A Comprehensive Guide on Beginner Dog Tricks to Teach Your Dog

by Bethel Farms on Mar 07, 2023

Guide on Beginner Dog Tricks

Have you ever watched a dog show or seen an owner walk their dog off-leash? It can be inspiring to watch a well-coordinated human and dog duo, even enviable if your dog can't do those things. However, as all dog owners know, dog training requires a lot of time and effort.

With persistence and patience, you and your dog may be the next favored duo in the neighborhood. Training your dog is not only to instill obedience in your dog. It's also a good bonding activity.

Here are some dog tricks to teach your canine companion! Read on to discover some new tricks for your dog!

Dog Training Methods and Tips

Before we get started, knowing what motivates your dog is essential. This will allow you to communicate whether your dog is doing the right thing. Most dogs are food-driven, but if treats aren't for your pup, you can try toys and praise.

Clicker training can also help you mark your dog's behavior. After good behavior, click and follow up with a reward. 

Some dogs are hyperactive and may not be able to sit still for very long before you can mark the command. That's why it's essential to exercise your dog before training. If your dog has trouble picking up commands, take them for a walk to help them shake out that excess energy.

If you have a puppy, it's essential to start training within a week of bringing them home. Doing so allows you to eliminate bad habits and reinforce good behavior. Potty training your puppy early on will also help you minimize accidents around your home.


The "sit" command is the foundation of all basic training for dogs. It is one of the simplest dog tricks to teach but also an incredibly important one! This command can help you in various situations, like when you have guests over or if you're waiting to cross the road.

Start by holding your dog's preferred treat or toy over its head. Move your hand further up, and your dog should follow the reward with their nose. The movement should make your dog sit, but don't feel discouraged if you need to do it a few more times.

Once your dog's butt is firmly on the ground, mark and reward the behavior. You can then introduce a cue or hand signal.


Teaching a dog to "stay" is another valuable command in daily situations. This teaches your dog to wait in place until you prompt him to do otherwise or release him.

Start with any position. You can choose to have your dog sit down or stand up. Hold your hand in front of your dog like a stop sign and say, "stay."

It also helps to have a release word, like "free" or "okay." If your dog is successful, say your release word and reward them. If your dog does not move immediately after the release word, clap or coax them to follow so they know it's okay to move.

Do this trick in small increments, and don't always release your dog after telling them to stay. This will allow you to practice leaving your dog for short periods. You can add more distance, duration, and distractions to help your dog master this command.

Lay Down

After your dog has mastered "sit," you can teach them to "lay down." While your dog is sitting, hover a treat or toy in front of them. Move your hand towards your dog's chest, then to the floor.

Your dog should end up in a lying-down position. Mark and reward them, then practice this a few more times. You can also reinforce your dog's behavior by giving it treats while lying down.

Practice this regularly in and in different places, like at the park or home, before a meal.

Roll Over

Learning to lay down on command is a prerequisite to learning how to roll over. Once your dog has mastered "lay down," you can try teaching them to "roll over."

Have your dog lie down and place a treat or toy in your hand. Move your hand around your dog's head, so it follows the treat with its nose. If they stand up, start over from the beginning.

Some dogs will roll over without help, but you may need to help your dog roll. Praise and reward your dog and repeat this process.

Place/Go to Bed

"Place" or "go to bed" is a helpful trick if you want your dog to settle down. This command is similar to "stay," but it gives your dog a designated area to wait in.

Place your dog's bed or blanket a few feet away from you. Say "place" or "go to bed," and walk your dog to their sleeping area. Get your dog to lie down, then reward them. If your dog gets up without permission, start from the beginning.

Practice this several times and increase the difficulty. You can add distractions or increase the distance between you and your dog's bed.

Shake Hands

Shake hands is a popular dog trick that is fun and easy to teach your dog. Tell your dog to sit in front of you. Say "give paw" or "shake hands" and hold your dog's paw.

Give it a gentle shake, reward your dog, then put their paw down. Repeat this multiple times in between training sessions. After practicing this, try saying "shake hands" and see if your dog will give you its paw on its own.

If your dog gives you its paw, reward them. If they don't, practice this command again until they start to get it.

Leave It

"Leave it" is a crucial command for hyperactive dogs who love to explore things with their mouths. Often, you will catch your dog chewing on something they shouldn't be. That's where this command comes in!

"Leave it" teaches your dog impulse control and will have more use than items dropped on the floor. Dogs have the instinct to chase things, and that's the last thing you want when you're out on a walk.

Start by holding a treat in your hand, and let your dog sniff or lick to try and get it. Be firm and ensure that your dog can't snatch the treat from your hand. Wait until they give.

As soon as they show disinterest, mark them and reward them. Keep in mind not to use the same treat you were hiding in your hand. Practice this a few more times, then add a cue.

Once your dog has learned to ignore the treat in a closed fist, present it to them in an open palm. Tell your dog to "leave it" and close your hand until they turn away from the treat; Once they've mastered this, practice dropping a treat on the floor.

You can also practice this outside when your dog starts to walk towards a distraction like a squirrel or another dog. Another great way to practice this command is by playing tug-of-war. After wrestling with your dog for the toy, tell them to "leave it" and wait for them to drop it.

Don't forget to reinforce their good behavior with treats and plenty of praise!

Come Here

"Come here" is an essential recall command and can be life-saving in many situations. If you leave your gate open or walk your dog off-leash, this command can save them from something potentially dangerous.

Start by standing a few feet away from your dog with its favorite treat or toy. Get your dog's attention and tell them to "come here." Once your dog starts walking towards you, reward and praise them.

If your dog is stubborn, practice this command on a leash. Use the leash to guide your dog towards you before rewarding them.


Playtime is the perfect opportunity to bond with your dog and strengthen your relationship. But most dogs do not immediately know how to fetch. Retriever breeds, like labradors, may fetch an item naturally because it's in their blood.

However, after throwing a ball, most dogs may run off with it or bring it to a private corner. If your dog doesn't naturally fetch, take a tennis ball and cut a slit into it. Place some treats inside and ensure your dog can't shake them out.

Take a treat, show it to your dog, then give it to them. Throw the ball and run with your dog to retrieve it. Give your dog a treat and repeat the process until they can get the ball alone.

The next step is to teach your dog to bring the ball back. After your dog gets the ball, call them back to you. It helps to have your dog on a leash in case your dog tries to run away with the ball.

Turn Around/Spin

"Turn around" or "spin" is a fun party trick to teach your dog. "Turn around" is the same as "roll over," but standing up. Get your dog's attention and have them stand in front of you.

With a treat or toy in your hand, lead your dog's nose around into a full circle; Once your dog gets back into starting position, mark and reward them.

After practicing this a few times, tell them to "turn around," but don't lead them with a treat. You can increase the difficulty by telling your dog to "go left" or "go right." Start from the beginning, and lead them with a treat or toy in your desired direction.


Giving hugs is an adorable trick to teach your dog, especially if you have kids around. It's best to practice this trick while your dog is calm. If your dog is excitable, he may jump on you instead.

Kneel on the ground and tell your dog to sit in front of you. Present your dog with its favorite toy or treat and guide it toward your head. Your dog will follow the treat and place his paws on your shoulders.

Reward your dog if it calmly places its paws on you. If your dog jumps on you, start from the beginning.


"Heel" teaches your dog to stay next to you even while walking. This is an essential trick and can teach your dog not to pull on the leash whenever you go for a walk. Dogs that know how to heel are less likely to stray from their owners, promoting a safer and more enjoyable walk.

Clip your leash onto your dog and go to a distraction-free area. Tell your dog to "sit" and ensure its attention is on you. Hold a treat or toy in front of your dog and say "heel."

Step forward while doing this, and reward your dog when it follows behind. Mark or reward your dog with each successful stride.

Jump Through a Hoop

Teaching your dog to jump through a hoop is a little more advanced. It's crucial to move on to advanced tricks only when your dog has mastered basic obedience.

Start with a hula hoop that is big enough for your dog and some treats or toys. Place the hula hoop on the ground, and guide your dog from one side to the other with a treat. Some dogs may feel intimidated by a hula hoop, so be patient and try not to force your dog to walk through.

After a few successes, lift the hoop off the ground and repeat. Your dog will need to make a tiny hop to get through the ring and receive their reward. Increase the hoop's distance from the ground and reinforce the command with a cue like "jump" or "hoop."

Basic and New Dog Tricks to Teach Your Dog

Seeing your dog perform a trick is one of the most rewarding experiences as a dog owner. Are you the proud new owner of your first dog? Here are some of the best dog tricks to teach your dog!

One of the first things you should teach your dog is when and where to go potty. Gotta Go Grass can make this process a whole lot easier! Check out our indoor and outdoor grass trays.

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