Tuesday, October 4, 2011

More Paw behaviors

There is another really simple paw behavior with some fabulous real-world applications (beyond indulging your own sick fascination with paws). This gem of a skill is one I learned while coaching Reactive Dog class with Your Dogs Friend, and we called it Paws Up

Fozzie loves Paws Up with Healing with Whole Foods
You place a book on the floor and get the dog interested in it by tapping it and being excited. Most dogs will sniff it, which you can click and treat initially. Then hold out for the paw to touch the book before clicking and treating. 

Lamar's more of a Raw Foods Cookbook kind of a Paws Up guy

Then, delay the click/treat until the paw goes on the book. Gradually, by withholding the click and treat longer, you can get the dog to put both paws on the book. Most dogs will get very enthusiastic about pounding the book with both front paws like its just the coolest thing in the world.

You can then name it Paws Up, and you can prompt a Paws Up when you're on a walk and next to a curb, rock, or any raised object. 

This has great applications for reactive dogs, as something to do in response to seeing another dog--instead of reacting. If he has learned it well at home and has a strong reward history--and if you have done plenty of work with classical conditioning so he has the presence of mind to do anything when he sees another dog--Paws Up can be a great way for a dog to choose an alternative to reacting (while showing off his pedicure).

Are your dogs natural paw offerers? Or have you had to come up with some clever ways to get them waving and slapping?


  1. Mom wants us to try this paw up thing. Very cool and good job
    Benny & Lily

  2. awesome! I'm going to work on this with Kiba.

    I've moved on from where our behaviorist left off, just Look and Treat when dogs are coming. I've started having Kiba go through a mini-obedience routine when we see a dog so he doesn't care about the other dog at all eventually. This will be a nice additional behavior to add in to the routine.


  3. I completely get your fascination with paws. I think paws are the coolest thing on earth.
    Paws up is great - playfully redirecting a scaredy-dog's mind from the trigger typically works much better than a boring sit-and-watch-me.

  4. Frankie is very 'handy' with his paws:) He does shake hands and high 5's and when he's sitting next to me he lifts a front leg up so I can reach his chest easier to rub it:) This looks like a good, easy trick to teach him.

  5. What a fun trick. Will add it to the list for my future puppy :)


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