Want To Teach Your Dog A New Trick? Build On Something He Already Does!

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In my experience, the fastest and easiest way to teach a dog a new trick is to build on some action that they already do well on their own. Then, just assign a name to it!

As one example, one of our dogs would frequently rest his chin on the floor with his paws flat out in front of him… so we called this the “pray” position.

Here’s how we put that behavior to work and taught him a new trick…


Day One: Give The Behavior A Name

After we noticed our dog doing this same behavior on his own sometimes, we started to nonchalantly say, “Good pray!” “Did you pray?”

Then, a few days later, we would say “Pray… Can you pray?”

Clueless, he would eventually rest his chin on the floor and we’d jump & shout and holler to the hills “Good pray!!!”

He would immediately receive a treat at the same time.

A few seconds later, we did it again. “Pray… Can you pray?”

Still clueless…

Eventually he would rest his chin on the floor (as if he were bored). And we would scream, “Good pray!!!” followed by a treat.

A few more times, we would do this with him. About 6 to 8 times is his threshold though. Much more than that and he loses interest in whatever we’re doing — treat or no treat!


Day Two: Frequently Ask Your Dog To Perform The Command

After Day One of introducing our dog to the word “pray” and using that as the trick’s command word, we waited a good 12 to 24 hours and did the above steps all over again the very next day.

After going through 6 to 8 requests for him to “pray”, he would slowly start to grasp that “chin on the floor” meant “pray” and got him a treat and lots of praise.

He has never had any problem “praying” on command from that day forward!


More Fun Ideas…

You can take this a step further and really amaze your friends.

Here’s how we taught our other dog to pray.

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I like to help Dog Parents find unique ways to do things that will save time & money -- so I write about "outside the box" Dog Tips and Dog Hacks that most wouldn't think of. I’m a lifelong dog owner -- currently have 2 mixed breed Golden Aussies that we found abandoned on the side of the road as puppies. I've always trained my own dogs and help friends train theirs, as well. Professionally, I worked at a vet and have several friends who are veterinarians -- whom I consult with regularly. (And just because I love animals so much, I also worked at a Zoo for awhile!) I've been sharing my best ideas with others by blogging full-time since 1998 (the same year that Google started... and before the days of Facebook and YouTube). My daily motivation is to help first-time dog owners be better prepared from the first day your new puppy enters your home. I like to help dog owners understand what's 'normal' and what you can expect in terms of living with and training your dog -- how to get through the ups & downs of potty training, chewing, teaching commands, getting your dog to listen, and everything else that takes place during that hectic first year! When I'm not training, walking, grooming, or making homemade treats for my dogs, you will find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites). To date, I've written over 600 articles for dog owners on this site! Many of them have upwards of 200K shares.

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