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How to Teach a Dog to Wave

Learn about teaching a dog the wave trick.

Many people have fun teaching their dog fun tricks. Some of the most popular ones are: speak, shake, and play dead. A lesser-known but equally amusing trick that dogs can learn is to wave at people.

Not only that, but you can also teach your dog to wave at people as an alternative to jumping on them as a greeting.

What Does a Dog Wave Look Like?

A dog that waves is sitting down and lifting one front paw into the air to about shoulder level or higher. Before your dog can learn to wave, she must know how to sit reliably. Learn how to teach that here: "How to Teach Your Dog to Sit."

Additionally, a dog that already knows how to shake may be easier to teach how to wave.

Steps for Teaching a Dog to Wave

Here are the steps for teaching the wave command. Remember, stay positive and reward for the behavior you want rather than punishing anything you don't want.

  • First, have your dog sit.
  • Next, put a treat in front of the dog at their chest level.
  • If your dog lifts a paw, reward immediately, even if it's a tiny lift. (You can increase your reward response time by using clicker training.)
  • If your dog tries to sniff or get the treat with her mouth or moves out of the sit position, hold the treat and get the dog back in the sit position. Then, try holding the treat a bit lower toward the dog's paw.
  • If your dog does try to reach for the treat, be sure to move your hand, so she doesn't touch it. Your goal isn't to have her touch you with a paw; it's to have her wave.
  • As soon as your dog lifts a paw, even a little, even by accident, reward with a treat and praise. Once she gets the idea it's a paw lift you want, she'll start doing it more.
  • At that point, work on getting her to lift the paw higher by starting with the treat higher.
  • Don't forget that your dog should stay in the sit position while lifting the paw, so don't reward if she gets up. Just put her back in sit and start again.
  • Stay positive.
  • Once your dog is raising the paw the desired height, add a command such as, "Wave," or "Say hi."
  • Eventually, your dog should respond to the command without the treat being used as a lure.

Remember to end each short training session on a positive note, even if you must back up in your training to be able to reward her.

You May Also Like These Articles:

Clicker Training for Dogs: An Overview

3 Commands That Could Save Your Dog's Life

Teach Your Dog the Leave It Command

How to Teach a Dog to Play Dead

How to Teach Your Dog to Play Tug-of-War

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