With January ringing in the New Year, maybe it is time to shake things up a little with your pet.  (We don’t mean actually teaching your dog to shake; he probably already does that!) But why not consider training your pooch to do some of these fun tricks? Whether he learns to literally jump through hoops, open the fridge door, or singing a lively tune, your visitors and friends will surely be impressed at the skills you’ve shown your dog, and the bond you two share.  Here are five fun and attainable tricks to practice with your pet.

Dancing Duo:  Now anyone can grab their pup’s forepaws and pull them up to a dancing stance,  but you can kick things up a notch by teaching your dog to balance on his hind legs all by himself. Rehearse with the same song, and use positive reinforcement training  along with persistent daily review to help him hone this skill. Soon you will be able to help your pup learn to pop up whenever you give him the cue, so that the two of you can two-step, or tap your toes together.

Beagle with umbrella

“Go Get It” Trick:  Are you the person who is always leaving your handbag on the kitchen table, or your umbrella by the door?  Teach your dog the “Go Get It” trick, and work with him a little bit every day to practice fetching whatever item you generally seem to leave behind. As long as there is a doggy door into your home, (or your pup knows how to open a door with his mouth)  you will be able to call your dog over and send him back into the house, or up to your bedroom to get your handbag! (Note: This skill is particularly helpful if you have young children that need supervision. For the moments you can’t leave the toddler in the backyard sandbox, send the dog to fetch your bag!)

Gain a Musical Skill:  While the idea of a dog learning to play a musical instrument might sound far-fetched at first, we have seen living proof of this possibility. If you do not have a piano (or a dog who doesn’t seem to have the patience to play), there are still a few other options. A bongo drum, a cajon, or a tambourine can be set in a place where your pooch can practice making a cacophony of joyful noises.  If you give a command like “play” or “drum”  and use treats as an incentive,  your dog can learn to impress your friends with his percussive abilities. (Note: Some dog owners have even taught their pernicious pooches to warble and “sing”  along with some music!)

Get a beverage from the fridge. This trick takes time, practice and several stages to accomplish.  But we have made the instructions simple for you by breaking down the “how to” steps.  If you and your pup nail this command, you may never have to voluntarily leave your couch again!  It is a TV or sport-addict’s dream!

Dog Yoga Pose:  During these winter months many people prefer to do their exercises indoors. Instead of having your puppy run in circles around you as you stretch into Downward Facing Dog, or reaching for that perfectly balanced Crow Pose, help your pup join in.  Teach him two or three funny yoga poses, that way when you go for one of them, you can speak out the command and watch your furry friend try the same stance.  Not only would this be amusing to witness, but it also gives potential for great Instagram and Twitter posts for you and your yoga posing pet!