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Training resources

Basic Tricks to Teach Your Dog

Ped M9 - Basic Tricks pexels Ivan Babydov

Photo by Ivan Babydov

Basic Tricks to Teach Your Dog

Dogs are smart animals capable of learning all sorts of things, so teaching them basic tricks can be a fun activity to enjoy together. Not only is it a great way to bond with your pooch, but it also provides them with valuable mental stimulation and obedience training. 

Some of the basic tricks to teach a dog who’s new to this sort of thing include roll over, high five, and speak. These can all be taught with the use of treats, verbal cues, and hand gestures, along with some loving support, of course!

Why teaching your dog tricks is important

Trick training can bring a new and challenging aspect to your pup’s life, making it more fulfilling and rewarding. Some of the benefits of teaching your dog tricks include keeping them engaged, enhancing their obedience skills, building confidence, and creating a strong sense of trust and communication between the two of you. 

Just be sure that your dog is always enjoying themselves during their training by keeping an eye on their body language. If they appear tired or reluctant, it’s probably time to call it a day.

Five basic tricks to teach your dog

If you haven’t taught your dog any tricks before, start with something simple that you can guide them through in a few easy steps. Teaching a dog to sit on command is one of the first things many pet parents start with, followed by other basic tricks like roll over or high five. Whichever you choose, be patient and consistent, and hopefully your pooch will nail it in no time!


Teaching your furry friend to sit isn’t just a good starting point for trick training, but also for teaching them good manners and obedience. This basic command will come in handy when you have visitors over, are waiting to cross a road, or need to keep your dog still for grooming. To teach your dog to sit, follow these simple steps:

  1. Hold a treat just above their head and move it towards their tail, while saying the command “sit”. As they begin to follow the treat, their back end will hopefully lower to the ground.
  2. The moment that they sit down, give your dog the treat, along with lots of praise. 
  3. Repeat the trick several times, then try the command without the treat, rewarding them with praise alone.


The “down” position is a great command to teach your pup, as it’s the starting point for other tricks like “roll over”. It’s also good to have up your sleeve when you need your dog to settle down, especially if they’re being too excitable or you’re in a public space.

It’s simple to teach, just do the following:

  1. Start with your dog standing and hold a treat by their nose.
  2. Guide it down from their nose to their chest and then down to the floor, while saying the command 'down'.
  3. Practice a few times and then try with the command and no treat.

Roll Over

Teaching your dog to roll over not only keeps their mind and body active, it’s also a handy trick to have mastered if you need to inspect your dog’s stomach, such as during veterinary examinations. To get started, first you’ll have to teach them the “down” position (see above), before moving onto the roll.

Just follow these steps:

  1. Get your dog into the “down” position and hold the treat close to their nose. Move it slowly towards their shoulder, encouraging them to roll over onto one side. 
  2. Move the treat from their shoulder to their backbone, so they roll onto their back. 
  3. Continue moving the treat round to their other side to complete the roll and reward them with the treat and lots of praise. 
  4. Repeat this until they get the hang of it, then try adding the verbal cue “roll over”. After some practice, remove the treat from the routine and just use the verbal cue. 

Shake or High Five

If you want to put a smile on the faces of your friends and family, you can start by teaching your pooch to shake their hand or give them a high five. The same steps can be used to teach either trick, simply choose between the commands “Shake” or “High Five” and use the following technique:

  1. Start off by teaching your dog the “paw” command by holding a treat in your closed hand and letting them sniff and paw at your hand until they realise where the treat is. 
  2. When they lift their paw, reward them with the treat and lots of praise.
  3. After they’ve learned to lift their paw, add your chosen verbal cue. Over time, remove the treat and just use the verbal cue.


Teaching your dog to speak on command is great fun, and believe it or not, a very useful behaviour too. This is because once you’ve taught them to bark on cue, you can also train them to stop barking on cue. This technique is simple but will need consistent training to be effective:

  1. Have a treat ready and create a situation where your dog is likely to bark, for example, playing with them, tempting them with food, or waiting until they ask to be let out into the garden. 
  2. When your dog barks, reward them with the treat and use the command “speak”. 
  3. Repeat the process until your dog learns to bark on command. 
  4. If you want to train your dog to stop barking, you can use the same technique, but don’t give them the treat until they are quiet and use a command like “quiet”.

Teaching your dog basic tricks can be fun for both you and your pooch, while also improving their obedience skills and keeping them mentally stimulated. Simply stay consistent with practicing and they’ll be performing these tricks with ease in no time. For more tips on training your dog, check out our help hub.


© 2023 Mars or Affiliates.

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