A Anna Ryan

6 Easy Tricks You Can Teach Any Dog

Feb 7, 2024

Dogs aren’t just our best friends. They are amazing and intelligent animals that can be trained to do pretty much anything, from guiding blind people to performing intensive missions in the police force. So it’s no wonder you can teach almost any dog to do simple tricks such as rolling over or even giving you a high five.

But it’s not just about showing off what your dog can do to your friends and family. Teaching your dog a few simple tricks has so many other benefits, such as strengthening your bond and providing mental stimulation for your dog.

If you’ve never taught your dog tricks before and you’re wondering where to start, we’ve got you covered. Whether you have a seasoned canine or an excitable new puppy, here are six easy tricks any dog can master.

1. Sit

Dog sitting in a line

The first trick any dog needs to know is how to sit when they’re told. This command is so important for new puppies and excitable younger dogs, as it’ll teach them discipline early on. But teaching your dog to sit is more than just a basic command – it's a foundational trick that will help your furry friend learn more complex behaviors in the future.

How To Teach Your Dog:

Step One: Start by holding a treat close to your dog's nose, but make sure they don’t eat it!

Step Two: Then move your hand in an arc over your dog’s head. As your dog lifts their head to follow the treat, their bottom will lower naturally to the ground.

Step Three: The moment your dog sits down, immediately give them the treat – and don’t forget to tell them what a good boy (or girl) they are!

 2. Speak

A dog barking

Does your dog bark too much? This trick might be for you. Although it may sound counterproductive, training your dog to "speak" or bark on command can actually help control excessive barking. This is because the trick actually helps teach your dog when it's appropriate to bark – and also when it’s not.

How To Teach Your Dog:

Step One: See if you can encourage your dog to bark. This can be tricky at first. If you can’t encourage your furry friend to bark, make sure to keep your reward handy so that whenever they do, you can immediately reward them. They’ll start to associate barking with a treat.

Step Two: After they've barked, use a cue word like "quiet" to signal the end of the trick and reward them if they follow your command.

3. Shake Paws

Dog shaking paw

Teaching your dog to shake your hand is not only adorable – it’s also a wonderful way for your dog to greet your friends and other pet parents during walks.

How To Teach Your Dog:

Step One: Extend your hand toward your dog and wait patiently. They might sniff or lick your hand at first as they try and work out what, exactly, you want them to do.

Step Two: The moment they paw your hand, praise your dog and offer them a tasty treat.

Step Three: As you continue to teach them the trick, gradually increase the duration your dog's paw remains in your hand before rewarding them.

4. High Five

High five

Once your dog has mastered shaking paws, teaching them how to high-five you is a breeze. This adorable little trick is sure to impress your friends and family. It also makes a great photo opportunity! Not to mention, it’s a fun variation that will add flair to your dog's greetings.

How To Teach Your Dog:

Step One: Hold a treat in a closed fist and let your dog investigate your hand, much like when teaching them to shake your hand.

Step Two: When your dog paws at your hand, reward them and use the verbal cue "high five."

5. Spin

Dog mid-spin

Teaching your dog to spin around is super adorable. It’s not only a trick that will impress everyone you show it to, but it will also help improve your dog's body awareness and agility.

How To Teach Your Dog:

Step One: Make sure your dog is standing in front of you. Hold a treat at nose level and guide it towards your dog's shoulder, encouraging them to turn their head and body clockwise.

Step Two: Reward your dog once they complete a full turn.

6. Roll Over

Dog rolling over

After mastering the sit command, "roll over" is a fantastic next step.

How To Teach Your Dog:

Step One: Start with your dog in a down position, hold a treat by their nose, and slowly move it behind their shoulder, encouraging them to lie on their side and then continue rolling over.

Step Two: Reward them once they’ve completed the roll. This trick requires a bit of patience but is incredibly rewarding and entertaining to watch.

Tips to Make Training Your Dog Easier

Training your dog can be an enjoyable and fulfilling aspect of owning a pet, but it can also come with a lot of challenges. But don’t worry! Whether you’re training your dog for the first time or you’re looking for ways to make teaching them a bit easier, we’re here to help. Here are some essential tips that will make the process smoother and have your dog performing all types of tricks in no time.

1. Keep Training Sessions Short and Sweet

Dogs, and especially excitable puppies, have short attention spans. Keep your training sessions short to maintain your dog's focus and interest. We recommend teaching them for about 5 to 10 minutes at a time. Multiple short sessions throughout the day are likely to be so much more effective than one long session. If it becomes clear your dog isn’t in the mood to be taught a trick, leave them be and try again later.

2. Use Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool in dog training, and there are many different ways you can implement it. Reward desired behaviors with treats, praise, or playtime. Your dog will begin to associate the trick with something good and will want to repeat those behaviors. This method builds a positive association with obedience in general, too, and can make teaching your dog new tricks so much quicker.

Dog balancing treat on their nose

3. Be Consistent with Commands

Consistency is so important when teaching your dog new tricks. Make sure you’re using the same words and gestures for commands each time, as this will prevent any confusion and help your dog understand exactly what you want them to do. If your family members or friends want to try teaching your dog tricks, too, make sure they all use the same commands to avoid giving your furry friend mixed signals.

4. Train in Different Environments

Once your dog has mastered a trick in the quiet of your home, try to practice in different environments with varying levels of distractions, such as the park, your friend’s house, or even a busy street. This will teach your dog to follow commands outside your home, where there are plenty of interferences that might otherwise lead them astray.

5. Be Patient and Keep Training Positive

Patience is crucial when it comes to training your dog. Not all dogs learn at the same pace, and frustration can slow your progress down. Keep training sessions upbeat and end on a positive note, even if it means going back to a trick your dog already knows well.

6. Use the Right Rewards

Find out what motivates your dog the most, whether that’s food, toys, or verbal praise, and use it to your advantage in training. High-value treats (meaning those your dog finds absolutely irresistible) can be especially helpful when it comes to mastering challenging tricks or commands.

Teaching dog to stand

 7. Gradually Phase Out Treats

While treats are a great motivator, the goal is for your dog to obey commands without needing a treat every time. Start to gradually reduce the frequency of treats and replace them with verbal praise or petting. Keep the rewards unpredictable to maintain your dog’s interest and obedience.

8. Practice Regularly

Regular practice is essential for reinforcing learned behaviors. Integrating training into daily activities can help solidify commands and tricks. For example, ask your dog to sit before meals or to perform a trick before going on walks.

9. Only Teach One Command at a Time

Focus on teaching one command or trick at a time. Trying to teach multiple commands simultaneously will confuse your dog. Once they’ve mastered one command, you can move on to the next, and soon, you’ll have a whole range of tricks you can impress your friends and family with.

10. Celebrate Successes

Celebrate your dog's successes, no matter how big or small. If you recognize your dog’s achievements and praise them for it, this will boost their confidence and enjoyment in training.

Can any dog be taught tricks?

Yes! You can teach almost any dog tricks, regardless of age, breed, or size. The key to success lies in understanding your dog's learning style, motivations, and physical capabilities.

Some breeds may pick up certain tricks more quickly due to their natural abilities or breed characteristics. For example, herding breeds (such as Bearded Collies, Australian Shepards, and Beaucerons) might excel in tricks that involve movement and coordination, while scent hounds (such as Beagles, Basset Hounds, and Bloodhounds) may be better at tricks that need their keen sense of smell. You should tailor your training process to suit your dog. And remember, no matter what breed of dog you’re teaching, be patient!

Can I teach my older dog tricks?

That famous saying, "you can't teach an old dog new tricks," is a myth. Older dogs can learn tricks just as well as younger ones. In fact, teaching tricks can be especially beneficial for older dogs as it helps keep their mind sharp and provides valuable mental stimulation.

However, it's important to consider the physical limitations of an older dog and choose tricks that are suited for their age and health. Training sessions might need to be shorter and breaks more frequent, but with consistency and patience, older dogs can learn a variety of fun tricks.

Petting a happy dog

How long does it take to teach a dog a trick?

The time it takes to teach a dog a trick can vary widely depending on several factors, including the dog's age, temperament, learning ability, the complexity of the trick, and how consistently you train with them. Basic tricks like "sit" or "shake" can often be taught in a few days to a week of consistent training, while more complex tricks, such as "roll over" or "play dead," may take weeks, or even months, to master.

Consistency is crucial. Make sure to practice the trick in short, focused sessions several times a day, as this will give you the best results. Your approach and the reward system also play important roles in how fast your dog learns. Some dogs may respond quickly to treats and praise, while others may need more repetition and encouragement. Patience and positive reinforcement throughout the training process are essential.


Teaching your dog tricks is a wonderful way to strengthen your special bond, provide mental stimulation, and even impress those around you. Whether you're working with an energetic new puppy or an older dog, remember that patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement are your best tools for success.

It's never too late to teach your canine companion something new. Dogs of all ages and breeds can learn new tricks.

So, grab some treats, set aside some time each day, and remember to celebrate the small successes along the way. Your dog will be rolling over and high-fiving you in no time.