For those of you who have a dog and would like to teach them to do simple tricks, today begins our must read series of “appointments with a dog trainer”. For this series, we decided to turn to our friend Elisa Pellizzari, owner of the We DOG IT centre, who specialises in dog training, to create a series of videos illustrating how to teach our furry friends to respond to commands in a simple and playful way. Are you ready?
The first and perhaps the most popular trick that we want our loyal friends to be able to do is to give a paw, isn’t that right? Today, we will see one of the possible ways to teach our furry friends to give a paw when asked.
There are different methods for teaching a dog to give a paw. Hence, there are small adjustments that can be made to make your chosen method fit the dog’s character better. However, it is essential that the dog is calm and composed. This will ensure he is receptive to listening to you and to collaborating.
What do you need? You will need tasty treats, a container for food, such as a small bag, and some patience!
Using his front paws is a rather natural behaviour for a dog. Hence, place some treats into your hand and close it. Most likely, the dog will try to get at the food in some way. He will try to make you open your hand first with his nose and then with his paw. When he uses his paw, immediately say “GOOD BOY!” and reward him. Soon you will see the dog learn that using his paw works. This will motivate him to repeat this behaviour in the future.
Once this movement has been repeated a couple of times, and hence memorized by the dog, you can add the verbal cue “PAW!” prior to the dog performing the motion; this will create an association between the word and the behaviour itself.
Although initially you should hide a treat in your hand, gradually, you can start asking the dog to give you his paw without relying on food. The treat will then be given only as a reward once the dog has performed the motion requested and after he has been called a Good Boy!
It’s not difficult but let’s see how Elisa does it with her dog in the video!