Ask the Trainer: How to teach your dog new tricks

By Nadine Steele

For the past few weeks I have been covering ways to extend your training and bond with your dog with a few extra ideas on safe games to play.

I will provide a series of columns with my top picks for easy and fun tricks to teach your dog so you are able to enjoy what you may have admired friends or family members' dogs performing.

Take a bow

For this trick, start with your dog standing on all four feet. Hold a treat in your hand at your dog's nose level. Slowly move your hand toward the floor, which will encourage your dog to follow the lure, naturally bringing their weight down onto their front legs.

Keep the treat close to their chest so there is a leaning back into the shoulders to outstretch the front legs to the correct position.

As you are luring your dog, give them the "bow" command.

Once your dog has their front legs almost flat on the floor, has their head close to the ground and is still standing on their back legs, reward your dog.

Your dog may go straight into the down position. If this happens, repeat the steps slowly and catch the moment before their whole body is flat on the ground and give the reward.

Shake your paw

For this trick, start with your dog in the sit position. Hold a treat in your hand at your dog's nose level. Lift your treat in your hand to just above the top of the nose.

As your dog extends its neck to reach the treat, keep it just out of reach. Your dog will naturally lift its paw off the ground. When it does so, say "Shake" and put your hand under the lifted paw to cradle it. Reward your dog with the treat.

Repeat this a few times and then add a gentle shake in an up -and-down movement to the paw cradled in your palm. You will be able to encourage your dog to lift the paw higher by gently lifting it to the height that is comfortable for you and your dog.

Try not to grab the paw with your fingers, as this pressure will likely make your dog pull away from your hand.

Once the basic "shake" is mastered, you can begin to get your dog to lift its paw higher and move onto a "high five", touching the paw with your flat palm above shoulder height.

You will need to add the command "high five" so your dog learns the difference in how high you require them to lift their paw from the ground.

Paw point of the week

Rewards need to be given within two seconds of the correct position being achieved to ensure your dog successfully learns these new tricks.

Contact me for the chance to have your question selected for publication at for further information on Dog Guru visit

- Rotorua Daily Post

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