Every year, the Association of Professional Dog Trainers proclaims that January is National Train Your Dog Month. Designed to encourage people to “celebrate the joy of training and enjoying a healthy relationship with [their] companion,” this month is all about training our four-legged best friends.

If you are looking for tips and tricks on dog training in Columbus, Ohio, you’ve come to the right place! At Hands N Paws, we’re known to be “reinforcers” with the dogs we care for. We always offer to help our clients reinforce training commands with their dogs because we know it’s important to them.

Let’s look at five skills your dog can learn right away, so you both can truly celebrate the meaning of this month!

1. Sit

“Sit” is the absolute easiest trick you can teach your dog. It works as you would expect. When you say sit, your dog should sit on their hind legs.

To show your dog this trick, you should first have some treats in hand. Then, let your dog come over to you. Start saying “sit,” and wait for your dog to sit naturally. When they sit, reward them with a treat. Lastly, move away so that your dog gets back up on all fours.

Repeat the command and continue to reward with a treat when your dog sits; and after enough repetition, you’ll be able to say the word “sit” just once or twice, and your dog will sit!

2. Paw

The second easiest trick you can teach your dog is “paw.”

The skill is pretty straightforward: you say the word “paw,” and your dog reaches its paw up and places it in your hand.

To teach this skill, hold a treat in your hand. Place your hand near the dog’s nose and say, “paw.” Your four-legged companion will start reaching out naturally. You may try grabbing their paw when it’s initially off the ground to fully show them the trained response. Once their paw is in your hand, give them a treat.

With enough repetition, they’ll start putting their paw in your hand right away when you say the magic command word.

3. Fetch

Fetch is a game that comes naturally to some dogs, while others are a little more stubborn. Some pups just aren’t as excited at the thought of running after a ball! If this is true of your dog, then you might need to work on teaching them to play fetch…

First, get your dog interested in the item you want them to fetch and bring back. To do this, place the item on the ground and gradually draw attention to it by holding a treat close to it. Reward them with the treat when they look at the item, play with it, etc.

After they become interested in it, pick up the object and get them to bite it. Again, use the same reward mechanism when successful.Once they have it in their mouth, put the toy in front of you, take a step back, and have the dog bring it to you by telling them “treat.”

Keep increasing the distance between you and your dog and what do you know, your dog is successfully playing fetch!

4. Roll Over

The “rolling over” trick is a fun one that is a favorite of dog parents all over the world. Teaching this trick isn’t particularly hard.

First, you make your dog follow the treat in your hand.When they are lying on their stomachs, you can move the treat in front of their nose in a direction that coaxes them to rest on their side.Once they’re on their side, give them the treat.

Then, you take another treat and move it from their shoulder to their backbone. This will cause your dog to perform a “roll-over motion.” Keep moving the treat until they roll entirely over. And all the while, be sure to keep using the verbal cue, “roll over!”

5. Play Dead

Playing dead is a simple and popular trick that you can teach your dog.

In essence, you have your dog lay on its side once it hears some verbal cue (usually, it’s the phrase “play dead,” or you making a “bang-bang” noise).

Teaching your dog to play dead is like showing them to roll over; except with this trick, you have them stop on their side.You use a treat as a reward and keep nudging your dog to go on its side. All the while, make sure to keep saying your verbal cue.

As you decrease the treat-giving and continue saying the verbal cue, your key phrase will soon be enough to make your dog easily play dead.

Develop A Bond With Your Dog in Training Them

At the root of it, training is about developing a bond between you and your dog. Across all commands you teach your dog, you must remember to enforce good leadership. As Cesar Millan says, “When a dog is fearful, he doesn’t need your sympathy; he needs your leadership.”

And there you have it! Now you can go celebrate National Train Your Dog Month by teaching your dog one or all five of these new tricks!

When you do, you’ll not only have a lot of fun yourself, but you’ll also keep your beloved pup stimulated, happy, and loving life!

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