What are treats without tricks?
Tricks and treats just go together when it comes to Halloween.
In particular, treats are even sweeter when they’re earned after performing a trick.
Tricks aren’t always easy to teach your dogs, but simple ones like “shake” or “high-five” are fairly quick, and easy to teach your dogs. Plus, many general commands such as “sit,” “lay down,” and “stay” are also considered good tricks that dogs perform each and every day—ones that come in handy when trying to take pictures, let me tell you.
Here I’m going to provide easy steps to teach your dog the simple tricks of: shake, high-five, and beg.
What you’ll need: treats (lots of little treats, and preferably something that is of high value), and patience (probably even more patience than treats, to be honest).
To teach your dog how to “shake” simply put them in a “sit” position and offer your hand. When they give you their paw then give them a treat. If you’re a fan of using a clicker, you can click when their paw makes contact with your hand and then immediately give them a treat. After you are able to accomplish this a few times, then you can start saying the command “shake” when offering your hand. This way your dog can start to associate the action with the word.
To teach your dog to “high-five” the procedure is pretty similar to “shake” except this time instead of offering your hand, simply hold your palm upright. You may need to tap on the center of your palm so your dog better understands to target your palm, but after learning “shake” it is typically fairly easy to then move on to “high-five.”
To teach your dog to “beg” can take a bit more time and patience. Also, it is best if your dog is able to balance on their back legs—Rosee is great at this, but Simon not so much. To start, have your dog in a “sit,” but make sure that it is a full sit meaning that their back end is leaning to the side since it is easier for them to sit back and balance in an upright position. Then, hold one of your arms parallel to the floor and ask your dog to place their two front paws over your arm. Treat (and click) when they do what your ask. Practice this a few times until your dog can easy sit and balance their front paws over your arm. Finally, you can begin to take your arm away while still asking your dog to sit and balance on their back end while holding their front paws up.
Now, while dog tricks are definitely a treat, I can’t end this post without mentioning the biggest Trickster of the pack.
I present to you…Shadow!
Shadow is one of our cats who we rescued about four months ago. He’s a former neighborhood cat that, once again, adopted us as his family. He is curious, mischievous, and absolutely fearless. Despite his small stature he is unafraid of Simon and Rosee, and will do anything for food (he’s kind of like a dog in that sense). His best tricks so far include: “beg,” and stealing food off of the kitchen counters.
That’s all of the tricks I have to offer for this Halloween 2018 and make sure to let us know in the comments any tricks your dogs (or cats) are known for!