By Shoshi Parks
Why not make some fun New Year’s resolutions for your dog in 2018? Teaching new tricks provides mental stimulation and in some cases, it’s a great way to work your pup’s muscles. Ring in a new year with your favorite furry friend and make it a goal to teach these three simple tricks!
Teaching your dog to blow bubbles in a bowl of water really just harnesses a natural response. When a dog’s nose goes underwater, it expels air to prevent the water from getting in. If you can “catch” and train this response, voilà, bubbles!
You’ll want a clicker to help shape your dog’s actions in this trick.
- Set a large empty bowl on the floor.
- Click and reward your dog with a treat every time he looks at or turns his body toward the bowl.
- Click and reward your dog for moving toward the bowl.
- Click and reward your dog for touching the bowl with their nose.
- Click and reward your dog for touching their nose to the inside bottom of the bowl.
- Add a little bit of water and continue to click and reward your dog for touching their nose to the bottom of the bowl.
- Continue to add water so that every time your dog touches the bowl they have to hold their breath briefly, blowing bubbles from their nose.
A super cute party trick that will impress any guest, the army crawl is another fun trick. It’s also a great way to work some underused muscles and improve your dog’s physical health.
- Cue your dog to lay down. Face them standing or kneeling.
- Hold a treat firmly between your fingers (so your dog can lick it but can’t snatch it away) in front of your dog’s nose. Slowly pull the treat along the floor back toward yourself.
- If your dog inches their body forward along the floor, even just a tiny bit, mark it with a “Yes!” or a clicker and reward them with the treat. Repeat several times. If your dog stands up instead of crawling on the floor, quickly remove your hand/the treat and start again at step 1.
- Back a foot or two farther away from your dog. Take the treat firmly between your fingers again and stretch your arm towards your dog, pulling it back toward yourself as they crawl toward you. Mark and reward your dog when they reach you.
- Continue to slowly increase your distance from your dog until they can crawl ten feet or more.
This isn’t your typical doggy kiss full of typical doggy drool—it’s a real, bona fide, human-style kiss on the cheek.
- Hold a treat at your cheek and say “Kiss!”
- Wait for your dog to touch their nose to your face in search of the treat. The moment you feel it, mark it with the word “Yes!” then quickly pull your face away and give your dog the treat. Repeat several times.
- Next, with no treat in your hand, touch your cheek and say “Kiss!” Mark, pull away and reward your dog when you feel their nose touch you.
Note: If you have a large or excitable dog, do not practice this trick with children or guests.
These tricks are intended for recreational purposes only, and are not meant to be used, nor should be used, in a harmful manner. Vita Bone® is a proud supporter of positive reinforcement training methods.