Get the new year off to a positive start with you and your four-legged best friends by teaching them some new (or old) tricks. Taking the time to teach your dog tricks is a great way to have fun, build a strong bond, stimulate their mind and also tire them out. What’s more, engaging in tricks with your dog is a great step to take in helping them to become more obedient.

Start off simple, work your way up to more complex skills and be persistent. There’s certainly no such thing as you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Here are five fun tricks to work on with your dog in 2021.

#1. Find & Seek

Dogs love to explore, follow their scent and find things to bring back to their owners in search of reward; just as we enjoy being praised dogs love it too. This is a great game that can be played easily inside of the house with little physical input.

This straightforward trick starts off with trial and error until your dog brings back just what you were after – and when they do, make sure you give them a great amount of praise so that they understand they’ve completed the task.

Give the words ‘find it’ a meaning and this is where the fun begins. ‘Find it’ could be attributed to the dog’s favourite ball or toy, their lead before going for a walk or even a pair of slippers when you have no idea where they’ve gone.

#2. Waiting for food

Possibly the ultimate sign of obedience, asking your dog to wait and not move before allowing them to eat their food. This doesn’t have to be with every meal and evenings can be more effective when your dog is more alert.

When you rustle up their favourite meal, place it on the floor and ask them to “stay”. Maintain the stay for varying amounts of time and if they fail to obey the command, try again. This is a useful one that can be easily incorporated to mealtimes.

#3. Paw or high five

A classic trick that is tried and tested. The paw or high five command is simple, effective and a great way to progress on to bigger tricks.

This trick is a nice way to reward your dog after a successful walk or a day where they have been well behaved. Start off with a treat in one hand and signal their paw with the other. Once they have mastered that holding out a hand for their paw means a high five, treat them.

#4. “On your bed”

This command can be a great way for your dog to take ownership of their own space and provides them with a place to chill out. It’s important that your dog has an area that they can go to where they won’t be disturbed. Naturally at times they will take themselves there but when you want or need them to do it themselves you can incorporate “on your bed”.

This is a verbal and visual trick using the words “on your bed” and pointing to the desired location. If they need a little encouragement, small treats always work well to get them in the flow of following the directions.

#5. The roundabout

The aim of this trick is for your dog to successfully circle you. Start off with a treat in one hand and your dog by your side. Encourage them to follow the treat in the direction around you until they are back to where they started. Once here, you can reward them with the treat they so rightfully deserve. Begin to wean off the treats and just use your arm action as the signal to perform a circle.

Train your dog with Gencon

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