Tips to Teach Your Dog to Tell You a Secret

Looking for a fun trick to teach your pup that they may not know already? How about teaching “Tell Me a Secret”! This cute trick is when you ask your pup to tell you a secret, and they respond by putting their muzzle up to your ear and behind your cupped hand. There are many ways to teach this trick, and here is one way to go about it in a few simple steps.

Step 1

Start out by using one hand with a treat to lure your dog’s muzzle behind your other, slightly cupped hand. Once your dog gets their muzzle behind your cupped hand, reward with the treat.

Hint: rewarding when your dog’s muzzle makes contact on the side of your cupped hand can help with specific placement of your dog’s muzzle behind your hand.

Step 2

Add time to when your dog has their muzzle behind your cupped hand. Begin with brief 1-2 second holds and slowly add more time before rewarding your pup, up to 5-8 seconds depending on your preference for the final behavior.

Step 3

Move your cupped hand to your ear and reward for your dog placing his muzzle behind your cupped hand. Your dog’s nose should come very close to, or touch, your ear.

Hint: if your dog has trouble with this step, practice moving your hand close to your ear, but not all of the way to it, and rewarding for that. Bring your hand closer and closer to your ear until your dog understands to put their muzzle behind your cupped hand at your ear. Keep rewarding for each correct response along the way!

Step 4

Add a verbal cue to accompany your hand signal. Say your dog’s name, followed by “tell me a secret”, then raise your cupped hand to your ear.

Once your dog puts their muzzle behind your hand and up to your ear for several seconds, reward with a treat and praise.

Now you have a fun, new trick to show off for your friends and family!


  • Go at your dog’s pace. If they are not understanding something, make it a little easier for them to succeed and earn the reward before moving to the next step.
  • Teach it in increments of 5-minute training sessions to keep it fun and not overwhelm your pup.
  • Engage in play after a training session.