Who is this trick for?
The trick “giving a paw” is a trick that is easy to practice. It is one of the absolute classics and is an ideal introduction for every human-dog team that wants to get a taste of the world of trickdogging. The trick requires mental work , can be practiced anywhere and provides the basis for other great tricks. The age and physical fitness of the dog play less of a role in the following exercise. The dog should of course be healthy and have no problems with its joints in the area of the front legs , injuries or similar. have. Then nothing stands in the way of starting your training!
The training of puppies should be adjusted so that neither ligaments, tendons, etc. are overloaded. Young dogs require a lot of patience . Build up the training in small steps and don’t demand too much at once, because the concentration span is not that pronounced at this age.
Dogs of all ages should generally be avoided from being overwhelmed. It is better to train in small steps with regular repetitions and sufficient breaks . This approach is more effective than long and irregular exercise sessions. Also, it doesn’t spoil the fun. And this should ultimately come first. Here we go!
How do I teach my dog to paw?
Preparation is important for this trick too. So what is necessary beforehand? Right, a calm atmosphere ! You should exercise where you and your dog cannot be distracted . Explain to your family what you are planning to do and that you need time for both of you. Therefore, train your dog at a time and in a room where you are both undisturbed.
Also, think about how the giving of the paw should look like. Do you want your dog to put a certain paw in your hand or do you want it to look different? Having an accurate image in mind will help you practice the trick successfully. It’s a good timetable to the destination.
The clicker can be used wonderfully when giving a paw . With the clicking sound, you can confirm every desired behavior of your dog with pinpoint accuracy and without affecting the mood . But before you can get started, you should condition the clicker first . This means your dog learns that after each click there is a treat. The click is the promise of a treat, so to speak . In addition to the clicker, you therefore need small treats that are easy to swallow . Once your dog has understood the principle, he will work motivated and wait for the clicking sound when he sees the clicker.
How to condition your dog for the clicker
Sit with your dog and get into a comfortable position. Hold 10 to 15 small treats in one hand and the clicker in the other hand. Now you click and give your four-legged friend a treat immediately afterwards. Repeat this step until all the treats are used up.
To test whether your dog has understood that the click means a treat, you can proceed as follows: You take a moment when your dog is not paying attention and then press the clicker. If he looks at you immediately after the clicking sound and comes towards you expecting a treat, he has understood the principle. If not, repeat the above step until it works. Only then does it really start giving the paw.
Prepare yourself mentally for the exercise unit and have your goal in mind . You know exactly which paw (whether left or right) you want your dog to lift. Now you have to tell your dog.
Join your dog on the floor and make yourself comfortable. Have clickers and treats ready. It is easiest when your dog is positioned in the seat.
Position your hand level with your dog’s chest. Now it’s time to wait. What behaviors does your dog offer you? Every step that leads towards the desired goal is confirmed with a click and a treat .
In the beginning, raising his paw will happen randomly . Your dog may also display other behaviors or even vocalize. However, none of these signs leads to the goal. So ignore unwanted behavior. Click only when the behavior fits your purpose. Your dog will no longer show the ignored behaviors in the future, as these do not lead to success, the click=treat .
Repeat the above exercise regularly. Your dog will quickly understand that he should place the appropriate paw in your hand. If that works well, you can extend the time span by delaying the click a little. This means that your dog should leave its paw on your hand longer and only then hear the longed-for click.
A little tip: initially only stick to one paw . You can teach your dog to raise its right paw in response to one signal and its left paw in response to another signal.
If your four-legged friend shows this behavior reliably, let’s continue! You can now introduce a verbal signal , either “paw”, “give-me-five” or something like that. Your dog needs an exact order so that he can make the connection between the spoken word and the action. For that you need an action trigger . Reaching out your hand to your dog is one such action trigger. This tells him to give paws and put his paw in your hand.
It then looks like this:
- You give your desired verbal signal (e.g. “right paw”).
- You stretch out your flat hand towards your dog.
- Your dog puts his paw in your hand.
- you click
- Your dog gets his reward.
You repeat this step a few times.
As soon as your dog has linked your command with the corresponding action and he reliably shows the behavior, you can sneak out the clicker again . You can either click the clicker in your pocket for this. This will soften the noise until you’ve replaced it entirely with verbal praise, a pet, or some other reward. Alternatively, you can only use the clicker every now and then and thus reduce it.
Never lose the fun of practicing the exercise. If you or your dog have had a bad day, postpone the training. That’s not bad at all. Your time together and the fun factor should always come first. A new day means a new chance for a great workout for two.