Playing with, training, and teaching your dog is one of the greatest joys of life as a pet owner. Beyond the simple commands to sit and stay, there are plenty of fun games and stunts to teach your dog. When you're bored or looking to brush up on your skills as a trainer, exploring the dozens of dog tricks can be a great bonding exercise for you and your furry friends and a great way to use some of their endless energy.

Shake a Paw

Shake a paw is a great trick to teach your dog to do even with strangers. While holding a treat just out of reach, pick up one of your dog's paws, or touch their paw to get them to raise it. As soon as your dog does this, feed them the treat. Wait to introduce a verbal "shake" command until your dog is familiar with the action. Be sure to reward them every time he lifts his paw and have frequent training sessions.

Dog Tricks Shake Hands Train PhotoTalk / Getty Images


Open Doors and Drawers

By attaching a cloth or rope to door handles or drawers, you can teach your pup to open these compartments with ease. This isn't only cute; it's also a great ability for your pet to have when you need to access something just out of reach. Tie a piece of cloth or durable rope to the handle of a door, cupboard, or drawer and encourage your dog to tug on it. When they do, use a clicker and a treat to give them two sensory reactions to the action. Use the command "open" repeatedly and reward them every time they open the door.

Teach Dog Open Doors Drawers igorr1 / Getty Images


Commando Crawl

This adorable trick is simple to teach. Use a treat to encourage your dog to lay on the ground, usually with the "down" command. Lure him forward a few inches with a treat and reward frequently. If your dog tries to stand to retrieve the treat, have him kneel again and resume the exercise. Eventually, try to use your hand without treats in your palm and reward after your pup's success. Make sure to eventually incorporate commands like "crawl."

Sad pug dog was punished and left alone on the kitchen Maryviolet / Getty Images


Play the Piano

With perseverance and patience, teaching your dog to attempt to play the piano can be accomplished. Of course, the tune your furry friend hammers out isn't likely to be symphony-worthy, but even the idea that your dog attempts to play a tune can delight guests. To start, place your finger on a key with a treat in your fist. If your dog paws or noses that key, reward him. Repeating this action with positive reinforcement and treats will help your dog associate the treat with the action of touching the piano. Make sure to say a phrase like "play the piano" when you're training him. Eventually, just saying the phrase will prompt your dog to touch the keys, and voila, you have a virtuoso on your hands!

Play Piano Dog Teach Trick ThamKC / Getty Images


Fetch Items

Teaching your dog to fetch things from around your house, like remotes, shoes, and phones can be useful when you don't feel like grabbing something or can't find it. You need to help your dog understand the item he's bringing to you and reward him when he shows that item attention. If necessary, give him something that smells of you if he's looking for an item that has your scent. Use the item as a sort of "toy" to begin training and encourage your dog to pick up the item and drop it. Use treats to reinforce the action you want, like "drop" or "grab." Next, start to place the item slightly out of reach or out of sight and tell your dog to get it. The item with your scent can help him find what you're directing. Make sure to only train with one item at a time until your dog understands and use different names for different items.

English springer spaniel with TV remote tirc83 / Getty Images


Turn Off the Lights

Have you ever climbed into bed and realized that you haven't turned off the light on the other side of the room? With this trick, your dog can flip that switch for you. Encourage your dog with a light pointer or laser to stand up and touch the light switch. Holding a treat above the switch can also accomplish this goal, and don't forget to use a command. Reward profusely when your dog interacts with the switch and even more so when the switch is lifted up or down. The laser and treats can be phased out as your dog begins to understand what the command means.

Turn Off Lights Dog Train Justin Sullivan / Getty Images


Give Hugs

This trick can be comforting when you're having a low moment or just looking for some furry company. Your dog might not have the physical ability to do this trick exactly as you imagine it, so be accomodating! If you want your dog to put its paws on your shoulder, start by physically placing his paw on your shoulder and rewarding him for it with a treat placed behind your back near the opposite shoulder. This will help him to learn to place his head on your shoulder as well. The next step would be to hold a treat behind and above your head, encouraging your dog to come up to you and place his head over your shoulder. Repeating these two steps will help get your dog acclimated to the action, and continue to reward him. After he understands, incorporate commands like "can I have a hug?" or "hug." Be patient, as this trick might take a little while to teach.

Dog Hiving Hugs Train Trick Capuski / Getty Images



Tt's easy to teach your dog this very formal trick. Its method is very similar to teaching him to commando crawl, except you lure his lower body down with a treat instead of telling him "down." Keep your dog in that position and then bring him back into a standing position. Give him verbal and physical reinforcement while feeding him the treat you were holding. You can start using the "bow" command soon, but don't train him for more than a few minutes a day.

Train Dog Bow w-ings / Getty Images


Stack Rings

Stacking ring toys is another relatively simple trick. Teach your dog to focus on the stick that the rings will be stacked on with a clicker and treats. Then, draw his attention to the rings by engaging him in a game of fetch. Show him where to place the rings down, like right next to the stick. If he accidentally drops the ring on the stick, shower him with affection and treats. Place the ring on the stick yourself while you have his attention to show him what you want. Eventually, he'll catch on and place the rings near or on the stick. Keep rewarding him as he inches toward your goal.

Train Dog Stack Rings vauvau / Getty Images


Balance Treats

The first step in this trick is teaching your dog to "stay." If he can stay completely still when you command it, that's half the battle won. Next, place a treat on your dog's nose while holding his face still. After a moment or two, let him have the treat. The next time you try this, wait a little longer but still let him have the treat soon. Give lots of praise each time and slowly let more and more time pass between the treat being placed on his nose and his eating it.

Dog Balance Treats Nose patty_c / Getty Images


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