Tag Archives: puppy training

5 Impressive Tricks to Teach Your Dog

When tackling the art of training a puppy, the average dog owner will likely first focus on house training, followed by simple commands such as Sit, Stay, Come and Heel. However, once your pup has mastered the basics, depending on how ambitious you are (and how willing she is), it may be time to teach her some “party tricks” that will really impress friends, family and of course, the other pooches. To get an idea for the training opportunities at your disposal, we’ve outlined a few dog-friendly talents and how to achieve success. Train away (and make sure to capture these on video)!

The Army Crawl
Training your pup for the armed forces may seem like an impossible feat, but you might be surprised to learn that mastering the army crawl is completely doable. Not only an impressive trick, but also a good exercise to improve joint flexibility, have your dog lie down and drag a treat in front of her nose across the ground, which should spur the desire to scoot on her belly. Once she shows progress, add a command of choice such as “Crawl!” along with the gesture and treat. She’ll soon associate the behavior with the reward and perform upon request.

The Salute
Another military-themed trick, the salute, is quite easy for a dog to pick up if coached properly. Simply post a sticky note above your pup’s brow, which will cause a natural reflex to paw it off. Each you’re your pup reaches above his eye to remove the sticky, say “Salute” and hand him a treat to praise the behavior. After enough repetition, your dog will associate only the verbal command with the action and you can remove the note.

The Baller
Teaching your pup to “shoot hoops” on the court is not only great exercise for him, but for you too! Start slowly by using a lightweight ball, throwing it around, dribbling and allowing your pup to chase and play with the ball. Whenever he interacts with the ball, praise and reward him with a treat. Once he’s relaxed and playing happily and consistently, put the ball on his nose, reward and give treat and then bounce the ball off his nose, followed by rewarding with a treat. Repeat these steps and he’ll quickly start to understand that playing ball not only means treats, but also lots of fun!

The Dance
Take care with teaching your pup to dance, especially if they’re a larger breed, overweight, prone to conditions like hip dysplasia, or on the older side. A most effective and easy-to-learn skill for smaller dogs, dancing is a really fun trick to teach. Simply have your dog sit and then dangle a treat above her head (you may even need to move the treat a bit behind the head). Once your dog is standing up on her hind legs, move the treat in a circle above her head until she spins. Accompany this with the command “Dance!” and provide a treat. Once she gets the hang of it, she’ll do it without a treat upon command.

The Kiss
tricks-thumbnailCan’t get enough of those puppy kisses? Teach your pup to kiss on command for that perfect smooch. Take a little peanut butter or cream cheese and dab it on your cheek (or lips, no judgement). Then give the cue “Kiss,” lean in towards your dog and let him finish the job. Remember, practice makes perfect and with enough repetition, be prepared to get lots of unsolicited slobbery, wet kisses!

What to Expect at 12-16 Weeks of Age

At 12-16 weeks of age, your puppy will be growing rapidly, both physically and mentally. Puppy’s senses and motor skills are becoming more advanced, which means you’ll notice his curiosity peaking, a more acute awareness of his surroundings and less awkward movements as he continues to discover his new environment and practices walking and running. A major development is something called “flight ingraining,” which means that instead of following you around everywhere, puppy is now starting to test limits by exploring boundaries. Puppy is excited by his newfound independence and you may notice him always headed in the opposite direction of you. Don’t let it become a habit; consider this the time to reel him in with both leash and obedience training!


Congratulations on the progress you’ve already made in potty training. It should be getting easier as your puppy gains better bladder control, though you should still expect random (and sometimes, frequent) accidents to occur. Remember, patience and consistency is key to house training success. You may also want to enroll your puppy in a group training class to start socialization training if you haven’t already. Between 0-16 weeks is by far and away the most crucial learning period in your pup’s life. Consider him a sponge for soaking up your teachings. While there will be other opportunities to refine and change behavior, this is the time period when training is the most successful.


6-12-thumbnailYour puppy should have already received his first vaccinations, but should be getting boosters at 12 and 16 weeks. Make sure you’re up to date on your immunization schedule by checking with your vet. For example, Parvo is typically given at 16 weeks. Vaccines are required for most pet service providers such as groomers and daycares as well as dog parks, so it’s imperative you’re current on those shots before putting your dog or another’s dog in a potentially dangerous health situation.

Make sure that your home is not only puppy-proofed, but that you keep small, chokable/swallowable items away from your pup.


Your puppy should be eating high quality, solid food now that he’s

been weaned from his mama. Check with your veterinarian on the right feeding plan (on both amount per serving and frequency), but dependent on the breed, your puppy will likely require a few smaller meals throughout the day than adult dogs. As he grows, his “puppy teeth” will begin to fall out and be replaced by “permanent” or adult teeth. Just like a human baby, puppy will want to teethe, so make sure to give him plenty of chew toys to soothe his sore gums (and to prevent unwanted chewing on valuables!).


At this age, you’ll want to introduce your puppy to all kinds of new experiences to make sure he starts to get comfortable around not only other dogs but also various kinds of people – men, women, kids, senior citizens and strangers. At around 16 weeks is often when your puppy enters a fear stage. You’ll want to create positive associations with new things that may be frightening to your puppy such as loud noises or other animals to foster a healthy, safe transition and assimilation to his new world.