The same strategies you used to housebreak, potty, and crate train your dog also work to teach them tricks. It’s all about positive reinforcement with consistent, obvious rewards when your puppy makes progress. It may take dozens of times practicing for your pup to make progress. Always be patient. For any progress they make, always reward them. Any missteps can be pointed out with a calm but stern voice. First, we’ll start with the fundamental tricks:
After teaching your puppy to sit and stay, teaching them to lie down is relatively simple. From a sitting position. Bring your treat hand from in front of their nose down to the ground in front of them. They should readily follow this hand until their body is lying on the ground. If this by itself doesn’t work, then gently press down on your puppy’s shoulders while giving the command. You can also try to carefully push his/her front legs forward. Reward them for any progress, and repeat until they obey from the sit position without further coaxing.
With your dog in the sitting position, say ‘beg’, and raise a treat gradually above their nose and back. You pup should follow the treat and lift their front paws off of the ground and be ‘sitting’ on their back legs. It may help to do this against a wall at first so your dog can use the wall as support.
With your pup lying down, place your hand with a treat right up next to their body under their head. While saying ‘Roll Over’, slowly move the treat up over their head to the other side of their body. As you may know, some dogs naturally shake a hind leg when itched in a certain area on their lower belly. You can encourage your puppy to roll by tickling this area.
Bang (or Play Dead):
This trick is an extension of ‘Roll Over’, and is best taught after they have mastered it. When your puppy is lying down, make a gun shape with your hand and say ‘Bang’, then, holding a treat, move your other hand over their body like in ‘Roll Over’, but stop when the treat is directly above their body. Hopefully, they will stop moving and be on their backs like they are playing dead. Eventually, you should be able to do this without showing them a treat, and with your dog starting from a sitting or even a standing position.
This is a great trick for when you’re introducing your dog to someone new. Get your dog in the ‘Sit’ position and say ‘Shake’. At first, you can use your other hand to gently grab their paw and place it in your hand after saying ‘Shake’, and then give them a treat or praise. After doing this a few times, say the command, and then wait a few moments to see what they do. If they still don’t understand, gently guide their paw to your hand once again. Continue doing this, patiently waiting for them to place their paw in your hand and then showing them what to do if they don’t, then rewarding them for their progress. Eventually they will realize what they need to do to get their reward.
This is a relatively advanced trick. The goal is to get your dog to a specific place or object when you request it. Your dog should know the ‘sit’ command as well. Start with a specific ‘Go To’ command. For example, ‘Go to your pen’. When you say this, briskly walk to the pen with a treat in hand and leave it there. You can come up with a command for any specific location. For more general locations, you can throw the treat to the location for faster training. For example, to teach your puppy to go inside or outside, Stand near your door, and randomly alternate between saying ‘Go Outside’ and ‘Go Inside’, and throw a treat to the said location. Eventually, your dog will understand where to go without any reward.