I beg you to click here to find out more about
Personalized Dog Training in South Jersey
To Home Page

Personalized Dog Training --- Tricks and Everyday Fun!!!

Rolling over - Playing dead dog       These dogs have learned the fun tricks  ---

rollover, play dead, and beg ---   

your dog can learn these and many others including fun games to play!!!   Begging - actually pleading dog



Here is a web link and a link for a book on teaching dog tricks (please make sure that suggested methods use positive reinforcement to teach a trick and that the method suggested will not be stressful to your dog).

How to Love Your Dog web site

The Best Dog Tricks on the Planet” by Babette Haggerty (this book features two of my Golden Retrievers as trick models)


My Golden Retrievers love playing games.  I recommend that you play games with your dog.  Games help your dog use his prey drive energy in a positive fashion.  Games benefit the relationship between you and your dog.  Games help alleviate you and your dog's stress.  SO GO PLAY GAMES!

Games to teach and play:

Hide-and-Seek: have someone hold your dog, hide in a fair place (do not climb up on things or close doors).  Call your dog's name and COME.   Have your dog find you.  This also teaches your dog to love to come to you when he hears "come".    Also play this outside in a safe area.  Hide behind trees and in the bushes!

Retrieve: Throw a retrieve object, let your dog chase it.  It's a great energy burner for your dog.  Either run away to encourage him to return, stand where he wants to return to anyhow, play with two retrieve items and trade off, or have a rope on him and gently help him return.  When he does return, do not reach for the retrieved item.  Instead pet him and praise him.  He may then drop the item or you can have a second item and toss that for another retrieve. 

Find his toys:  Hide a toy and have him hunt it up with the word "find" or find it".  To make him want it more, use a toy you can stuff with peanut butter or spray cheese. 

Toys that allow your dog to hunt for food:  These toys allow your dog to play a game by himself.  You can buy toys such as the Buster Cube, Kong, or hollow marrow bones.  There are other brands of puzzle toys that you place food into - some are softer than the Buster Cube (not as loud when the dog bangs them around, but maybe not as indestructible either).

Scattered kibble hunting game:  Have your dog wait on the stoop or deck as you scatter kibble or small bisquits in the grass in a hoola hoop-sized area.  If your dog is not good at waiting, have someone hold him.  Then return to your dog and release him to search for his food in the grass.  You can feed your dog part of his actual dinner in this manner. 

Tug:  Tug is a good energy burning game.  It is recommended that you play tug only with a designated tug toy, only when you get the toy out to play, and only when young children are not around since they are not mature enough to play this game.  Play with a start word and a release word.  It is okay to sometimes let the dog win, but in the end you will stop the game and put the toy away.  If your dog accidentally (or otherwise) touches your skin with a tooth, say "ouch", stop the game, take the toy, and ignore him for a silent count of 10 before playing again.  Hurting you makes the game stop for a bit. 

Go away from you to an object, crate, or bed: Teach your dog to target (meaning to touch his nose to) an object, such as an upsidedown recycle bucket.  Put a piece of food on the bucket and teach him to get it from close up.  Gradually move farther back until you can send him away from you to the bucket.  Again move closer to the bucker and have him turn to face you and sit for a treat when he gets to the bucket (after he gets the treat off the bucket, say "sit" and give him another treat for facing you and sitting).  You can also teach him to run into his crate or to a dog bed in the same manner as a game.  Having your dog race to his crate or dog bed for the reward of a small treat or toy is a great way to exercise him on a rainy or snowy day.  


Dog Trick Training References:

Andrea Arden's Little Book of Dog Tricks

Click-A-Trick Cards by Karen Pryor

Dog Tricks -- Step-by-Step by Mary Ann Rombold Zeigenfuse & Jan Walker (Howell)

Dog Tricks by Arthur J. Haggerty & Carol Lea Benjamin

Dog Tricks For Dummies by Sarah Hodgson

Fun and Games with Your Dog by Gerd Ludwig

How To Teach Your Old Dog New Tricks by Ted Baer

Roy Hunters Fun and Games Series - Fun and Games with Dog and More Fun and Games with Dogs

The Trick is in the Training by Stephanie Taunton & Cheryl Smith

Take A Bow Wow! Fun and Functional Dog Tricks - Broitman and Lippman (video)

 Bow Wow Take 2 - Broitman (video)

You Can Teach Your Dog Tricks, And Have Fun Too! by Nancy Winton

To order these books or videos, visit 4mdogbooks.com or DogWise.com or Amazon.com


I enjoy teaching my Golden Retrievers tricks.   I suggest that you teach your dog tricks that match his or her personality.   Check out the above books and web sites to learn the details about trick training.  Below is a general overview of how to teach tricks.

One way to teach a trick is to "catch" a behavior that your dog already does.  For example, if your dog sometimes play bows start to reward him when he play bows on his own accord.  One way to do this is with the use of a clicker.  Teach your dog that the click means you will give him a small soft treat and then later on when he play bows click and then treat.  Instead of the clicker you could use a word you don't normally use such as "bingo" or "yesss".  Teach your dog that "bingo" or "yesss" leads to a small soft treat and later on when he play bows say "bingo" or "yesss" and then treat.   Note: please choose one word only. 

You can also "catch" a behavior that you help to make happen for example by blowing in your dog's face to get him to paw his face (make sure that you don't upset your dog by doing this) or by tickling his nose to make him sneeze.  It works this way, you blow in your dog's face and his rubs his paw over his face.  As he does this, you click and treat.   Once he is pawing his face without you having to blow in his face to earn the click start saying a word such as "peek-a-boo" as he brings his paw over his face, then click followed by a treat.  Pretty soon he will be doing the trick for the word "peek-a-boo".  You can also "catch" a behavior that you help to make happen by luring with a treat or toy (see "luring" below).

Shaping a trick behavior is another way to teach a trick.  For example, you may teach a dog to spin to the left or right by first rewarding your dog when he turns his head or body a little, then rewarding him when he turns it a bit more, and so on until you have an entire spin.  Teaching a dog to spin to the left or the right can also be taught by luring (see below).

Luring means to use a small soft treat or a toy to guide your dog through a motion or into position.   You can teach you dog to either dance on his hind legs or sit up (also called sit pretty or beg) by luring with a treat or toy.

An additional way to teach a trick is to mold the trick in a hands-on fashion.   Many people teach shake a paw in this manner.  They lift up the dog's paw as they say "paw" or "shake" and eventually the dog lifts his own paw.  This is not the best way to teach many tricks because it is hard for the dog to figure out how to do the motion on his own when you stop physically helping him. 

Please do not teach tricks using force or punishment.  Tricks are met to be relationship builders for you and your dog.   They should not stress your dog.   Tricks must be FUN!

To Top of Page