How to teach your dog ‘tell me a secret’

If lockdown gave me one positive thing, it was more time to bond with my dogs. Phoebe and Frank knew all the basic tricks like sit, paw and down, but after scrolling through hours of TikTok watching videos of talking dogs and unique tricks, I knew it was time to up our game.

Frank is much more keen to learn new tricks than Phoebe is, as she’s pretty stubborn and wants to do as little as possible to get the treat. Frank on the other hand will do anything for food – whilst he drowns you in drool. Because of this, Frank’s picked up a few extra tricks, as I don’t like to frustrate Phoebe during training sessions, and want it to be a positive experience for both me and the dogs. She’s a big fan of paw, and does it very well and very often.

Frank has recently mastered ‘tell me a secret’, which he clocked on to in 24 hours. It was super easy to teach him, and it’s a really fun trick to show off.

I’ve seen some people teach their dog this trick my having their dog make contact with their hand, and gradually bringing the hand closer to the face until it’s next to the ear – but we did it slightly differently.

All you’ll need to learn this trick is some high value rewards, a positive energy, and some patience. Remember to keep your training sessions short and sweet, around 10 minutes a day. As I said previously, It only took Frank a day to pick up, over two sessions, so hopefully your pooch will pick it up pretty quickly!

Here’s how to teach your dog to ‘tell me a secret’.

Step 1: Frank already knew the command ‘give me a kiss’, where he will boop my nose with his, which likely helped with how quickly he nailed ‘tell me a secret’. I started off by asking Frank to ‘give me a kiss’ so that he knew I wanted his face in close proximity to mine.

Step 2: After a few kisses, I held a treat between my right thumb and index finger and cupped my hand around my right ear. I showed Frank where the treat was, which encouraged him to put his nose to my ear. Every time he positively engaged with my cupped hand, I would offer a reward and lots of praise.

Step 3: Once Frank was engaging with the cupped hand, I added my cue. I use ‘tell me a secret’, with emphasis on the word ‘secret’, in case I like to shorten the cue. Be sure to continue to reward positive interactions.

Step 4: Next, I take the treat away from the right ear, and hold it in my left hand. I cup my right hand to my right ear, and ask Frank to ‘tell me a secret’. When he touches his nose to my ear, even when the treat isn’t there, he gets the reward from my left hand.

And there you have it! Tell me a secret! You can even work on the length of time they hold the pose so you can snap the perfect picture for Instagram!

Have fun teaching your dog to ‘tell me a secret’ and be sure to tag us in your Instagram posts of them having a go!