Friday training talk: January is national train your dog month

AnchorageJanuary 2, 2014 

A friend has challenged several of us on Facebook to come up with a trick -- or new obedience skill -- to celebrate January's National Train Your Dog Month. I think it's a great idea and challenge visitors to the Dog Blog to get on board. 

Below are some suggestions from my friend. Let me know here if you decide to do it -- bonus points for a link to a video showing your success.

I'm starting out with these goals:

Jillie: I've never had any luck teaching her to speak, so I will redouble my efforts this month.

Eddie: Play dead. I'm going to try to improve on an existing trick. He currently leans to one side when I say "bang', and I tell people I just "winged him." I'd like to get him to the point where he rolls on his side or back and stays there.

Lucy: She's a senior dog and I don't want her doing anything strenuous, so I think I'll just start out trying to teach speak on command. This will probably drive my wife nuts, so I'll have to practice when she's not home. I've found that teaching dogs to speak is a good thing because it reinforces what speak is. Once they know that, it's easier to teach "No speak."

Here's the list of suggestions from my friend.

Basic Manners and safety:



Come when called

Loose Leash Walking

Leave It

Drop it

Settle or Place



Watch me (Focus)





Potty on command


Shake Hands


High 5




Spin (Clockwise)

Twirl (Counter-Clockwise)

Play dead



Roll Over

Take it


Bring it

Back (walk backward)


Shame (covers nose/face with paw)

Ahhhh-choo! (Bring a tissue when someone sneezes)

Fetch a drink


Turn on/off light

open/close door

Nose touch

Paw touch


Go Around

Sit Pretty/Sit Up/Beg



Play piano/keyboard

ride skateboard/sled

Jump (Over/Through)


Lift Leg (for male- pretend to mark)

Kick with back leg

Front paws on (like on a chair or an over turned bucket)

Head (or chin) Down (put head on floor when in a down or put chin on handlers knee or on a chair)

Leg weave (figure 8 through your legs as you walk)

Pray (dog bows head)

Spread ‘em! (dog puts paws on wall while handler pretends to frisk them)

Stick tongue out

Cross your paws

Chase your tail

Scratch (pretend to scratch an itch with their back leg)


Look up

Look Left

Look Right


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