Teaching your dog to give the paw on command is easy and very entertaining. It won't take long to get there, but it's important that you do it in small sessions, over a few days. One day he will learn to paw you and maybe even greet you that way.
Part 1 of 2: Preparing the dog for training
Step 1. Choose a snack
Snacks are an important part in the dog training process. It's a tasty reward that you can give him when he goes to do whatever you ask him to do, no matter how small. In general, the treats you are going to use for training should be particularly delicious and should be reserved for this time only.
- Pick a treat that won't crumble. Otherwise, he'll be more interested in sniffing and eating all the fallen crumbs instead of paying attention to what you're trying to teach him.
- Some examples of snacks you can use include pieces of cheese, sausage, and small liver cookies.
- Throughout his learning, you will always have to reward him with treats in combination with praise.
Step 2. Choose the verbal command to use
These controls are another element that can greatly assist in training. Those that are often used are: "paw" and "give the paw." "No matter what you choose as a command, you should use it consistently throughout the training so as not to create confusion at its level.
- If there are a lot of people living with you, you should make sure that everyone uses the same verbal command for this exercise.
- It’s better to use short sentences as commands because he will understand and respond to them better compared to long ones like "Time to give me a paw." "
Step 3. Choose a good location for the training
Although it is relatively easy to teach him to kick you, you will be more successful if nothing distracts him. Create a "distraction-free" place inside the house. In this perspective, you could turn off the television, keep other pets and people away, and eliminate any toys that might distract him. The less distractions, the better.
If you have a fenced yard, you can exercise it outside without too many distractions
Part 2 of 2: train him to give his paw
Step 1. Ask him to sit down
It will be easier to teach him to paw if he is already seated. If he can't sit up on command, you can teach him by holding a snack in front of his muzzle far enough that he can't reach it. After that, raise your hand (where the snack is) above his head and, when he is about to lift his head to follow the treat, gently press down on his bottom to sit him down.
- Say the command ("sit") by pressing on its posterior. Right after he does, praise him and feed him the snack as soon as his bottom hits the ground.
- Do not give him the snack if he gets up and tries to take it. Say "no" firmly if he does.
- Train it for 10 to 15 minutes several times a day. At some point, he will learn to sit and stay that way to receive his treat.
Step 2. Hold the snack in front of his muzzle
Unlike the training of teaching him to sit, he should not see the snack throughout the process, which should only serve to get his attention. In fact, you will have to hide it by closing it in your hand.
Step 3. Wait for him to stretch his paw
It might not take long for him to do this if he is used to using his paws to get your attention or to play. However, if he does not have this habit, he may first try to eat the snack with his mouth. Don't do anything if he's using his mouth, because that's not what you want him to do.
- When he's about to lift his paw, even if it's just a little bit, praise him immediately. From this perspective, you could say “yes! "," Good dog "and open your hand to give him the treat you had previously hidden.
- You can also reward him if he shifts his weight so that he can lift his paw, as this already indicates effort in performing the exercise.
- If you are using a clicker, press down on the device as soon as it raises the paw (or shifts its weight so that it can lift it).
- Use your other hand to hold his paw when he goes to lift it. This will be easier to do if you are not using a clicker.
- Don't scold him for using his mouth. By rewarding only the desired behavior (raising his paw) and ignoring the unwanted (using his mouth), he will learn to repeat the correct behavior.
Step 4. Use verbal commands
Once he's accustomed to lifting his paw in an attempt to grab the snack hidden in your hand, add a verbal command. Use the one you chose before you started training. Say the command after closing your hand to hide the treat and before he raises his paw to grab it.
- Praise and reward him immediately after he raises his paw in response to your command.
- The goal is to teach him to paw only after hearing the verbal command, without needing a snack in front of his muzzle. Gradually, over the course of several sessions, eliminate the use of treats.
- Do not repeat the command so that it follows it. If he can't do it the first time, he may not yet understand the meaning of the command. In this case, continue to train for several training sessions.
Step 5. Complicate it a bit
As he gets used to it, complicate the exercise a bit. For example, do this in different situations and places where there are distractions (for example, cars, people, and other dogs passing by).
You can also teach him to lift both legs. If you want to do this, use another verbal command for the second leg to avoid confusion at its level
- Teaching him how to paw is a quick procedure. He should probably do this after a few days.
- He can get bored if you work out very long. For this reason, keep the sessions short. It might last five to ten minutes just a few times a day.
- Keep several snacks in your pocket during workouts.
- Don't be discouraged if he doesn't know how to do it. Maybe he doesn't like this exercise and prefers something else. If so, try other options, such as playing dead or rolling over.
- Try clicker training, where you have to replace treats with the sound of the clicker. In this way, he will associate the sound of the device with a reward.