning to whatever final subtle hand signal you want to use.
This is one of those tricks I think is best without a specific verbal cue, rather a subtle hand cue or facial expression. This way you can have your dog perform a nod with any question you want, increasing the range of when this hilarious trick will get the most laughs.
I hope this list has inspired you to invent some more hilarious dog tricks. Not only are these tricks fun to watch, they increase the bond you have with your dog and give them a sense of purpose. Don’t forget to have fun!
Mat Coulton has worked with dogs for just under a decade and is the founder of WileyPup.com, a doggy lover’s website that provides great tips and advice for pet parents everywhere.