How to Teach 6 Easy Dog Tricks (with Visuals!)

Dogs are expert squirrel chasers, professional cuddlers…and talented performers! While dog tricks can provide your family and friends entertainment, they are more than just for show. In fact, teaching your fur pal tricks offers them mental stimulation while improving their confidence. It also strengthens the bond between you and your dog as you work together to accomplish a common goal. Not to mention, teaching—and learning—tricks is fun!

Below are step-by-step tips and accompanying visuals for teaching six easy dog tricks. Some of these skills build off one another and are useful in a variety of situations!

Trick #1: Teach Your Dog to “Sit”

training cavalier king charles spaniel to sit

As one of the most fundamental commands, “sit” is a starting point for many other tricks such as “lie down.” Plus, it comes in handy during scenarios where you want your furry friend to remain calm and collected.


Step 1: Hold a treat above your dog’s head to capture their attention. 

girl holding treat above dog

Choose soft dog treats that break in half—perfect for frequent rewarding during training! 


Step 2: Ensure your dog’s rear lowers when they see the treat. 

girl prompting dog to sit

If your pup isn’t lowering to the ground, slowly raise the treat above their nose. Their eyes and the rest of their body should follow along, eventually easing their way into the sitting position.


Step 3: Just as their rear touches the ground, say “sit.”

girl holding treat out and telling dog to sit

Verbalizing the command when your dog successfully performs the trick will help them relate the verbal cue to the desired action.


Step 4: Celebrate with praise and a treat! Repeat.

girl patting dog’s head while feeding treat

Whether it’s a treat or a belly rub, positive reinforcement helps dogs associate performing a trick with something they enjoy! Be sure to practice, practice, practice. 


Trick #2: Teach Your Dog to “Give Paw”

training puppy to give paw

Once your dog has mastered “sit,” this next trick is a fun, endearing skill that friends and family will especially appreciate trying with your pup. “Give paw” is not only a cute way for your dog “to meet” others; it will also help your furry friend feel more comfortable having their paws handled when it’s time to care for your dog’s nails.

Step 1: Give your dog the “sit” command.

woman telling dog to sit


Review the previous trick if your dog hasn’t conquered the “sit” command yet!


Step 2: Quickly capture your dog’s attention with a treat, then conceal it in your fist.

dog sitting while woman has treat in her fist 

Make a tight fist so your dog can’t obtain the treat. Simply knowing the treat is in your hand will keep your dog engaged! 


Step 3: Put your hand near your dog’s nose and encourage them to get the treat.

woman holding treat near sitting dog’s nose

If your dog uses their paw to reach for the treat, great! However, your furry friend’s initial reaction will likely be to use their mouth. Don’t respond to this! Instead, wait until your pup uses their paw.


Step 4: Wait for your dog to reach for the treat. Say “paw” when their paw touches your hand. 

woman saying paw command to dog

Teach your dog to use each paw by alternating your treat hand. Your dog should follow suit by performing the trick with their corresponding paw.


Step 5: Give your dog the treat and praise! Repeat.

woman high fiving dog with hearts between them

High paw! Give your dog the recognition they deserve before starting the process over.  


Trick #3: Teach Your Dog to “Spin”

A fur kid who can spin on command can sure put on a show! This easy trick to teach your dog further helps develop your best friend’s obedience skills while keeping them active and engaged.


Step 1: Hold a treat above your dog’s head to get their attention.

woman holding treat high above dog’s head

This step shouldn’t be hard!


Step 2: Move the treat in a circle above your dog’s head and wait for them to follow your hand.

woman prompting dog to spin with treat

As you stand still, ensure the circle you make with your hand is big enough that your pup can follow the treat’s path and spin. Imagine you’re stirring a large pot of stew!


Step 3: As your dog follows your hand, wait for them to walk in a complete circle. Guide your dog if they have difficulty following your hand motion.

woman holding treat above dog’s head

If your dog is having trouble completing this trick, try moving your hand in the opposite direction. Some furry friends have an easier time spinning in one direction versus the other.


Step 4: Say “spin” when your dog successfully completes the circle. Reward them with the treat and praise! Repeat.

woman petting dog and saying spin command

You know the drill: give a treat, show your dog some love, then carry on with training!  

Trick #4: Teach Your Dog to “Speak”

We wish dogs could talk, but this trick is the next-best thing. And ironically, it can help control excessive barking! Once your dog can bark on command, it’s easier to teach them to quiet down on cue.

Step 1: Find a treat, toy, or other item that will encourage your dog to bark with excitement.

woman holding treat in front of dog

Training treats or your pup’s favorite dog play toy are great ways to muster up some vocal excitement from your dog!


Step 2: Hold the item in front of your dog. Move it around to encourage your dog to bark. This may take at least 5 minutes.

woman moving treat in front of dog

Vocal dogs may pick up on this step quickly. However, if your dog doesn’t “speak” right away, you can try encouraging them to bark by barking yourself.


Step 3: Say “speak” immediately after your dog barks. Give them the item and praise! Repeat.

woman giving dog treat and saying speak command

You can also add a hand signal to the command. For example, with your fingers pointed toward your dog, close and open your hand several times as your dog speaks. Once your pup gets this down, you can use the verbal command, hand signal, or the two together to prompt the action. Then, take it from the top! 

Trick #5: Teach Your Dog to “Lie Down”

 training german shepherd to lie down

Like the “sit” command, the “lie down” command is an easy trick to teach your dog that will help relax your pup for longer periods! Once your best friend learns to “lie down,” they can enjoy some quality time with you outside the house, such as dining with you at a dog-friendly restaurant. 

Step 1: Give your dog the “sit” command. Once they sit, reveal and lower a treat to lure your dog into a down position.

girl telling dog to sit

Go to the top of the article and read about the “sit” command if your pup hasn’t mastered that one yet!


Step 2: When their attention is fixed on the treat, slowly draw it away so that they stretch out to retrieve the treat.

dog sitting while girl holds out treat

As your dog inches their front paws forward, encourage them with a “yes!” They should continue to extend themselves until they’re in the “lie down” position.


Step 3: Use the verbal “down” command once your dog has achieved a full down position.

girl saying down command to dog

The second your pup’s elbows touch the floor is a perfect time to voice the command!


Step 4: Give your dog praise and a treat. Repeat.

girl giving treat to dog lying down

You and your dog are doing great. Keep going for even more practice!  

Trick #6: Teach Your Dog to “Roll Over”

happy dog rolling over

Everybody knows how adorable it is when a dog rolls over. Not to mention, this impressive trick takes your pup’s talents to the next level. Once they get the hang of this one, they’re on their way to learning even more advanced commands! 

Step 1: Give your dog the “lie down” command or gently prompt them to lie down on their side.

man telling dog to lie down

Check out the previous trick if your dog doesn’t know the “lie down” command just yet.


Step 2: Capture your dog’s attention with a treat, then conceal it in your hand.

dog lying down looking up at man

Make sure your furry friend is aware of the treat but can’t get to it!


Step 3: Move the treat hand up and around your dog’s head, letting them follow the treat hand with their nose. Help your dog roll over if they have difficulty.

 man prompting dog to roll over with treat

If you need a helping paw, divide the “roll over” process into two parts. First, use the treat to lure your best friend to lie on their side. From there, keep moving the treat to guide your dog to completely roll over. 


Step 4: Say “roll over” as soon as your dog successfully rolls over. Then give them the treat and praise! Repeat.

man saying roll over command and petting dog

Bravo! Give your dog the praise they earned and start the steps over again!  

Trick Training Teamwork

man petting happy golden retriever

Once your dog aces these easy dog tricks, they’re not the only one who deserves praise—you need a pat on the back for all your hard work and dedication, too! After all, teamwork is what trick training is all about.

As you navigate the training process together, remember to be consistent with both your training schedule and the verbal commands you use! For example, if you usually use “sit” to prompt your dog to sit, then sporadically saying “down” can confuse your dog. Additionally, all members of the household should know which command words to use for a given trick. The more everyone is on the same page, the more enjoyable and effective training will be.

Want to keep the fun going? Learn about some entertaining indoor dog games and activities.