Whether you teach your dog to sit, roll over or catch a ball, any trick will bring a smile to your face and happiness to your dog because they love performing for their owners. But some dog tricks are more difficult to train for than others.
Table of Contents
- 25 Most Difficult Dog Training Tricks
- 1. Wait
- 2. Bark or Speak or Howl
- 3. Army Crawling
- 4. Spin
- 5. Sit Pretty
- 6. Go and Fetch
- 7. Stand Tall (On Hind Legs)
- 8. Say Your Prayers
- 9. Walking Backward
- 10. Open The Door (Tug / Tugging)
- 11. Dance
- 12. Salute
- 13. Collect Garbage
- 14. Moving Hoop Trick
- 15. Wipe Your Paws
- 16. Watch Me
- 17. The Bang Performance
- 18. Handstand
- 19. Peak A Boo
- 20. Play Piano
- 21. Skateboarding
- 22. Fetch a Drink From the Refrigerator
- 23. Use The Toilet
- 24. Pick Up Toys
- 25. Sing
A dog's inherent love of pleasing owners and their enthusiasm to learn new tricks makes it easier and enjoyable for us to teach dogs different kinds of commands and stunts. You can train a dog with a simple combination of dog training treats, verbal praise and use of a dog clicker. You'll want to begin slowly with simple tricks like ‘sit', ‘lie down' and ‘stay'.
Here are a few quick videos and step-by-step guides to get started:
Once your dog gets used to performing some of these simple tricks on command, you can move onto to some of the hardest tricks to train dogs using this foundation. Below 25 difficult dog training tricks will test your patience and a dog’s temper but attempting to train a dog these tricks will help develop and improve their brain function. You will also be encouraging agility, strength and alertness in your dog.
Some Facts about Dog Training
Before we delve into the serious business of determining the top twenty five hardest tricks and commands to teach your dog, let's discuss dog training itself so that you understand why some tricks or commands are more difficult for certain dogs or for their owners.
- Dogs easily understand simple commands like stay, sit, heel, stop, and roll over. The easiest tricks to teach a dog are roll over, play dead, shaking paws, and catching objects.
- Female dogs learn more quickly than male dogs.
- According to surveys, around 3.2% of dog owners are not serious about training their dogs.
- Around 19% of puppy parents are spending less than 30 minutes each week training their dog.
- The easiest dog breeds to train include the German Shepherd Dogs, Golden Retriever, Labrador, Poodle, Rottweiler, Boxer, Doberman, English spaniel, Border Collie just to name a few (here's a full list of smartest dog breeds).
25 Most Difficult Dog Training Tricks
Based on the above facts, the degree of difficulties when it comes to dog training your pooch apparently relies on the breed, sex, and the dog owner themselves. Here is my list of hardest tricks and commands to train dogs.
We start with the easiest tricks (out of all the hardest ones) and work our way down to the most difficult tricks to teach a dog.
There is a tendency for the dog to confuse this command with ‘stay'. Teaching a dog the Wait command is a five step process and needs to be done in 3 or 5 seconds intervals. You'll need to repeat the process many times until the dog understands the ‘wait' command. This is one of the more basic among hard tricks to train a dog, and a good point to start with. Take a look at the demonstration video linked above.
2. Bark or Speak or Howl
While dogs bark naturally, teaching a dog to bark on cue is a little bit frustrating. Very often when you make your pet sit in front of you and teach him to bark by using the ‘speak' command, the dog will offer silence and simply stare at you. But there are some trick to teach a dog how to howl, bark, speak a bit quicker – see the video demonstration.
3. Army Crawling
Crawling is basically a dog's instinct, especially if your pooch wants to get something under the furniture. And it is only when you want your dog to crawl on command and for several lengths for no particular reason that makes it harder. Army Crawl dog trick is very difficult to train a dog and with some dogs, they may never get it, but you can give it a try as shown in the above video.
Spin sounds like an easy trick to teach a dog, but it needs to be taught with the right technique as the verbal command is not enough for the dog in many cases. Similar to the Army Crawl trick, this one is one of those more unique fun commands that usually takes a lot of patience on the part of both owner and dogs.
5. Sit Pretty
Here's something a little easier – the Sit Pretty dog trick is very similar to the basic command of “Sit” with a bit of a spin to it. It can be easy to teach, but you need to ensure that your dog is healthy. Sitting pretty is quite strenuous on the back legs when done very often and for a few minutes at a time. Zak George has a great video on this.
6. Go and Fetch
This is a very popular dog training trick with owners, but in some cases the dog will not cooperate. Similar to the above, it's closer to the above basic commands, but it is especially frustrating if you are training a stubborn dog like the Jack Russel Terrier, Afghan Hound, Rottweiler or Shar Pei. Check out the demonstration for some quick tips.
7. Stand Tall (On Hind Legs)
Teaching a dog the Stand Tall trick can be quite easy, but difficult if you’re dealing with senior dogs. If your dog is healthy enough, this trick will develop strength and stamina. But similar to the “Sit Pretty” trick, you need to check your pooch beforehand. If your adult healthy dog is up for it, this one may be where you should start with advanced dog tricks because the results are faster.
8. Say Your Prayers
The Say Your Prayers is a very fun dog training trick in our multi-pet household, and my dogs look so cute sitting and placing their front legs and dropping their head to signify prayer, and always seem to enjoy performing the trick. The relatively difficult part of this command, however, was getting my dog accustomed to the position.
9. Walking Backward
Other than getting your pooch to understand what walking backwards is physically possible, the other difficult part of this advanced dog trick for you will be to always walk beside your dog during the training process. However, this trick is a good bonding moment between you and your pet and can result in some laughs.
10. Open The Door (Tug / Tugging)
Here's another more simple and easy command among these hardest tricks to train a dog – simply opening the door (called tugging). Despite its simplicity, your friends will be impressed when your dog knows how to open the door. However, not all dogs are easy to train this trick as factors like size, height, and handle type will matter.
Dancing is ideal for small dogs, but bigger breeds can learn how to dance too! To learn this difficult dog trick, your pooch needs to be healthy, and they need patience and gentle motivation from their owners. It is also frustrating to teach when your dog is overweight, as their hind end may not support dancing movements.
Because this is one of the hardest dog tricks on this list, teaching dogs to salute will really test your patience. It will take a lot of time and repetition, not to mention plenty of enticing treats. Fortunately, I've found a fantastic demonstration video from the popular Surf Dog Richochet that does a very good job at explaining it.
13. Collect Garbage
This is a good way to change the way your dog thinks about garbage. It will be a very repetitive process, and it may be difficult to get your dog to throw the garbage in the bin instead of eating it at first, but having your pet help with your daily chores eases your life and gives your pup a job to do. Check out the Urban Dog Training video above.
14. Moving Hoop Trick
This command is related to agility training dogs, and you have to teach your dog to jump inside the hoop first before moving onto the full Hoop Trick. This is one of those very difficult dog tricks that really challenged my dogs and my dog training skills, as it requires me to pass the hoop from right to left and left to right.
15. Wipe Your Paws
Here's a dog trick that's not as complex as some above yet may be quite difficult depending on your dog's temperament and you'll also need to choose the right doormat. If a mat is too rough, your dog may not want to wipe his paws on it as one of my dogs was particularly picky where they chose to wipe their paws. See the How-Cast video.
16. Watch Me
This dog trick will train your pooch concentration and focus, because it is to make your dog ignore other people and focus only on you. As I experienced, dogs tend to have a short attention span. Thus, it takes hand motions at the same time to make the dog understand when I say ‘watch me'.
17. The Bang Performance
Why is The Bang Performance dog trick so hard? Because you need to teach your dog the following tricks first: crawl, limp, and play dead. This is the accumulation of some of the hardest tricks to train dogs we've gone through above, and Bang is often called one of the best dog tricks ever. My other big challenge here is that I have to ensure that the dog is familiar with the three tricks mentioned.
While the above dog training trick takes time to accumulate different types into one, the Handstand dog trick is by itself significantly more difficult and quite tricky, as your dog needs to build muscles to perform this feat. Like other difficult tricks, this is much hard for bigger dogs. The above video has very easy to understand steps to follow.
19. Peak A Boo
Here's another advanced trick to train dogs that requires many repetitions in order for dogs to understand the essence of the stunt. The Peekaboo is not so much a difficult trick as it is time consuming and frustrating for impatient trainers.
20. Play Piano
Teaching a dog to play piano can be quite tedious, as I have to start with short sessions until my dog realizes that he'll get treats for pressing the keys of the piano. Gradually, you'll be able to work your way up to longer sessions. Liam Thompson's video with millions of views shows one of the examples, but there are more on YouTube.
Skateboarding dogs are one of the videos that everybody has seen, especially the famous Bulldog. You can teach your pooch too but the hardest part is to make your dog gets used to the noise of the skateboard. In addition, you need to also allow the dog to get used to the object by inspecting it on his own terms.
22. Fetch a Drink From the Refrigerator
Getting back to more practical and useful dog training tricks, fetching a drink will impress your friends and will be a pleasure for your pooch to learn. However, as Training Positive video shows, this dog trick is difficult as you need to train your dog first to exercise control over food as he might end up eating what’s inside the refrigerator instead of fetching you a drink.
23. Use The Toilet
You have probably seen many videos on YouTube showing dogs using the toilet. If you want to teach your dog to use a toilet too, it's doable and it's also one of the hardest tricks. This is an excellent training command for dog owners with mobility problems. It takes a very long time to teach this trick to your dog.
24. Pick Up Toys
What makes this trick very difficult for me is that I need to use intense determination to teach this trick to my dog. It is a tedious process considering that you throw the toy, use hand gestures to guide him to the toy box, offer a treat, and repeat. Now, what if your dog drops the toy? Start all over again.
This is probably the hardest trick to teach a dog, as you need to find the right song that will motivate him to sign. This is going to be especially difficult to teach a quiet dog. If your dog howls or barks often, it may be easier to teach him to sing. The popular channel Gone to the Snow Dogs has a fantastic demonstration video for various versions of this dog trick.
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