3 Unique Dog Tricks

Most people know they can teach their dogs to sit, stay, roll over and shake, but what if you really want to impress your friends and family? Dogs are amazing and intelligent creatures, and many breeds are used as assistance animals (also called guide dogs) for the physically handicapped. Therefore, there is a wide variety of unique dog tricks you can teach.

1- Teach Your Dog to Pray

This is one of the most unique dog tricks, and was recently published in Guideposts magazine by Peggy Frezon. There are several ways to teach your dog to pray depending on what you consider “praying position.”

Frezon suggests teaching your dog to hop up with his front feet on a low chair or piece of furniture, then to lower his chin to his paws. You can also teach your dog to pray by bowing and putting his chin to his paws.

If you prefer clicker training for unique dog tricks you can use your clicker, or you can use treats to reinforce proper response to your commands. Start by asking your dog to lie down or to hop up with his front feet on a piece of furniture while simultaneously giving the command “Pray”. When he does this successfully, give him the treat or engage the clicker.

Do the same thing with teaching your dog to put his chin on his paws. If he raises up before you’ve asked him to stop the trick, tell him “no” and start all over. Once he has learned this portion, you can teach him to stop “praying” by giving the command “Amen!”

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The hardest part of teaching unique dog tricks is helping your dog to realize that a single command entails a series of motions. In this case, saying “Pray” means to bow, lie down or hop up, and then to rest his chin on his paws. Sufficient repetition should induce a seamless transition.

2- Teach Your Dog to Turn Lights Off

“Green Living” is one of the most popular buzzwords right now, and what better than a dog who cares about finite resources? One of the most impressive unique dog tricks is to teach your dog to turn lights off.

In order to make this trick work, you need to have a light switch that your dog can reach. For larger dogs this might not be a problem, but shorter dogs might need help in the way of a low stool or other piece of furniture.

Start by holding a treat next to the light switch or patting the wall next to the switch. When your dog jumps up, reward him with the treat or with a “click.” These types of unique dog tricks might take several tries, and it is important to not get discouraged.

When your dog jumps up to turn the lights off, hit the switch yourself when he misses. This reinforces the idea that he is supposed to hit the switch himself. Once he has mastered this maneuver, you can give the command from anywhere in the house and without the treat or clicker.

3- Teach Your Dog to Hide

You’ve probably seen movies and television shows in which dogs cover their eyes with their paws when a character does something embarrassing. The last on our list of unique dog tricks is teaching your dog to hide behind his paw on command.

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This is more difficult than the previous two dog tricks because it requires your dog to perform a movement that is completely unfamiliar to him. The goal is to, on the command of “Hide,” pick up his paw and cover his eyes.

There are a few ways to accomplish this. The first is to say the word “Hide,” and simultaneously pick up your dog’s foreleg and place it over his eyes. This is easiest in a sitting position where balance will not become an issue.

Another option is to take a piece of clear Scotch tape and reduce the adhesiveness by patting it against a piece of cloth. Then place the strip of tape over the bridge of your dog’s nose while saying “Hide.” When he tries to rub it off with his paw, praise him for the movement and repeat. If you use the right kind of tape, it should not pull off any skin or hair or otherwise harm your dog.

Mastering Unique Dog Tricks

The best way to master these unique dog tricks is to put in the time. Your dog will probably not pick up on the overall goal during the first – or even third – session, but eventually he will clue in. Continue using positive and negative reinforcement in methods that work best with your pet, and eventually you will succeed.


Peggy Frezon, Prayers for PoochGuideposts