Top 17 Simple Tricks Any Dog Can Learn

Teaching your dog tricks and commands can be beneficial for numerous reasons. Basic commands are essential for ensuring you have control over your canine companion both at home and when you’re out and about. Other tricks are great for helping keep your pup mentally stimulated and entertaining guests. If this sounds good to you, keep reading to discover the top 17 simple tricks any dog can learn.  


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“Sit” is one of the most simple and important commands any dog can learn. It can be used to help manage a dog’s behavior in a variety of situations and forms the foundation for many other tricks and commands. If you’re just getting started in training your dog, this is a great command to begin with.


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Another essential command to teach your dog is “stay.” Typically, this builds on the “sit” command by teaching the dog to remain seated until you say they can go. While this may seem like a simple trick, it can actually be life-saving in dangerous situations. Over time, you can increase the distance and duration to enhance the command.


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Good recall is crucial when letting your dog off its leash in public areas. As noted by the American Kennel Club, reliable recall is also important in emergency situations. At an early age, you should begin calling them by their name or saying “come” in a higher-pitched, enthusiastic tone to encourage them to return to you. When they do, you can reward them with treats, pets, and toys.


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It’s easiest to teach a dog the “down” command once you’ve already taught them “sit.” Once they’re sitting, you can hold a treat in front of their nose and slowly bring it down to the floor to encourage them to lie down. Once they’re in the correct position, say “lie down” or “down” and reward them with the treat.

Shake Hands

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While “shake hands” isn’t necessarily the most useful trick, it’s certainly fun and easy to teach. It can also be good for encouraging your dog to be gentle with humans and help them get used to having their feet touched. One effective way of teaching this trick is to hold a treat in your hand and wait for your dog to paw at it. Then say “shake” or “shake hands” and reward them with the treat.

Roll Over

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“Roll over” is a slightly more advanced trick but is actually quite easy to teach once you’ve mastered “down.” After they’re in the “down” position, you can hold a treat by their nose and slowly move it to one side to encourage them to move their body with the treat. Once they begin moving, praise them and give them the treat. Do this several times before progressing into moving the treat further.


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“Fetch” is both a useful and fun command that combines obedience training with exercise and play. It’s great for encouraging your pup to return objects to you and helps to build a stronger bond. You can also challenge them to fetch over longer and longer distances over time.


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“Speak” is a fun command that many kids love. It’s also fairly easy to teach, as you can simply say “speak” when they naturally bark and then reward them with a treat. However, it’s important to teach a “quiet” command at the same time to ensure you don’t encourage unwanted barking.


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So how exactly do you teach your dog to quit yapping? Well, it’s easier than you might think. All you need to do is say “quiet” and reward them when they stop barking. This will help you to prevent excessive barking and avoid giving your neighbors a headache.


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“Spin” doesn’t have many practical uses, but it can be fun and impressive and help your dog become more agile. According to Battersea, all you need to do is guide your dog with a treat so that it follows a circular motion. Once it does, simply say “spin” and reward them with the treat and verbal praise.

High Five

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“High five” is very similar to “shake hands” but involves holding your hand vertically and waiting for your dog to touch it with their paw. You can start training the same way you do for “shake hands” and switch to using a vertical hand once they’re well-acquainted with tapping your closed fist.  

Play Dead

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“Play dead” is a theatrical command that is loved by kids and adults alike. According to The Spruce Pets, the best way to teach this command is to start with the “down” position and then guide them to roll onto their side with a treat in your hand.

Army Crawl

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The “army crawl” is another entertaining trick that involves getting your dog to crawl along the ground on their stomach. While it may appear advanced and intimidating at first, it’s easier than it looks. All you need to do is get them into the “down” position, hold a treat in front of their nose, and slowly move it away from them to encourage them to crawl.


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Not all humans love dog kisses, but you may find this variation more pleasant. The “kiss” command can teach a dog to gently touch their nose against your hand or cheek. All you need to do is hold a treat near your skin and reward them with the “kiss” signal when they make gentle contact.

Back Up

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The “back up” command can be very useful in small spaces and can help teach your dog how to maintain boundaries and personal space. The American Kennel Club recommends holding a treat in one hand and holding the other out vertically. As you do this, take one step toward them and say, “Back up.” When they do, reward them by giving them the treat.

Take a Bow

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Another theatrical command loved by many dog owners is “Take a bow.” If you’ve heard of a dog’s natural “play bow,” this is exactly what this trick looks like. You can either reward them and say “take a bow” when they do this naturally or help guide them into position using a treat.

Find It

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“Find it” is a useful command that encourages your dog to find treats or toys that they have overlooked or left behind. It can also be a great way to help keep them mentally stimulated and engaged. You can start by simply hiding a treat in a fairly accessible location and move on to make it more difficult in the future.

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