One of the easiest dog trick that you can train your dog to do is to teach your dog to yawn on command. This trick can be taught to any dog of any size or breed and by anyone, and by anyone I mean children and adults.
What you are going to need before training this trick is treats. You can also use something that your dog likes, like a favorite toy or praise, depending on how your dog responds. For simplicity, I will use treats in my article but you are welcome to substitute it with whatever works with your dog.
Place your treat nearby, preferably somewhere near that you can access easily. What I do is I put my treats on the table by my couch, in a little jar so that I can access it very easily and without having to open a bag to get to them.
When your dog goes for a nap or is sleeping nearby, watch closely and wait until he wakes up. Once your dog wakes up he will most likely yawn. This is the perfect opportunity to reward your dog for yawning since that is the behavior that we want to reinforce. All you have to do during this time is to say the word “Yes!” at the same time that your dog yawns and immediately give him a treat after.
Your timing has to be very precise in order for your dog to learn to yawn. If you do this several times a day for a week you’ll notice that your dog will actually start yawning on his own without even being tired just so that he can get a treat. Once that happens, it is a golden opportunity to associate the command “Are you tired” with the behavior of yawning.
Once you see your dog yawning, say your command “Are you tired” and immediately give him a treat. It should take about a week to fully condition your dog to yawn on command. Obviously this is relevant to the amount of times that you train per day or if your timing is perfect, but in an average you should expect to have a fully trained trick like this in two weeks time.
Now that your dog has learned to yawn on command, you might want to show it off a little bit to your friends and family. The best way to do this is to actually do it with several other tricks so that it looks more like a performance. For example, you could ask your dog to shake his paw, roll over, turn around, give you a high five … and finish with “are you tired” from all of these tricks, which your dog will inevitably yawn in approval.
Well there you go, this is an extremely easy trick to train your dog and I encourage you to train as many tricks as you can since training is one of the best ways to build the relationship with your dog and to connect with him. Have fun!