Everybody wants their dog to know all sorts of cool tricks, but obedience schools are expensive, and training your dog yourself can be daunting. The good news is, with the right training, teaching your dog tricks isn’t difficult at all. There are a few things to keep in mind when trying to teach your dog tricks; we’ll look at these in the rest of the article.

The first and most important thing to remember about teaching your dog tricks is this: Be Consistent! If you are patient and consistent, eventually, no matter how scatterbrained or flighty your dog is (and goodness knows, there are some dogs with the attention span of a gnat and the memory of a flea), you will eventually get somewhere.

Perhaps not as fast as you want; perhaps not as consistently as you want; but given time, you will get results. (Then, of course, there are always the dogs who get everything on the first try. These are the geniuses of the dog world–but even with these, you must be consistent.) Always reward obedient dogs, with the same reward you’ve trained them to expect (either treat or praise, but don’t switch and give them praise when they expect a treat!)

The second thing to remember when teaching your dog tricks is to be patient. Teaching a dog a trick is almost always an uphill struggle. Spend time on it daily. Dogs love getting your attention, and as long as you make them feel like they’re the extent of your world while you’re training them, like they’re the most wonderful thing you’ve ever spent time with, and believe me, they’ll enjoy the training–maybe more than you will! Remember that they are dogs, and at times they’re going to want to bounce off and play their own doggy games. Focus on bringing them back, gently but firmly, to the training at hand; never give in when a dog tries to go its own way. Always train just a moment longer, then stop; otherwise, you’re teaching them that they call the shots. And they don’t.