How to get started with Trickdogging

Trickdogging is a very popular dog sport because you can do it with your dog anytime and anywhere!  In Trickdogging you as the owner can be creative together with your dog and combine different elements, think of new tasks for your dog and work them out together with him.

Trickdogging strengthens the bond you have with your dog!

The bond is mainly created through mutual trust and shared emotional success. This is exactly what you will find in Trickdogging! Every new trick is a challenge for you and your dog, which you tackle together and work on a solution step by step. When your dog finally reaches the desired goal and performs the trick correctly for the first time, not only are endorphins and the happiness hormone dopamine released after the reward is given, but also the “binding hormone” oxytocin is released through your own joy for your dog.

What is the best way to start with trickdogging?

At the beginning you should make a small stocktaking with your dog. That means you look at what your dog already brings with him. Is he skillful with his paws? Does he like to roll over the floor? Does he perhaps already make movements in everyday life that remind you of certain tricks? If you have observed your dog and his motor skills closely, you will first choose a trick that is well feasible for your dog. 

The following tricks are suitable for “beginners”:

  • Twist (turn once around its own axis)
  • Give paw
  • Around (circling your own person)
  • Touch (touching an object with your paw)

There are also tricks that don’t look complicated, but which restrict your dog’s field of vision. Although these tricks are good practice for insecure dogs, they should be developed with a lot of patience and in very small steps.

The following tricks restrict your dog’s field of vision:

  • Middle and feet (dog stands between your legs and/or on your feet)
  • Bang!
  • Shame!
  • Roll
  • Slalom through the legs
  • Lay down head

It’s all about the reward!

It is important for trickdogging that your dog has fun and is motivated to spend some time with you. To keep your dog’s motivation high, the choice of reward is crucial. 


Food or treats are a good choice for a quick reward. However, you should remember that this reward is only appealing as long as your dog is not full.


Toys are an excellent reward for dogs that like to play. A tugging game can loosen up the training and reduce stress during tricky exercises.

Verbal encouragement

Even verbal praise can motivate your dog. Especially while performing tricks, words can positively encourage your dog to take the next step. 

A combination of all three forms of reward is best. Decide intuitively what your dog likes and what is good for him.

By Sarah Mertes

Certified dog trainer