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Amazing new tricks to teach your dog

Sure, any pooch can learn to fetch, roll over and shake hands, but these four tricks are next-level amazing.

Walk the walk

What is it? Teach your pooch to place their front paws on your feet and walk with you. Why? There’s no real reason, except that it’s basically the most adorable thing ever.

Teach me! Ask your dog to sit, then stand in front of them, facing away, with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a treat around knee height to encourage them to pop their head and shoulders between your legs. If they try to walk all the way through, take a step forward so that only their head and shoulders poke through. Repeat until they grasp it, and reward their progress with plenty of treats and praise.

Once they have mastered step one, use a treat to encourage them to place their right paw on top of your right foot. Every time their paw touches your foot, they earn a reward, even if they don’t leave it there; eventually they’ll learn to park it. When they have got this down pat, repeat with their left paw.

When both their feet are planted on yours, you can start taking some slow, small steps, building up gradually. Again, remember to reward liberally – this is a really unnatural sensation for a pooch, so they deserve kudos for hanging in there!

Bottoms up

What is it? Teach your dog to ‘drink’ from a cup. It’s the ultimate party trick!

Teach me! Have them sit down and place an empty plastic cup in front of them. Drop a tasty treat into the cup and tell them to “Wait” or “Leave it” for a few seconds. When you’re ready, say, “Okay, bottoms up!” and watch them manoeuvre their muzzle into the cup. The cup should be smaller than your dog’s snout; this means they’ll have to lift it up and tip their head back to secure the treat.

You’ll eventually be able to do this without a treat in the cup, but throw a reward in every now and then to keep them interested. After all, would you work for free?

A word of advice: Don’t try this with actual liquid. Not only will you have a big mess on your hands, it could go up your dog’s nose, which is unpleasant and unfair. (And be sure to monitor this trick so your pet doesn’t get distressed or struggle to breathe.)"

Jumpin' Jack Flash

What is it? You’ve seen that YouTube video of Day the dog teaching her two-legged sister to jump, right? And you’d agree it’s ridiculously cute? This is why teaching your dog to jump is something you should do.

Teach me! The easiest way to get your dog to jump on command is to start by teaching them to jump over something. To do this, stack books to build a low hurdle; as they become more confident, you can add more books to encourage them to jump higher. Put them on a leash and stand 2 to 3 metres back from the hurdle. Jog slowly towards it, ensuring they have plenty of room to both start and land the jump. As your dog makes the jump, say, “Jump!” Reward them with a treat and lots of praise.

You scratch my back

What is it? Let’s face it, dogs tend to get the lion’s share of the scratching in any given household. So why not even it up a bit by teaching your canine companion to scratch your back?

Teach me! Place a treat under a plastic container, ensuring your dog sees the treat before you cover it. Wait for your dog to scratch the container a few times before rewarding him. Add the verbal cue “Scratch it!” and practise this until your four-legged friend is scratching on command.

Next, swap the container for a piece of paper and repeat the process. Then place the paper on your back and ask your pooch to scratch it. Finally, remove the paper and instruct the dog to scratch your back. Awkward itches conquered. Check out this video tutorial for a step-by-step guide to this trick.

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