3 Easy and Fun Puppy Tricks

Just about everyone is proud of their puppy. Afterall, your puppy loves you, so your puppy must be brilliant and wonderful, right? You may want to show the world how smart your puppy is by teaching him some tricks. There are lots of great tricks you can teach your puppy. It’s usually best to start with some basics.

1. Teaching Your Puppy To Bow

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Puppies bow all the time. They bow (stretch) when they wake up from a nap. They bow, or make a “play bow” when they are trying to get another puppy to play with them. It’s a natural behavior for puppies so it is not hard to teach your puppy to do it. When your puppy bows, he puts his front legs down on the ground and raises his back end in the air. All you need to teach your puppy to bow are some treats.

There are really two ways you can teach your puppy to bow. One way is to catch your puppy when he is waking up from naps and bowing naturally (or any time you see him bowing, as in a play bow). When you see him bowing, you can give him a treat and praise him for bowing. Some puppies will catch on to this method quickly and start bowing on command, but this is a little “iffy” since you may not catch your puppy bowing that often.

The other way is to have your puppy stand in front of you. It is good if your puppy knows the Stand command. This command is easy to teach if your puppy doesn’t already know it. Once your puppy is standing in front of you, you should hold a treat next to his nose. Then slowly lower the treat toward the floor. Your puppy should follow the treat down with his nose, and then with the front part of his body. If he partly reaches the floor, sort of in a bow, you should praise him and reward him. You can make the behavior more perfect as you go along. This lesson will be easier for some puppies to do than others, just because of the shape of their bodies and the length of their legs. Keep working at it for a few minutes several times per day and your puppy will soon be bowing on command. Remember once your puppy bows, you should also bring him back up to a standing position and reward him. Don’t forget the praise!

2. Shaking Hands

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Shaking hands, or shaking paws, is a popular trick that is fun and easy to teach. Most puppies can learn to shake hands very quickly. All you need for training are some treats.

Your puppy should be sitting for this trick. If your puppy doesn’t know how to sit, this is an easy command to teach and one that your puppy should know. With your puppy sitting in front of you, you should put a treat in your hand and show it to your puppy. Then close your hand over the treat and hold your hand out to your puppy. Most puppies will sniff at your hand and then they will paw at your hand to get the treat. Don’t do anything until your puppy touches your hand with his paw. Once your puppy touches your hand with his paw you can tell him “Good!” and give him the treat.

Keep practicing for a few minutes several times per day. You can start adding the “Shake” command as you go along. Your puppy will start offering you his paw very quickly.

You can gradually start phasing out using the treats once your puppy has learned the trick, but do give your puppy a treat for this trick often enough to still make it fun for him. Remember to keep giving your puppy praise for doing his tricks. He likes to please you.

3. Puppy Kisses

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Not everyone likes puppy kisses, but if you would like to teach your puppy to give puppy kisses, on the cheek or on the hand, it’s very easy to teach your puppy to give kisses on command.

All you need to teach your puppy to give kisses is a little peanut butter or cream cheese. Plus a towel. You will want to wipe off any puppy drool.

You should be sitting some place where your puppy can approach you, calmly and quietly. Place a little dab of cream cheese or peanut butter on your hand or on your cheek. Choose where you would like your puppy to give you a kiss.

Give your puppy the command “Kisses,” or whatever word you would like to use.

You should get closer to your puppy so he can lick off the peanut butter or cream cheese. Most puppies don’t have any problem with this part. You can practice letting your puppy give you a kiss several times per day. Your puppy should learn this trick very quickly.

It’s usually a good idea to have a way to stop the kisses, too, so you can teach your puppy to stop giving kisses when you say, “enough.” When your puppy stops giving you kisses you should say, “Enough,” then praise him and give him a treat. Your puppy will learn to make the connection. You will want to be able to control your puppy’s kissing enthusiasm when he is around children and people who don’t want kisses.

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David is a retired dog behavior expert, professional dog trainer and a certified specialist in aggressive dog behavior. He co-founded Dog Remedy.