Don’t let April showers, a summer monsoon, or freezing rain damper the fun you and your fur friend can share! When the weather turns gloomy, one of the most entertaining and useful indoor activities is teaching your dog tricks.
Not only does training strengthen the bond between you and your best friend, it also helps improve your dog’s mental and physical health while increasing their confidence. Here are cool dog tricks that can keep boredom at bay—and you and your furry friend dry—when you’re stuck indoors. All you need to get started are some tasty dog training treats and a positive attitude!
Spin Dog Spin!
Teaching your fur friend to spin is a fun trick that prompts your dog to turn in a tight circle. To teach it, use a different cue for each direction. For example, the cue word “whirl” could signal turning in one direction while the cue word “dash” could signal turning in the opposite direction. Most dogs will turn in one direction more easily than the other, so train the easier direction first.
- Hold a dog treat above your dog’s shoulder on whichever side they favor. Begin to move the treat in a circular direction toward their hip on that same side.
- Your dog should follow the treat and spin. Most dogs will pick up on this behavior quickly and may even begin doing multiple spins.
- When your dog gets the hang of spinning, stop them so you can incorporate the cue word. Before directing them to spin again, add the cue word “whirl” to signal the spinning motion. Remember: the cue should come before your pup spins so they learn to associate the command with the action.
- Once your fur friend gets the hang of it, add spinning in the opposite direction. Follow the same steps, except lead your dog with the treat in the new direction. This time, add the second cue word “dash.”
- Alternate between the two directions to practice both. Repeat this until you no longer need the treat as a lure and your dog relies solely on your “whirl” and “dash” verbal cues.
This cool dog trick takes teaching your dog to spin to a higher level—literally! Dancing Doggo cues your dog to move in a tight circle, but this time on their hind legs. Go ahead: turn on your favorite song and encourage your best friend to bust a move.
Before you start, be sure your floor is dry and clear from clutter. Also keep in mind that this trick is easier to teach smaller dogs under 40 pounds because it is more natural for them to walk on their hind legs. If your dog is prone to back trouble, try another fun trick instead!
- Slowly lift your hand over your dog’s head so they begin to stand on their hind legs. When your dog stands on their hind legs, reward them with a treat.
- Repeat this a few times until your dog is standing up quickly and securely on their hind legs.
- Similar to teaching your dog to spin, move the treat above your pup’s head in a small circle while they are on their hind legs. This will prompt them to twirl.
- As your dog twirls, say “dance” and reward them with a treat. Continue to use the treat to encourage your dog to stand up and spin in a circle while using the “dance” cue as well.
- Repeat this until you no longer need the treat as a lure and your dog relies solely on your “dance” verbal cue.
Paw-Some High Fives
There’s nothing more rewarding than getting a “high paw!” This easy dog trick consists of capturing a natural motion (your dog pawing at you) and giving it the name “high five.” Just keep in mind to never grab your furry friend’s sensitive paws while doing this trick. Also ensure your dog is sitting; it will make it easier for them to lift their paws!
- Place a treat in your hand and make a tight fist while holding it at nose-level in front of your dog.
- Wait for your dog to grow impatient and paw at your hand (which resembles the action of a high five). When they paw at your hand, reward them with a treat out of your other hand to reinforce the behavior you are trying to train. Repeat this a few times.
- Once your dog gets the hang of pawing at your hand, introduce the “high five” command. Instead of using a closed fist, hold your flat hand up to your pup in the high five position.
- Wait for your dog to paw at your open palm. When your dog high fives your hand, say “high five” and reward them with a treat out of your other hand.
- Repeat this until your dog relies solely on your “high five” verbal cue.
Put Your Toys Away!
Teaching your dog to clean up their toys is a cute and useful trick! Similar to “fetch my tissue,” this will be an easy dog trick if your fur friend already knows how to play fetch.
- Find a basket. Gather all your dog toys and chews and arrange them in a pile.
- Point to a toy and say "take it" to prompt your dog to pick up the toy from the floor. Next, say "bring it" to encourage your dog to bring the toy to the basket. Finally, say "drop it" for your pup to release the toy into the basket. Reward your fur friend with praise and a treat.
- After your dog puts all their toys in the basket, give them a treat and say "put your toys away."
- Repeat this a few more times. Eventually, you should only need to say "put your toys away" for them to put all their toys in the basket. Give your dog a treat each time.
- To step up the challenge, put each toy farther away from the basket. Work with your dog to find all their toys and put them away into the basket when you give the command.
Once your furry friend masters these cool dog tricks, move on to teaching them more advanced dog training tricks! In addition to relationship building and the mental stimulation that come with trick training, all the rainy-day practice will give your smart pup the chance to show off their new skills when friends and family visit!