How to teach your dog paw

by PDSA | 1 March 2021 #Training/behaviour

Teaching your dog paw is a great way to spend some quality time with your four-legged friend as we patiently wait for lockdown restrictions to ease.

This simple command could help to boost your pooch’s health, flexibility and concentration too! Here’s our step-by-step guide on how to teach your dog paw.


Choose a tasty treat

Firstly, choose your pooch’s favourite treat to use as a tasty reward for giving paw.


Pick a verbal command

Secondly, select a short verbal command for this trick, such as “paw”. Whichever command you choose, use this consistently with your dog to avoid confusion.


Find a quiet area to teach your dog paw

Then, head to a quiet area where there are no distractions. Make sure there's no other people, pets or toys around so your dog is focused on you.



Command your dog to sit. If they're already sitting, it'll be easier for your pooch to give paw. Not sure how to do this? Here’s our advice on how to teach your dog to sit.


Reveal the treat

Next, take your dog’s favourite treat and hold it in your hand by creating a fist. Make sure they know it’s there by holding it near to your dog, so they can smell it.


"Good boy!"

After that, wait for your dog to lift their paw in attempt to get the treat from your hand. Then, even if they only slightly lift their paw, take your dog’s paw, praise them and give them the treat. Repeat this until they understand that this action gets them a reward!


Introduce your command

Finally, once your dog understands that giving their paw gets them the treat in your fist, introduce your command e.g. “paw”. Say the cue when you close your fist and they begin to lift their paw. Remember, stick to one simple command! Repeat this until they start to understand that the command and action both work to get the treat.

You should now have mastered how to teach your dog paw. And if they haven't got the hang of it just yet, don't worry! Practice makes perfect, so keep trying our step-by-step process until they work it out. Once they've nailed this, you could even make it a bit more challenging by asking your dog to give paw in different settings where there are more distractions.

As soon as your dog has learnt the trick you won’t need to give food treats every time they give paw, only occasionally, just to reaffirm the message. In between, give lots of praise and attention as the reward instead. Treats can quickly add up and they shouldn’t make up more than 10% of your pet’s daily food allowance.

Share this article on:  PDSA | 1 March 2021


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