Come When Called: This is probably the first thing you’ll try to teach a dog. REMEMBER: Smart dogs do NOT come when they are called. They are exploring the world. Why should the dog come to you when you call it? It already KNOWS what you smell like.
Heel: Training a dog not to move forward or lag backward but stay by his owner at all times, staring blankly ahead like the first lady at a U. N. speech. Dogs can only learn this trick after a Marine Corps type training transforms them into Full Metal Jacket-type kill-bots. Their will is then an extension of the hive.
Sit: This is the easiest trick to teach a dog because they naturally sit when bored and your talking to them isn’t exactly raising the energy in the room.
Play Dead: Getting your dog to lie there, motionless, waiting for the go-ahead to be a dog again is a playful way to engage with your dog… or, if your dog is particularly good at it, to collect pet life insurance.
Speak: Getting your dog to bark on command just adds you to the list of “Birds, cats, dogs, cars, the washing machine, the vacuum cleaner, clocks, the mailman, the UPS man, that teenager who sticks fliers in your door” and other things your dog mindlessly barks at.
Beg: Dogs do NOT mind begging. They can beg for hours and then hang out with you without loss of dignity. They are a lot like televangelists.
Roll Over: It lightens my heart to see that joyous pink dog belly and the happy look and floppy ears. You think, though, that the roll over command would come in handy should the dog catch on fire (“Stop, Drop and Roll”). Sadly, a flaming dog pays little heed to your commands. It might beg, but only for a fire extinguisher…
Attack: The impulse to attack will come about naturally as you torture your dog for months trying to teach it to do tricks.
Go To Your Crate: This is just unspeakably cruel. This trick is a way of getting the dog to punish itself… like when I was a kid and had to cut a switch for my own spankings which, until hypnotherapy unearths something, “never happened”.
Handshake: Most dogs instinctively like to offer their paw. This is because, your hand is out there and, like most mammals, she doesn’t want to look stupid doing nothing. It can also be an invaluable trick should the dog go on job interviews.
Secret Handshake: This is only useful if the dog is also a Freemason.