Out of the Box Tricks to Teach Your Dog!

Training is a great mental activity to help wear your dog out and a mutually beneficial way to build the relationship between you and your dog. Here is a quick overview of a few fun tricks you can teach your pup at home!

Out of the Box Tricks (using a box)

  • Teach paws up (on a box), meaning your pup can learn how to put their front paws up on a box on cue while the back feet stay on the ground.
    • Use your pup’s favorite treat to guide them up to the box and reward them for any interaction with the box such as nosing, pushing, pawing, or touching the box.
    • Once comfortable with the box, begin to guide them onto the box, one paw at a time and rewarding for this.
    • When both front paws step onto the box, you have the trick you’re looking for! Now you can add a verbal cue like “paws up” and begin to build up the amount of time your pup keeps his paws on the box.
    • Pro Tips:
      • Make sure your box is sturdy enough to hold your pup’s weight.
      • As your pup progresses, you can use a smaller box or translate the cue to another object for an even cuter result.
  • Teach your pup to hideout in a box. This trick requires a box that your pup can fit into. Once a dog learns this trick, he’ll be able to go sit in the box on cue.undefined
    • Turn your box on its side so it sits like a shelf.
    • Start by rewarding your pup for putting his front paws in the box, then all paws, and then sitting in the box.
    • Once your pup can go to the box and sit down easily, you can incorporate a verbal cue such as “box” or “hideout”.
    • Pro Tips:
      • If your pup already knows a “place” or “go to your mat” behavior, he may pick up on this one quickly, however, the addition of a strange object makes it more challenging.
      • If your pup is not willing to step right into the box, you can begin rewarding for sniffing the box, touching the box, nosing the box, or other interactions with the box so that the box isn’t scary.
  • Teach your pup how to open a box. For this trick you’ll need a box with a lid that fits loosely over the box:
    • Putting other food, treats, or toys in the box can help entice your pup to try to open it.
    • Start with the lid partway off the box so it’s easier to open.
    • Work up to a full push of the lid so that it leaves a space between the lid and the box, and then add a verbal cue like “open”.
    • Reward for touching the lid, pawing the lid, or nosing the lid (anything that can help push the lid off the box).
    • Similar to the other box tricks, you’ll start by rewarding your pup for interacting with the box, but this time you’ll focus on interactions with the lid.
    • Pro Tips:
      • Start with the lid partway off the box so it's easier to open.
      • Putting other food, treats, or toys in the box can help entice your pup to try to open it.

Remember, training should be a fun exercise for you and your pup! Go at your pup’s pace, keep training sessions short and sweet, and end on a positive note. For more tips and tricks on dog training, check out these posts here. You can always contact a professional dog trainer to help enhance your training activities or for help with advanced tricks.