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Dog Tricks – Dog Training Level 2

Dog Tricks – Dog Training Level 2

Once you’ve mastered basic dog tricks (people call them dog tricks but many of these are part of obedience training) such as “sit” and ‘”lie down” you can easily move onto other dog tricks. Some dog tricks are really just for fun and for bonding with your dog, but other dog tricks are really important. These ‘tricks’ can save your dog from injury or worse.


Another extremely important command is the ‘come’ command. It is most important when you want your dog to come to you in case of an emergency, like before he/she runs onto a dangerous road. You want your dog to come to you under any circumstance, so it is important to associate the ‘come’ command with positive rewards and use it in as many situations as possible. For example, use the command to call the dog while he/she is playing in the dog park. Instead of using the come command only to end the play session, reward the dog and then allow him/her to return to his/her friends. The dog will then realize that by coming to you, his/her play session will not necessarily end.

To teach the ‘come’ command, choose a time when your dog is most energetic and likely to seek affection. For example, meal times are good because most dogs are eager to be fed. With his/her bowl of food in hand (or a favourite toy), crouch down and encourage your dog to come to you by calling his/her name and saying “come” with an excited, happy tone of voice. Use your body language to encourage your dog to come towards you. Reward as soon as he/she reaches you. As your dog begins to learn the command, progress to standing upright while simply stating “come”. It is also a good idea to teach your dog to sit once he/she reaches you to prevent him/her from jumping up on you.


When you walk your dog, he/she should not pull on the leash but rather walk beside you at  your own pace.  To teach the ‘heel’ command, have your dog on a leash beside you. Keep the end of the leash attached to one hand which is kept firmly at the level of your waist at all times. As you begin to walk forward, your dog will most likely rush forward ahead of you. As soon as your dog pulls, turn your body in the opposite direction and move briskly and decisively in this new direction. Do not jerk on the leash. Simply move in the exact opposite direction you were going. Your dog will probably continue heading in the old direction, but he/she will soon learn that doing so will leave him at a disadvantage. Instead of being at the front of the ‘pack’, he/she now finds himself at the very tail end of the action. The leash will suddenly jerk him/her after you and he/she will have to run to catch up. Continue walking in the new direction until and unless the dog pulls ahead again. If that happens, spin around again and head in the opposite direction. Your dog will very quickly learn that there is no ‘ahead’ direction except as it relates to you. Your goal is the teach him/her to watch your body movements for cues and then adjust his own position relative to yours. It is your body movements, not a command, that the dog must learn to pay attention to. Because the leash is long, much of it will drag on the ground. Ignore the extra length of leash and focus on just keeping the end of the leash at your waist.

Once you and your dog have mastered the above commands, you will both be ready for more unique and exciting tricks.


With your dog standing in front of you, allow him/her to follow a small food lure into a half-circle as you say “spin”. As they complete the half-circle, praise and reward immediately. Do this step until it is easy. Then take another treat and turn an entire circle. Praise and reward again. Once the dog is doing this reliably, switch directions. After you have accomplished that, start to fade out the signal for ‘spin’ gradually until it becomes a very small hand movement only.


This is a variation of the spin trick. Start with your dog in front of you and a food lure in hand. Have your legs about two feet apart. Take the treat and put it behind your knee, then lure the dog under your legs with the command “weave”. Praise and reward immediately once the dog emerges. Then repeat with a treat until they can do 3-4 weaves for one treat. Remember to praise and reward quickly. As with the spin trick, fade the signal once the dog becomes good at the weaving.


This trick is one of the best crowd pleasers. With your dog standing in front of you and a food treat in hand, move both hands in towards the dog’s front paws while saying “bow”. As your dog assumes the bow position, say “good boy/girl” and reward immediately. This trick is similar to teaching your dog how to lie down, but you reward before your dog’s rear end drops to the floor. If your dog ends up in a lie down position instead of a bow position, try holding one hand under the dog’s groin lightly while luring down with a treat. When the back end stays up and the front end is down, praise and reward immediately.


This trick needs to be taught in stages. Begin with having the dog lie down. Then use a treat to lure the dog on his/her side. Reward and praise your dog immediately. Finally, have the dog put his/her head down so he/she is perfectly still. Work on increasing the amount of time that he/she is in the ‘play dead’ position before rewarding. Be patient with this one and keep the sessions short.

Training and tricks should always be a fun and rewarding activity for both you and your pet. Be patient and avoid long sessions because you and your dog will become easily frustrated. Some dogs and dog owners just learn more easily when the teaching comes directly from a professional. In this case, if the tricks are important to you, seek the help of a good trainer by getting a reference from your vet. Nothing is more rewarding than seeing your dog progress into a well-trained companion, but it should be fun.

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