Five Tricks to Bow-Wow Your Friends

Sit!  Down!  Stay!  Come!

If your dog knows these basic commands, he’s probably already impressing friends, family and neighbors with his impeccable manners and genius-level smarts. But if you really want to elicit some oohs and ahhs (and maybe a smattering of applause), try working some of these crowd-pleasing tricks into your routine.

Bashful Pup

There’s only one word for this trick: adorable!

  1. Start by placing a piece of painter’s tape or a Post-it note on your dog’s forehead.
  2. He will naturally try to remove it with his paw.
  3. Click (or say “yes”) and give him a treat.
  4. Replace the paper, if necessary, and repeat the above steps.
  5. Eventually, your dog will start offering the behavior without the paper. This is the time to add a hand signal (i.e., your hands on both sides of your face), along with a command like, “Are you shy?”

Wave Goodbye (or Hello)

Imagine how welcome your guests will feel when your dog greets them by waving hello!

  1. It’s helpful if your dog already knows how to shake before teaching this trick.
  2. Hold out your hand as if you’re going to shake.
  3. When your dog lifts his paw, don’t take it. Instead lift your hand a little so that their paw remains in the air. Click or say “yes” and reward.
  4. Practice this a few times, increasing the time that their paw remains in the air before you reward.
  5. Gradually change your hand signal to a wave and add a verbal cue like, “Wave hello!”

Sleepy Pup (Play Dead)

This is a classic and never fails to impress!

  1. Put your dog into the down position.
  2. Hold a treat near your dog’s nose and slowly pull it toward his back so he has to roll onto his side to get it. Click or say “yes” when he’s on his side.
  3. If your dog doesn’t immediately roll to his side, reward any movement in that direction. Then gradually increase the criteria for the reward.
  4. After your dog has learned how to roll on to his side, add a verbal cue like “Nap time!” along with a hand cue of holding both palms to the side of your face.

Figure Eight

Teach your dog to “dance” with you by weaving through your legs as you walk forward.

  1. Ask your dog to sit by your side.
  2. Take one big step forward. (Your dog should remain seated.)
  3. Use a treat to lure your dog through your legs. Click or say “yes” and reward.
  4. Repeat this move several times and make sure your dog understands before moving on to the next step.
  5. After your dog goes through your legs, take another big step forward with your other leg and lure him through again. Click or say “yes” and reward.
  6. Add more and more steps until your dog is weaving through your legs as you walk.
  7. Add a cue like “let’s dance!”

Take a Bow

No show would be complete without the star performer taking a bow!

  1. Start with your dog standing up.
  2. Hold a treat at his nose and lure his head down toward the floor. Once his elbows are on the floor and his rear-end remains in the air, click or say “yes” and reward.
  3. If he goes into a “down” position instead, work more slowly, rewarding any movement of the front of his body toward the floor. Try to encourage him lower and lower each time.
  4. Once he has the hang of it, add a sweeping hand gesture and say, “Take a bow!”

We hope you and best furry friend have a blast this National Dog Day!