Don't believe what they say. You can teach old (and young) dogs new tricks, and what better time than the beginning of a new year to get started? Here are three easy ones to tackle in 2016.
1. Sit Up or Sit Pretty"
How It's Done:
This trick requires the dog to balance in a sitting position, with his front feet off the ground. Start by sitting in a chair with your dog between your legs, facing away from you (if you have a little dog, sit on the floor). This helps the dog feel comfortable elevating himself without the fear of falling over backwards.
Hold a treat a few inches above his nose. In order for him to reach the treat, he has to raise his front paws off the ground while maintaining his sitting position. Gradually, raise your hand higher until his front feet are high enough off the floor without him coming off his sit. As training progresses, ask for a longer duration of this behavior before rewarding, and when it looks the way you want it to, name it “Sit Pretty!”
Once he’s confident with the exercise, I’ll transfer the behavior from between my legs to a corner, against the wall. Eventually your dog will be able to do this without any support at all.
2. Army Crawl
How It's Done:
This is a fairly simple trick to teach! Some dogs can learn this from a “Down” position and be lured into movement forward:
Lure your dog into a down position with a treat, and once he’s down, slide the treat away from him an inch at a time. Reward every time he crawls forward.
If your dog stands up, lure him back into the down and try again. As always, name it while your dog is doing the behavior. For dogs who do not have a down command, sit on the bottom step of a staircase, or on a low stool, and lure your dog under your legs. Depending on the height of your dog, you may have to adjust your legs so that the dog has to crawl (vs walk) under them. Keep your legs/knees together so he doesn’t pop through them!
Once he’s down, slide your treat on the ground as explained above. No matter how you teach it, reward incrementally so that your dog has success and is motivated to continue crawling forward.
3. Leg Weave
Watch this video by AKC to see how it's done: