A Dog Waiting For Santa

I see a well-trained dog performing many tricks
By Karen B. London PhD, December 2017, Updated June 2021

As a dog lover, it is natural to love the charm of this video, but as a dog trainer, my focus is on the beauty of seeing a dog perform a series of tricks so well. Naturally, I don’t know how many takes it took to acquire the footage to put this video together, but I choose not to dwell on that. Clearly, this is a well-trained dog with a large repertoire of behaviors that he can do on cue. While many viewers probably see a story of a dog preparing for Santa’s visit and waiting for him to arrive, I noticed each specific trick that the dog performed.

In a little over a minute of film, this dog carried a stocking in his mouth, hung it on a hook, re-entered his dog house, pushed a plate of cookies along the ground with his nose, pushed a glass of milk out the door, walked to his mark, assumed a begging posture, barked, lay down, rested his head on his paws, ate a cookie that he had been leaving alone until then, reclined on his side, feigned sleep and held a solid stay when Santa placed his present right next to him. That is 15 distinct skills, all performed with a believability that brought the story alive.

This video showcases what a lot of practice by a skilled trainer with a talented dog can accomplish, but it’s more fun to think of it as a Christmas miracle.


Karen B. London, Ph.D. is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer who specializes in working with dogs with serious behavioral issues, including aggression. Karen writes the animal column for the Arizona Daily Sun and is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University. She is the author of six books about canine training and behavior, including her most recent, Treat Everyone Like a Dog: How a Dog Trainer’s World View Can Improve Your Life