Teaching your dog tricks is a fun part of dog ownership. When teaching a 1-year-old dog tricks, consider your dog's health, activity level and prior training. Here are some tips and a couple tricks to get started.
Before You Start
Before teaching your dog any tricks, make sure your dog is in good health. Many tricks require body positions and movements that are not completely natural. Never ask your dog to do something that appears to hurt or make it uncomfortable. Trick training should be fun. Also, because many 1-year-old dogs are growing still, don't ask your dog to do any tricks that require excessive jumping, twisting or pulling. Save these tricks until your dog is a bit older and finished growing.
To teach "shake" ask your dog to sit and hold a treat in your hand near the ground. When your dog paws at your hand say "yes!" and give him the treat. When he is consistently pawing at your hand, begin to raise your hand slightly each repetition, saying "yes!" and giving him the treat each time he performs. Once your hand is the same height as his shoulder, stand straight, offer your open hand, and say "shake!" When he paws at your hand, say "yes!" and drop a handful of treats. Continue practicing, only giving treats for quick, correct responses.
Hold your open hand near your dog. When he sniffs your hand say "yes!" and give a treat from the other hand. Repeat until he consistently is approaching your hand when presented. Next, say "touch!" and present your open hand. When he touches his nose to your hand, say "yes!" and give a treat from the other hand. Practice until your dog is touching his nose reliably to your hand on cue. Now have a friend hold out his hand and repeat the steps above. Touching his nose to someone else's hand is called "say hi!" and is a fun way to introduce someone new to your dog.
The number of tricks you can teach your 1-year-old dog is only limited by your imagination and your dog's health. There are countless books available or you can join a class taught by a certified trick dog instructor. To learn more, visit DoMoreWithYourDog.com.
Shelly Volsche has worked as a professional dog behavior consultant, holds a Bachelor's degree in psychology, and a diploma in canine nutrition. She has written for "The Chronicle of the Dog" and Lucky Dog Magazine and is currently pursuing her PhD in anthropology with a focus on pet parents.