We all love the idea of having a well-trained dog who hangs on our every word – and now your puppy has all the basics under their belt, it’s time to move on to the more advanced dog training techniques. Learning new tricks and games with your dog is going to benefit you as much as will benefit them and it will enhance your relationship as a result. It’s a win-win!
Some of these fun dog tricks are based on mastering basic dog training skills, so if you need a refresher make sure you check our article first.
Having a dog who will give you their attention when you ask means they are ready to listen to you, and this is the first step in every other part of your advanced puppy training. The fun dog tricks below require your puppy’s attention for the learning process to begin. There’s no point asking your dog anything if his mind is elsewhere!
Teach your pup to look at you when you say his name. This is something you should have been doing since puppyhood, but this is a good time to have a refresh. Have treats in your pocket while you’re in the house or garden. At various times when your dog isn’t expecting it, say their name brightly and enthusiastically. If they look at you, drop a treat on the ground between you, so the dog moves towards you to get the treat.
You are teaching the puppy that their name means “give me your attention and good things happen”. Start doing this when there are no distractions and build it up until you can do it everywhere, no matter what is going on. Positive association like this is an important step in advanced dog training.
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This dog trick is easy to do indoors, is good fun and all you need is some treats or some of your dog’s daily food allocation. The aim is for your dog to weave in a figure of eight around your legs.
Top Tip: Practice the hand movements before you bring your dog into the equation! Once you have the movement down to a fine art and your dog is happily following your hands through the figure of eight you can introduce the cue word, which might be ‘weave’ for example.
After you have practised a few times with the treat reward, see if your dog has associated the cue word and ask your dog to ‘weave’ without the initial lure. If your dog doesn’t weave on cue immediately, just keep practising in short bursts and they’ll soon associate the word with the movement.
When your dog does follow the cue without the treat as a lure, make sure you still reward the weave at the end. This is a fun dog trick and they should enjoy and be paid for a job well done.
This isn’t just a cool dog trick; it’s potentially a game-changer. How many times have you lost your keys and wished you had a magic key-finding buddy at your service? Well, here’s your chance to create that buddy.
Before you get started, make sure that your keys are easy for your dog to pick up. Attach something soft to the key ring, maybe a small soft toy or a handkerchief.
As you practice this in different places around the house, remembering to make it fun and keep it well paid to help your dog respond quickly and understanding what is being asked of her.
Now you can discreetly hide your keys, wait a little while and then ask your dog to ‘find the keys’. If she doesn’t find them straight away or finds an alternative to keys, don’t worry, just ask again. If it’s quickly obvious that she’s not sure what you’ve asked her to do, just go back a step and practice that a bit more.
When your dog can easily find your keys from anywhere in the house, it’s time to up your game. Head out into your garden, or try this on walkies. Start by ‘accidentally’ dropping your keys and encouraging your dog to pick them up for you. Do this a few times and then ‘accidentally’ drop your keys, say nothing, and see how your dog responds. Give lots of praise and a decent treat for a positive choice and if your dog decides you can pick up your own keys, that’s ok too! You can try again when there’s less distraction and after some more practice of asking first.
One thing to remember… if you have a tendency to leave your keys lying around, your dog will learn that bringing them to you is rewarded. So, be prepared to praise and reward every time so that your dog knows they are doing the right thing, or tidy up your keys and leave them somewhere safely out of reach!
For this game, it’s important that your dog is used to retrieving or you’ll end up with ripped up tissues all over your house! The aim is to teach your dog that the sound of a sneeze is a cue for them to collect and then bring you a tissue.
Keep reminding your dog of the new cue and play the game regularly. The next time you have a cold, you’ll be grateful!
Scent games are always a winner as your dog will be using their natural skills and will wow you with their expertise. Start playing this, make the words ‘Find It’ mean something specific to your dog and watch them come to life.
You can develop this fun dog trick by making things harder to find, changing the thing you’d like your dog to find, increasing the distance between the items or hiding them in different places.
Everyone needs a way to celebrate with their dog, and high-fiving each other has to be the best way. Here is how to teach this cool dog trick:
If you’re spending your days with more than one dog it’s a good idea to have one-to-one time with each dog while you’re introducing a new activity.
Not only will it enhance the bond you have with each dog, but you’ll also be able to tailor and adapt the session to suit the way they learn.
If you’re worried that your dogs might become grumpy with each other in the presence of new toys or treats, then think about the best way to learn on a one-to-one basis.
Yes, teaching your dog tricks and games can be frustrating, but keep in mind that you have the written instructions, your dog doesn’t!
Have realistic aims when you’re introducing new tricks and games. These ideas are based on force-free fun so the best case is your dog learns a reliable new cue or fully engages in the way you’d like. The worst case is you both have a good time, your dog gets a few treats and they’re reminded that you’re a fabulous person to be around!
Take a step back, have a break and think about what you were doing during the session. There’s a chance you’re not making the message clear to your dog so, think about breaking down the steps further or work on your timing. Don't forget, this is supposed to be fun!
We’re sure that if we asked you how much your dog loves playing, your eyes would light up as you told us all about how much fun your dog has with her/his favourite game. Now, be honest, how many different tricks and games have you taught your dog?
Not many, right?!
That’s ok, you have all the time in the world to introduce some new tricks and games, keep the sessions short and remember; there’s no pressure for you or your dog.
Ultimately these advanced dog training techniques are a fun and exciting bonding experience that will set you up for a happy and healthy life together.
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