This Christmas, at Canine Learning Academy, we are making sure that our dogs are included in our Holiday Festivities by presenting 12 tricks Christmas dog countdown that you can do with your beloved dog. Learn and practice right at home where your dog feels safe.

With so much going on at this time of year, with friends and family visiting, presents to buy, and parties to attend, it can throw our dogs’ regular routine by the wayside.

It’s essential for our dogs that we meet their needs no matter what is going on and trick training is a great way to ensure our dogs get physical and mental exercise every day.

To make it super simple and easy, we’ve got 12 Tricks for you and your dog to have a go at during this Christmas Holiday Countdown.

On the twelfth day of Trixmas, my true love gave to me…

  • 12 Days of Trick Training 
  • 11 Tricks and counting
  • 10 Minutes training
  • 9 Dogs, a dancing
  • 8 Puppies pouncing
  • 7 Snacks for snuffling
  • 6 Socks for stealing
  • 5 Golden Doodles
  • 4 Waggy tails
  • 3 Delicious Treats
  • 2 Daily walks
  • 1 Happy Dog, sleeping under the tree

All it takes is 10 minutes of training to have a rested and happy dog – they’ll be curling up by the Christmas tree instead of stealing the baubles off its branches.

Each trick is accessible for all levels, so if you’re new to training tricks, we start from the basics, and if you’ve been training a little while we offer suggestions to increase the level of difficulty to get your dogs, cogs turning.

12 tricks Christmas Dog Countdown, let’s begin…

Day 1: Tell Santa a Secret

Teaching your dog how to whisper a secret in your ear is the most adorable trick and it’s the first of 12 tricks to try this Christmas Countdown.

Yo Armendariz goes over all the steps to get this adorable trick down with your dog.

Tell Santa a Secret is an Intermediate trick in which when cued your dog will approach you and place its nose near your ear as if telling you a secret. The dog should hold be able to hold the position for 1-2 seconds. Small dogs may need to use a step-up or platform to reach your ear.

Day 2: Remove my Christmas Socks

After a long day of shopping, teach your dog to remove your socks and hand them back to you.

Teaching your dog to Remove your socks is trick number two of 12 tricks to try this Christmas Countdown.

Yo Armendariz shows you all the steps to making this trick a reality for you and your dog.

Pull off your socks – a great party trick when you’ve eaten way too much Christmas Dinner and can’t reach your feet.

Day 3: Find the hidden treats

Yo Armendariz shows all the steps for this trick and how you can even make it more challenging for dogs that have already mastered this trick.

This trick is a really great way to get your dog to use their nose. 

Find hidden treats is trick number three of 12 tricks to try this Christmas Countdown.

It’s really tiring work for your dog to intensely sniff and search for treats. For this game, you really only need to do 5-10 minutes of searching for your dog to be satisfied and guaranteed to sleep well afterward.

Day 4: Paws in a gift box and pose for a photo

“Paws in a box” is trick number Four of 12 tricks to try this Christmas Countdown.

Check out the full step-by-step of how to teach your dog to pose for a photo with their feet in a gift box- CLICK HERE

This is perfect for getting great photos of your dog posing wherever, once your dog knows to put their paws on a box, you can take this trick on the road and ask them to put their feet on all sorts of objects.

Day 5: Beg for cookies (sit pretty)

Just a little heads up, this trick takes a lot of core strength for your dog so go steady when building up to a longer duration. With puppies or older dogs start with putting paws onto your arm or an object to support them.

Dogs with injuries to knees or hips may struggle with this, so be mindful that if your dog *opts out* of this trick, they may be telling you something hurts.

Day 6: Jump over my knee

Yo demonstrates with her dog all the steps needed to get this easy trick on cue

It’s really important when teaching your dog to jump that they have a stable surface to jump off from and land on. We want to avoid our dogs slipping as this can cause injury. Ideally, be on a padded carpet or put down a yoga mat for your dog so they have a grippy surface to land on.

Day 7: Kiss Santa

Yo Armendariz shows how you can use a sticky-note to teach your dog to kiss your hand or cheek.

Watch the live video recorded in December 2022, of how to teach your dog to give Santa (or any other family member) a kiss under the mistletoe.

Day 8: Jump through my arms

Yo demonstrates Live – jump through my circled arms with her dog Bandit the Tiny Bernedoodle

This is a great way to progress from jumping over your knee. Once your dog understands jumping over something you could even make this one Christmassy by using a hoop covered in tinsel.

Day 9:Weave through my legs

Yo demonstrates Leg Weave, Figure 8, Arm Weave and Hoop Leg Weave

To learn how to teach your dog to dance with you this festive season by weaving through your legs, check out the live with Yo. Besides teaching your dog to leg weave, Yo shows a few other tricks such as “Figure eight” “Arm Weave” and “Hoop Leg Weave”.

Day 10:Bring me my Christmas Slippers

Check out the video to learn how to teach your dog how to bring your Christmas Slippers – another great trick that’s really useful when you’re curled up watching movies.

Day 11: Ring Toss

Check out the full step-by-step of how to teach your dog to play Ring Toss- Click Here

The step-by-steps has a lot of juicy details.

Day 12:Turn off/on the Christmas lights

To learn how to teach this useful trick, check out the full step-by-step live video with Yo and her pups. This live broadcast covers it all.

For this we want to have dog-friendly lights, I like to use:

Bonus! High five it’s Christmas!

Teach your dog to give you a High Five!

Kurtis Swinson with Axel the Australian Labradoodle

This is a great intermediate-level trick to get your dog paw targeting, which has loads of other potential uses. Such as filing your dog’s nails.

Your dog should already have a paw target to hand before doing this trick. 

Start by getting your pet to sit in front of you on a non-slippery surface. Reward your dog for getting into a sit so that they will more likely to hold the position

Cue your dog to offer their paw, and present your hand palm up right at their knee level off to the side. This will help remind your dog to offer their paw instead of their nose.

Repeat a few times before moving onto the next steps.

Next, cue the paw target but this time present your hand slightly tilted towards them. And then reward for each success.

Eventually, the goal is to slowly change your hand position from palm up to palm facing your dog at shoulder level.

Once you are able to move your hand to the new position you can rename the cue to something like “High Five”.

That’s it!

Earn your Titles?

In order to earn your Trick Titles, first you need to teach your dog some fun tricks! 

Different tricks are considered different levels of difficulty and so will apply to certain titles. Check the tricks section below for more information on which tricks to work on!

When you’re ready, check out the AKC Trick Title List- Click here

Take a look at the, Do More With Your Dog Trick Title List- Click here

Then you need to have a Certified Trick Dog Instructor (CTDI) witness those tricks. Canine Learning Academy’d Trick instructors, Yo Armendariz and Julia Fryman, are Certified Trick Dog Instructors, and can witness your tricks for you to earn titles in both the AKC and Do More With Your Dog!

Once we’ve witnessed and approved your tricks, and you have shown enough tricks to earn the title, you can submit the title application to earn your title!

Did you know we can witness your tricks virtually via video? All you have to do is post your videos directly into our Private Facebook Group – Click Here to Join. In addition, other options are to reach out and send on messenger or by text if you prefer.

If you already taught your dog the tricks on the list and you are ready to turn it in for the title. Then all you have to do next is click here: DMWYD Trick Title Application

You will get a Title Certificate and can also receive a Ribbon!

And that’s a gift Wrap!

Watch the Full 12 Days of Christmas Here CLICK HERE, and above all have a wonderful time practicing these tricks together with your dog.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas from all of us at Canine Learning Academy

Santa (played by Diane Waked), Bandit (tiny Bernedoodle), JD (mini Aussiedoodle), Bentley (standard Aussiedoodle), and Yo Armendariz