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Article by Dimitri Michel

How do I teach my dog to do tricks?

Updated on 31 October 2023.

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At least once in their lives, everyone has seen an exceptionally well-behaved dog on TV, performing tricks and other impressive tricks.

That’s when you looked at your dog and thought how nice it would be if he could do the same. Maybe you thought your pet was just too stupid to be able to pull off that kind of feat.

That’s the easiest and most comforting answer. But didn’t it occur to you that it might be you, the owner, who isn’t capable enough to train him in this way?

Not that we mean to offend you, but it’s always good to be able to question yourself.

How do you teach your dog to do tricks?

In fact, training your dog to do tricks is the same basic rules used to train him naturally. And if your dog won’t come when you call him, won’t stay when you ask him, or won’t lie down when you tell him to, that’s the place to start.

Indeed, if you haven’t had the patience and rigor to train your dog to the strictest rules, don’t even try to teach him tricks – you’ll be wasting your time.

As mentioned above, teaching a dog to do tricks is the equivalent of teaching him the basic rules of training, only more complicated. You’ll need to be even more patient, communicate effectively with your dog and repeat the exercises regularly, in the form of drills, to make sure he understands them.

Often, especially when your trick requires you to perform fairly complex actions, you’ll need to break down the movement and teach your dog the different stages of the trick, little by little, until he understands them perfectly.

There aren’t really any additional rules for teaching him to perform all these tricks (useful or not). However, never forget that your dog is not a machine and, even if you’re going to have to offer him treats as an incentive, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t also have the right to regular breaks.

Similarly, if you notice that your dog isn’t paying attention at all during a session, you can leave him alone for the evening, or take him for a walk to calm him down, and then resume training.

Don’t forget that, in the end, tricks should also be fun for your dog, and that this activity should enable you to improve your mutual relationship…

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