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How to Train a Dog to Wave

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Training a dog to lift his paw to wave hello or good-bye is not too difficult. Your friends are sure to be impressed by this cool dog trick!

What You Need

To train a dog to wave, all you need is your dog and some yummy dog treats. You should also have your clicker handy if you are using clicker training.

Here's How to Do It

  1. Before you start training a dog to wave, he should first know how to shake paws. Waving is built from what he already knows how to do when he shakes. If he hasn't learned to shake yet, you should go back and work on this skill with your dog.

  2. Give your dog the command "shake." When he lifts his paw to shake your hand, move your hand up slightly so he has to move his paw up a bit to get to your hand.

  3. When your dog moves his paw up farther than he would to shake, click your clicker or tell him "good," and give him a treat.

  4. Repeat this action a few times, each time moving your hand up a little higher until your dog is raising his paw above his head.

  5. Once your dog has been putting his paw up several times in a row, give the command "shake," and as soon as your dog starts reaching his paw out to you, give the command "wave" (or you can use the command "say hello" or "wave bye") and again follow steps 2-4.
  6. Repeat this several times until your dog is consistenly raising his paw. After a number of repetitions, stop using the shake command, and only give the command "wave."

  7. Most dogs quickly learn to raise their paw over their head on command. Once your dog is doing it consistently doing it on command, you can begin to select for the best waves. Begin to only give him treats when his paw is over his head and moving up and down a bit in a waving motion.

  8. Practice the wave command for a few minutes at time, two or three times each day. Your dog will quickly be impressing your friends as he greets them with a wave hello!

Capturing the Wave

If you are using a clicker to train a dog, you may be able to teach your dog to wave by capturing the behavior. Many dogs use their paws to get your attention. You can capture this behavior with your clicker, and use it to teach your dog to wave. Here's how to do it:

  1. Keep your clicker and some treats handy, and the next time your dog paws at you, click your clicker and give him a treat.

  2. Repeat this several times, each time your dog raises his paw to get your attention.

  3. A dog who is used to clicker training, will soon begin offering behaviors to try to get a treat. Continue clicking and giving treats each time he raises his paw.

  4. Next, add the command "wave." Say the command and wait. Each time your dog raises his paw, click and treat. Your dog will soon be offering the behavior more quickly after you give the command.

  5. Once your dog is consistently waving on command, you can begin to only click and treat for the behaviors which look the most like a wave.

  6. As in the above steps, practice the wave command several times each day for short training sessions.
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