While filming the TV series, we were fortunate to be able to work alongside some of the best trick dogs and trainers around the world. We also worked on the Talent Hounds blog, YouTube Channel, and live events. This video shows some of the incredible dogs performing at the Canadian Pet Expo Talent Hounds Show.
Kilo the Pug was only two years old when I began fostering him. He knew nothing but “Sit” at that time. There were some behavioral issues that needed to be addressed. Teaching Kilo simple tricks and more difficult tricks was a positive way to bond and correct his behaviour.
We reward each other with praises and treats, making training fun for us both. We do this for a few minutes each day. We can either reward or shape a behavior he displays, or we may lure him to do a trick. Some tricks, such as “sit” or “paw”, are easy to teach. Others, like lying down, waiting and sitting pretty, can take months. He may not want to learn some tricks, such as roll over and walking on my feet.
I redirect him to perform tricks and show off his talents when he meets new people. He also buggers me twice daily to practice or learn new things. He enjoys the attention and the rewards.
Brandon MacMillan’s Shake and Break and other training tools have proven very useful to me. See the post here. You can check our affiliate links: Brandon McMillan Shake and Break Training Tool by Petmate
Brandon McMillan’s Lure Stick Training Tool from Petmate
Below is a list and video of our top first dog tricks. There are also links to basic tips, videos and tutorials. You can do it if Kilo and me can.
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20 Simple Tricks to Teach your Dog
Kilo loves to sit and this is the only trick he can perform from the word “Sit” remote or by using a hand signal. I simply raise a treat above his nose.
It can be used as a base for many other tricks, and is very useful for obedience if Kilo becomes anxious or excited.
Paw and Shake
“Paw” is one of the tricks I first taught Kilo. It, along with “Sit,” is a foundation for many other poses and tricks.
You can see my post here about how I taught Kilo Paw to Shake a Paw by rewarding him for lifting his paw and touching things with his paws.
Wave taught Kilo by placing my hand up and saying “Paw” so that he could touch my hand. Then, he moved his hand away from my reach. He tried to touch my hand and I rewarded him. After several successful attempts, I called it “Wave” and was rewarded.
Kilo loves say your prayers. He uses “Paw” to put his paws on my arm, then I place a treat under my nose and my arm. He still refuses to do it without the treat. No pay, no play.
You can hold a treat in one hand and ask your dog to touch your hand with their nose. Touch is a wonderful foundation trick.
Kilo found lying down very difficult. I tried to get him to lie down, but he kept popping up. Finally, I built a bridge by placing my legs on the ground and luring him under. He understood what I was trying to teach him and now he loves to lie down and will offer it up. Gillian Ridgeway, our trainer and friend, shows you how to teach your dog to lie down and stay.
One of Kilo’s favourite tricks is spin. I named it because he spins like a madman before he gets his food. To get him to do it, I offered him a treat right next to his nose.
Gradually, I was able to move the treat farther from his nose. Now I simply give a signal by holding a treat in each hand.
Drop and tug
Except for the Woofjocks’ hilarious show, this isn’t really a trick. However, most dogs love tugging, even Kilo. It’s the hard part of teaching them how to “Drop”, “Leave It”, or “Off”. This is something I’m still trying to master.
Roll the yoga mat
This trick is a favorite of Kilo. I taught him this trick by hiding treats in the mat. He will now roll anything he finds and search for treats LOL.
Speak on Command (or Bark, Sing, or Count).
Louie, the Boston Terrier, was able to sing and was the inspiration for Talent Hounds’ first film.
Trick Dog Sweetie, the Jack Russell, can sing and count to command. You can see her training post here.
This is something I haven’t yet taught Kilo, but it is useful and cute. You first identify a trigger and then reward it with a name. Kilo barks at the Mailman and neighbor’s dogs, which is a problem for me. I don’t want to reward him.
Do you want to walk or jump on 2 feet?
If there are treats, Kilo will dance for joy on his two feet. I can now lure Kilo by putting peanut butter on a wooden spoon, or using the Lure Stick. Sometimes he will respond to my hand signals with a treat in his hand.
I taught Kilo how to weave through my legs and through the poles by luring him with treats. He is impatient and greedy so I have to give him a treat each hand. We don’t have a lot of future together in canine-freestyle.
Kilo and me often practice different dance moves. I often lure him with treats. We will not be competing against the talented dancers like Linzy, Hero and Gwen Vernon. Dancing involves many other techniques, such as walking on two feet and weaving to the music.
“Sit Pretty” can be a great pose for photos, but it can be difficult for dogs with long backs and big chests such as Kilo the Pug. Be sure to give your dog a solid core.
This trick can be taught in 2 posts.
Kilo is the first feature in How to train your dog to sit well.
This second video features Taylor, her dog Lottie, and her dog Grizzly. How to teach your dog to sit pretty.
I tried to get Kilo to roll over by making him lie down, then having him hold a treat on his shoulder and move it over. But he hates it. He might be feeling too vulnerable. He will lie on his back, and I can tickle him on my sofa or bed. But not on the ground. It’s not difficult for other experts.
This was a difficult one for Kilo, but he learned it quickly. We just told him no wait and gave him treats if he refused. If we place one on his nose, he will wait. However, I must hold the other one in my hand to distract him from grabbing it. Rescue Noodles, the Wonder Dog, does a remarkable wait and hold. Indica is another rescue featured in our Rescues Rock TV episode.
It was very easy to teach this as I simply held a treat in each hand and pointed to the open door. Now, I point to the door and tell him to close it. He runs over and grabs it (there are treats for Kilo because he loves payment).
Give a kiss
I used “Kiss” to hold a treat near my face, and enticed Kilo to touch my face with mine. But I need to be careful that he doesn’t grab the treat so it is safe for you to try it. It’s a good idea to teach “Touch” first with their noses. Kilo loves to give me “Pug Hugs & Kisses” every time I return home, so I name them.
I used “Paw”, and Kilo was attracted to the board. He had to push me to get him to accept the treat.
He was able to do it much more easily at the Canadian Pet Expo, where Linzy demonstrated him how to use her board.
With our heroes Sara Carson, Hero of the Super Collies, walk through my legs and on my feet.
Do you have a favorite dog trick? Please share your favorite trick with us in the comments.
20 Simple Tricks to Teach Your Dog Talent Hounds.