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New Tricks For The New Year

by Coach Lilly

Everyone knows the saying: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” It’s a saying that’s been around forever, but that doesn’t mean it’s true. Life is better, for people and for dogs, when you never stop learning. Teaching your dog new tricks, whether your dog is getting on in years or is an energetic young puppy, can be a great way to bond, spend time together, and keep your dog safe and smart. Tricks can include basic training as well as tricks that are just for fun, like “high five.” Learning to obey your commands can protect your dog in situations where you have less control. Knowing that your dog will listen to you and follow your commands will also give you peace of mind.

Before you move on to more showy tricks, you should work with your dog on basic training, moves like “sit”, “stay”, and come when you call. This is the kind of basic training that can even save your dog’s life. For example, if you are in a busy public place with a lot of distractions, you can tell your dog to sit. This will keep them stationary and focused on you until you give them the signal that they can go again. You don’t want your dog running off or getting lost in a crowd.

“Drop it” and “leave it” are two other important commands. Some dogs just can’t resist the temptation of getting into food that doesn’t belong to them, even if it could be harmful to them. Tell your dog to “drop it” so that he drops what is in his mouth.

“Heel” is another great basic trick to teach your dog. This command tells your dog to walk right beside you. You can use this command whether your dog is on or off a leash to make sure she stays by your side.

Once your dog has gotten some of the most basic commands down, you can teach your dog other fun tricks. There are a lot of great resources online that list dozens of ideas for tricks to teach your dog. Some even include video tutorials that show you the steps you should follow to help your dog learn the trick.

Some fun tricks include teaching your dog to give a high five or shake hands, fetch, roll over, stand, and speak (or bark). You can also teach your dog to give kisses on command. Affectionate dogs love to give kisses! Teaching your dog tricks may take a little bit of time and patience (on both of your parts), but can definitely bring you and your dog closer together. And when your dog deserves a reward, you can find the perfect gift for him or her on What are some tricks you have taught your dog?


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