The Big Trick List

The Big Trick List

 Written by Melissa Viera


Happy New Year!

We have had a lot of fun with tricks in 2013 at MJ’s Pet Training Academy.  Whether you are just beginning your training journey or your dog is already at an advanced level of training, tricks are a game changer that make training fun and exciting. The possibilities are endless when it comes to trick training. There is always something new to teach. That’s why MJ’s is kicking off the new year with “The Big Trick List", but don't let the name fool you this is only a small number of trick possibilities. 

While making your New Year's Resolutions this year why not make it a goal to spend more time training your dog? Pick your favorite tricks from the list or create your own, set reasonable goals, and have fun training! Your dog will enjoy the time with you, and it’s a great activity to keep them occupied all winter long. 

Below are a list of tricks that I hope will inspire you, and give you ideas for what to teach next. The tricks below are not listed in any particular order. Some of the tricks are simple to teach while others are much more difficult. Trick training should be fun for you and your dog, so keep sessions short and exciting. When attempting new tricks always ask yourself if it is in the best interest of your dog. Never attempt tricks that could put your dog in danger or push your dog past their physical limitations. Remember trick training is for the well-being of your dog! Set your dog up for success by breaking up the tricks into simple steps. You can turn simple tricks into advanced routines later, but start off where you know your dog will be successful. 

There are lots of different ways to go about teaching tricks. Many of the pictures below are examples of tricks that were taught by free shaping, but the tricks below can also be taught using luring, targets, and capturing. 

Please note: Tricks go by many different names, so if you are working towards titles always check the descriptions of the tricks within the organization. 


Pick a trick and start training your dog today! 

Have Fun and Happy Training!


1. Spin

Your dog spins in a circle. You can teach this in both directions using a different cue for each direction.


2. Paws Up Or Step Up

Your dog puts both front paws onto a sturdy object. 



Paws Up Molly and Riley

Paws Up Molly and Riley

Paws up Willow

Paws up Willow

Paws up Mia the Rabbit (Rabbits can learn tricks too!)

Paws up Mia the Rabbit (Rabbits can learn tricks too!)

3.Back Up

Your dog moves backwards in a straight line. 


4.Get A Tissue

Your dog brings you a single tissue from a tissue box. Hint: a cool cue for this is teaching your dog to get the tissue when you "sneeze".


5. Turn on the Light

Your dog turns a push light on and off by pressing it with their paw. 


6. Go Circle

Your dog goes out and around an object than returns back to you. 

Go Circle Ronan 

Go Circle Ronan 

7. Leg Weave

Your dog performs a figure 8 weaving through your legs.


Leg Weave Riley

Leg Weave Riley

Walking Leg Weave Teddy

Walking Leg Weave Teddy

8. Walking Leg Weaves

While you are walking forward your dog performs leg weaves.


9. Backwards Leg Weaves

The backwards leg weave is where your dog moves through your legs backwards in a weave pattern. Hint: rear end awareness work, and teaching back up are good foundations before teaching backwards leg weaves. 


10. Jump Through Arms

With your arms in a circle your dog jumps through. The height of your arms depends on your dog. 


11. Hot Dog Retrieve 

This is no easy challenge for any dog who likes hot dogs. With this trick you throw a hot dog and your dog retrieves it bringing it back in one piece. 


12 .Back Around

Your dog performs a backwards circle around you.


13. Around

Your dog performs a circle around you.


14. Leg Jump

Your dog jumps over your leg while raised up.


15. Knee jump

Your dog jumps over your knee while you are kneeling with your knee bent to make a jump.


16. Take a Bow

Take a Bow Riley

Take a Bow Riley

You've probably already seen your dog bow while playing. This also makes a neat trick. Your dog performs a bow with their elbows on the floor and their hinds raised up. 



17. Hand Touch Target

Your dog touches their nose to your hand.


18. Hind Leg Lift

Your dog raises their hind leg. Quick Tip: Start by teaching your dog to target an object with their back paw and than take out the object later. 


19.Open The Refrigerator Door

First your dog learns to tug a rope on cue, than your dog learns to open doors by tugging a rope tied to a door. 


20. Fetch a Drink

One your dog knows how to open the door to the refrigerator you can teach him to fetch a drink. 


21. Close the Door

Your dog pushes a door closed with their nose. 


22. Skateboarding

Your dog pushes and rides a skateboard. 

Skateboarding Abby

Skateboarding Abby

Skateboarding Riley

Skateboarding Riley

23. Head Nod

Your dog moves their head up and down. You can use a subtle body cue to make it look like your dog is saying yes to any question you ask. 


24. Crawl

Your dog crawls forward while keeping their body low.


25. Paws up and Pivot

This is a great trick for working on rear end awareness. Your dog put's their paws onto a sturdy object and moves around in a circle using their hind legs.


26. Cover Your Nose or Shy Dog

Your dog lowers their head and covers their face with their paw.


27. Leave-it

This is more than just a trick, but also an important skill. Your dog leaves a piece of food or toy.

Leave-it Molly 

Leave-it Molly 

28. Balance A Treat

Building on the leave-it, your dog balances a treat on their nose.


29. Balance and Catch

Your dog balances a treat on their nose and than flips it up and catches it in their mouth on cue. 


30. Jump Through A Hoop

Your dog jumps through a hoop. 


Jump Through a Hoop Ronan

Jump Through a Hoop Ronan

31. Push a Ball into a goal.

Indoor ball herding is a fun activity for the urban dog. Your dog first learns to target and push a large exercise ball, and than learns to push the ball into a goal or where ever you direct them. 


32. Give Paw or Shake

It's the classic trick where your dog gives you their paw. You can teach both paws on a different cue.


33. Roll Over

Another classic trick that we all know where your dog rolls over in a complete circle. 


34. Cross Paws

A pretty trick where your dog crosses one paw over the other.


35. Left and Right

Teach your dog to target your left and right hand with the cues left and right to indicate which hand to target.


36. Paw to Shoe

Jeeder Paw to Shoe

Jeeder Paw to Shoe

You lift your leg slightly and your dog lifts their paw to meet with your foot.


37. Run Through A Tunnel

Your dog runs through an agility or play tunnel.

Run Through A Tunnel Max

Run Through A Tunnel Max

Run Through A Tunnel Molly

Run Through A Tunnel Molly

38. Speak

Your dog barks on cue.


39. Speak and Quiet

Your dog barks until you cue quiet.


40. Drinking Dog

This is a funny routine that actually consists of multiple tricks. Your dog lifts an empty cup holding it by the bottom and tilting their head back to look like they are drinking, than your dog spins in a circle, and finishes in a play dead position. 


41. Jump Over Back

Your dog jumps over your back while you are leaning forward. For small dogs you can kneel down and lean forward. 


42. Your Feet on Mine

Your dog comes through your legs and puts one paw on each of your feet.

Your Feet on Mine Riley

Your Feet on Mine Riley

43. Your feet on Mine While Walking

Building on "your feet on mine", your dog learns to balance and move with you while you both move forward. 


44. High Five

Similar to give paw your dog taps your hand with their paw which looks like a high five.


45. Push a Shopping Carriage.

This is a cute trick for smaller dogs. Using a toy carriage your dog puts both front paws on the carriage and moves it forward. Quick Note: to start off hold the carriage so it does not tip and scare your dog.


46. Marching

Your dog lifts one front paw at a time while standing.


47. Stack Cups or Bowls

This is an advanced trick that takes practice and patience to perfect. First your dog should be comfortable holding objects. With this trick your dog stacks either cups or bowls into each other one by one. The finished trick is amazing to watch. 



48. Basketball

Your dog puts a ball in a hoop.

Basketball Abby

Basketball Abby

Basketball Molly

Basketball Molly

49. Drop On Recall

While Coming to you when called your dog drops into a down when cued with either a verbal or hand signal.


50. Sit Pretty

Your dog sits up in pose with their hind on the floor and their front paws raised up. This can take some practice to hold the position. They have to build up the muscles and learn to balance. 

Sit Pretty Willow

Sit Pretty Willow

51. Heel Backwards

With your dog on your left side in heel position you both move backwards in a straight line. Your dog remains in heel position while moving backwards. 


52. Which Hand

Hide a treat in one hand and your dog  finds the hand that holds the treat with his nose.


53. Go Out To a Target

Your dog goes out to a target while you remain in place. 


54. Slippers Retrieve

Your dog brings you your slippers or shoes on cue.


55. Treat Refusal

This treat is from Mommy (dog eats treat).

This treat is from daddy (dog eats treat).

This treat is from (insert name here) (dog turns head away refusing to eat the treat).


56. Sit Pretty While Holding an Object with Paws.

Once your dog can sit pretty you can teach them to grip an object with their paws.


 57. Roll yourself in a Blanket or Go to Bed

Building on the roll over you can teach your dog to roll while holding the corner of a blanket so they roll themselves in the blanket. 


58. Pack Yourself in a Bag

Your dog jumps into a bag. You can build on this trick by teaching your dog to pull the cover over the bag for a crowd pleasing trick.


Pack Yourself in a bag Molly

Pack Yourself in a bag Molly

59. Scent Discrimination

Among a few unscented objects is one object that is has your scent on it. Your dog finds the object with your scent.


60. Sit, Down, Stand

Your dog performs sit, down and stand in any random order that you cue them while remaining in place and not creeping forward. 


61. Weave poles

Your dog weaves through poles or a line of objects. 


Weave poles Willow

Weave poles Willow

62. Look Behind

In a standing or sitting position your dog "looks" behind them on cue turning their head.


63. Scent Game

Your dog searches for and finds food or a a target odor hidden inside boxes or in the environment. 


64. Dancing Dog Twirl

Your dog spins in a circle on their hind legs.


65. Sleepy Dog

Your dog rests their chin on the floor or on an object.

Sleep Dog Molly

Sleep Dog Molly

66. Unroll a Carpet

Your dog pushes a carpet with their nose to unroll it.


67. Put Away Toys

Your dog puts toys away in a basket.


68. Go to Your Mat

Your dog runs to their mat or bed.


69. Get the Mail

Your dog retrieves mail out of the mail box. You can also get a prop mailbox to practice this trick. 


70. Step Up Backwards

Your dog backs onto a step.


Go to Your Mat Ronan, Molly, Riley 

Go to Your Mat Ronan, Molly, Riley 

Go to Your Mat Abby, Teddy, Leeta, Jeeder 

Go to Your Mat Abby, Teddy, Leeta, Jeeder 

We Are Growing

Why Not Try Trick Training?

Why Not Try Trick Training?