The air is getting colder, the leaves are changing, and is it just us, or does the air kind of smell like pumpkin spice?
Fall is the perfect time to mix up your routine and start teaching your dog a new trick or two. After all, the Fall is iconically known for tricks (and treats!). Dogs can continually be trained, even as they age. So, no matter the age of your dog, we have three new tricks to teach them.
Read on, and we’ll provide all the information you need to spice up your training sessions. All you need to do is provide the treats.
Three new tricks you can teach your pup this Fall
1. “Watch Me!”
Once your pup can perform “sit” and “stay” with ease, then it can be beneficial to train them to respond to the “watch me” command. The “watch me” command is what it sounds like, you’re training your dog to stop what they’re doing, sit down, and put all of their attention onto you.
This is a useful command to get and keep your dogs attention. A “watch me” cue can be used to redirect your dog’s attention away from a distraction to prevent barking or to clam down if a visitor is entering your home. Since this command also involves direct eye contact with your dog, if you train them to do this when they’re young, it can make eye contact a very comfortable gesture to them. Some dogs view eye contact as aggression, so teaching them this can help associate eye contact with positive interactions.
To teach your dog the “watch me” command, you’ll need to get some treats. Then, follow the instructions below:
- Have your dog sit.
- Then, hold a treat out in front of their nose, but don’t let them take it.
- Slowly move the treat back towards your face until it is near your eyebrows.
- As you move the treat, repeat the command, “watch me.” You can also use the verbal cues “look” or “look at me” if that is preferred.
- If they maintained attention on you and the treat during this time, reward them with a clicker, praise, and the treat.
- Do these above steps a few more times with training treats, but then remove the treat from view and only use your hand. Still, reward your dog for maintaining eye contact with you with a treat and praise.
- If your dog is successfully following your hand, now try to use only the command “watch me,” and if they maintain eye contact for the desired amount of time, reward them accordingly.
Including a hand gesture with this command is helpful as well. Most commands that we teach our pets should be paired with a hand gesture to communicate the intention better. The hand gesture for a “watch me” command can be as simple as pointing from your dog’s face to yours. This mimics the movement you started with when you had a treat in your hand for training.
2. “Roll over.”
Prerequisite: Lay down.
We are all likely familiar with the command, “roll over.” It is a classically adorable trick to teach your dog. It doesn’t serve a particular purpose other than to entertain your pet and challenge their brain a bit.
To teach the command “roll over” to your dog, follow the instructions below and provide plenty of treats and praise along the way:
- Have your dog lay down and stay.
- Kneel beside your dog.
- Hold a treat near the side of your dog’s nose but do not let them take it. It should be on the opposite side of their head that you want them to roll.
- Move your hand and the treat towards their shoulder. This will lure them into rolling onto their side.
- Repeat this movement a few times until they continually roll to lying flat on their side. Be sure to praise them each time they complete this step correctly.
- Once they’ve mastered that step in the roll over, continue to move your hand and treat their shoulder to be near their backbone. If they follow the treat, they should now be lying on their back.
- Continue moving the treat once they’re on their back, so they roll to their other side.
- When they’ve followed the treat’s motion to roll over a few times, begin to include the command “roll over” along with the movement.
- Lastly, remove the lure of the treat from the hand gesture but continue using the command “roll over.”
- Eventually, your dog will be able to roll over without a large hand gesture or a treat.
- Just remember to continually praise your pup when they’ve performed this trick correctly!
The final trick we have for you is to teach your dog to give you a “paw” or “high-five.” This can quickly evolve into “shake” as well. This is a fun trick for your dog to do if your dog frequently interacts with other people. If they know “paw,” then they have a formal greeting for everyone to enjoy.
Get your treats, a clicker, and get training with the instructions below:
- Have your dog sit and stay.
- Hold a treat in your hand and close your hand into a fist.
- Hold your fist near your dog’s nose so they can smell the treat.
- Wait for your dog to get impatient waiting for the treat. Once they’re tired of waiting, they will naturally paw your hand.
- Once they lift their paw to touch your hand, click and praise them with a “yes” or “good.” Also, reward them with a treat from your other hand, not the one you were holding.
- Repeat this process 4-5 times.
- Now, your dog should have an understanding of what is happening. So, while holding the treat in front of their nose, say “paw” or “high five.” Once they lift their paw, praise them accordingly.
- Repeat this process 4-5 times.
- Once they’ve mastered the first two phases, open your hand with no treat and use the command “paw” or “high five.” Praise them and give them a treat when they touch their paw to your hand. Repeat as often as you want, and don’t forget to reward them each time.