Tricks & Training

The Best Dog Tricks We Taught Our Dogs

In addition to your basic dog commands (like sit, lie down, come, and stay) and the standard pet tricks every dog knows (like fetch, heel, and roll over), we’ve managed to teach our dogs many more advanced dog tricks as well (examples here).


The basic commands are among the most important things that every dog should know. How many does your dog know?

It’s also important that you understand what the words Yes and No mean to your dog.

Once you and your dog have those basic things down, then it’s time to move onto the fun dog tricks


Following are some of the more advanced dog tricks that we taught our dogs.

Many of them appear on this list of 101 dog tricks to teach your dog!

(Clicking on the following links will take you to step-by-step instructions for each dog trick, along with photos taken during the training process.)

Best Dog Tricks That Destin Does:

  • He can “pray” religiously (and he doesn’t get up from the “pray” position until we say “Amen”).
  • When he was a puppy, we taught Destin to “tell me” whenever he wanted something. Our hope was that he would bark to tell us when he had to go outside. It worked!
  • His #1 goal in life is to be helpful, so he doesn’t shy away from household chores. His favorites: “taking out the trash” and “getting the mail”.
    • When it’s time to “take out the trash (signaled by the fact that we’re changing the trash bag liner in the kitchen garbage pail), he knows that he gets to carry one item to the big garbage pail we keep in the garage. Then, sits waiting for me to put his leash on so he can simply walk the trash can to the curb with me and return immediately without dilly-dallying. (He hasn’t been taught to put things in the trash can yet.)
    • When it’s time to “get the mail“, he makes a mad dash for the mailbox at the curb… then he sits and waits patiently for Jim to hand him a piece of mail… then proudly trots back into the house to give me the day’s mail.
  • He can “shake” to knock the water off his fur before getting out of the bathtub or coming in the house when it’s raining, or after playing outside in the water hose. Since he’s such a water dog, this one really comes in handy!
  • In puppy training class, we taught Destin the meaning of “touch” (to tap our open palm lightly with his nose). This is supposed to be useful in teaching him to use his nose to nudge open a door on his own, to turn on a light, to signal us in an emergency, etc. Whether we’ll ever need such a command has yet to be determined, but he’s definitely got “touch” down!
  • He gives you his “toes” on command. This is actually the same as “high five”, “shake hands” or “give me your paw”. It’s a dog trick that comes in handy when wiping wet/muddy paws and trimming toenails.
  • He’s not a chewer, but whenever we’re not home, he’s bound & determined to let you know when you’ve left something within his reach! Whether it’s a candy wrapper, a piece of notebook paper, or a kleenex (his favorite)… he’ll drag it to the hallway so it’s the first thing we see when we arrive back home. Sometimes, this is useful… like when he brings us the remote control!
  • Whatever is in his mouth (a toy, a piece of food, or something he shouldn’t have in his mouth), Destin will “drop it” on command (…without too much drool, and no chew marks).
  • Always eager to please, Destin learned to patiently sit still with a treat on the tip of his nose as a young pup.

See the steps we used to teach our dogs most of these tricks.


Best Dog Tricks That Jersey Does:

Jersey - a pure-breed, male American Eskimo.

  • He’s been praying for years. (Of course, he became a Christian long before Destin did.)
  • He can oh-so-delicately crack peanut shells open just to get to the peanut inside.
  • Whenever we can’t find the remote to the TV, just say “where’s the TV?” to Jersey and he’ll search high and low for the remote control and ultimately bring it to you gripped softly in this mouth. Jersey taught Destin everything he knows about finding the remote control and bringing it to us on command.
  • He wouldn’t think of chewing on anything… not even a sock left lying on the floor. In fact, if he ever finds something lying around that he knows isn’t normally there, he’ll pick it up softly in his mouth and bring it right to you — as if to inform you that you’ve left this behind. (In fact, we’ve been quite lucky… None of our dogs has ever been inclined to chew on things left lying around.)
  • Oh, and talk about a clown with 4 paws! Jersey has always been adept at balancing a treat on his nose and then catching it on command.
  • And while we didn’t really teach Jersey how to do this, he just so happened to pick up on a fairly cute trick: baring his teeth.

How smart is your dog? Try these Dog IQ Tests with your dog. They’re quick, easy & fun!


Best Dog Tricks That Tenor Does:


  • One of the best things that Tenor grasped earlier, and far better than the other 2 dogs is not pulling on the leash when we’re walking.
  • None of our dogs have ever been chewers (thank goodness!), but Tenor was the one that showed some early tendencies toward chewing. All it took was a couple of “NO!” sessions with him surrounded by some of our favorite things: shoes, socks, hair combs, kleenex, etc.
  • Tenor has probably been our easiest dog to teach fun new tricks to (and in the least amount of training sessions). One of the sweetest is his ability to sing on cue. Can your dog sing?
  • But wait, there’s more… He can spell words, too!
  • Tenor’s newest trick, and his all-time favorite is to “be shy” on command. It’s like he’s playing peek-a-boo.
  • Since he’s such a lover who likes to cuddle, he will kiss on command and give hugs on command several times a day.

Here’s how to teach your dog hand signals — so a simple hand sign from you will result in an immediate behavior from your dog.


Dog Tricks We Wish We Had Taught Our Dogs

  • Destin: To lick his lips to clean up his drool after a lengthy slurp from the water bowl. His flappy lips resemble those of a Saint Bernard… and they hold a lot of water! (UPDATE: We eventually taught our youngest dog, Tenor to lick his lips on command to prevent drool from being spewed all over the house!)
  • Jersey: To tone down that yippy bark. It’s higher-pitched then most dogs’ bark. It can be rather annoying at times. (UPDATE: We found the right combination of tips and taught Tenor to stop barking at strangers.)
  • Destin and Jersey: To only get on the bed when we want you on the bed. They’ve done great to remain off all the other furniture in the house, but not our bed. And despite its King size, there’s just not enough room! (UPDATE: We finally achieved this! Now our dogs rest their chins on the mattress and wait until we say “okay” before they jump up on the bed.)
  • Destin: To quit playing with the toilet paper.  He’s left a paper trail in the bathroom many times. (UPDATE: We found a simple solution to stop dogs from unrolling the toilet paper.)
  • Destin, Jersey and Tenor: To pick up things on the floor, on command. To date, we’ve only done this with a couple of specific items. I would like to reproduce this trick to apply to many more items. (UPDATE: It took a lot of time and patience, be we finally taught Tenor to pick up just about anything we point to, on command.)