Teach Your Dog to Wave Hello

Fade the Treat, Keep the Wave

Your next step is to fade the lure. A simple way to do this is to hold the treat inside your closed hand but to reward the paw lift with a treat from your other hand (rather than giving him the hidden treat). After you have done this a few times, remove the hidden treat and instead hold your empty hand in the same shape. Continue to reward each paw lift with a treat given with your free hand.

When your dog is readily lifting his paw up in the air in a manner that resembles a wave, add a signal that is specific to this trick. A physical gesture like waving your own hand or a verbal cue like “wave” or “hi” can be used. Pair the cue with the lure: Just before you raise the hand holding the treat, say “wave.” After a few repetitions, add a delay between the verbal cue (“wave”) and the hand gesture (raising your closed hand) to encourage your dog to anticipate and respond to the new cue itself. Work toward having your dog raise his paw in response to just the verbal or physical cue. Continue to mark and reward each paw lift.

You can also teach your dog to wave while facing away from you (for situations when he’s greeting someone other than you). To do this, gradually shift from standing directly in front of him to standing at his side. Give the verbal cue or hand gesture, and reward him for raising his paw. If it helps, you can have another person stand in front of him and wave back!

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