Activities with Bentley: Teaching to Wave. The full episode of The East’s Daily Download with this activity aired Monday, June 15th.

All you will need for today’s activity is a clicker and your dog’s food or treats. If you have not used a clicker before, I would recommend watching our previous video on teaching your dog how to close a door using clicker training. 

When I first taught this trick to Bentley, I very closely followed the steps Amy Pishner recommends on her ValorK9 Academy YouTube channel. If you’d like to know more about teaching this trick to your dog, I would recommend checking out her video!

Begin with your dog in a sit facing you. Your dog will need to know the “shake” command prior to teaching this. If you haven’t taught this yet, don’t fret! Simply hold out your hand in front of the dog and wait to see what he does. Most dogs will likely touch your hand with their nose. Encourage them to use their paws by gently tapping their paw once or twice, then holding your hand in front of them again. Click and treat as soon as he moves his paw. It’s okay if he doesn’t touch your hand with his paw the first few times. Simply lifting his paw is a great start. You can move your hand further down and click only when he touches your hand with his paw. Eventually he will learn this is what you are looking for.

Now that he knows the “shake” command, next, you’ll want to hold out your hand like you are asking for a “shake,” but don’t give the command. Here, you just want him to know the action you are asking from the hand motion you give. Click and treat once he offers his paw. The better your dog knows the “shake” command, the more successful they will be at recognizing what you are asking for.

Gradually move both your hand and body away from him as you continue to give the hand motion for “shake” without the command. Continue to click and treat each time he offers his paw. Amy Pishner recommends clicking when your dog’s paw is at the highest point in their “wave.” 

After 6-8 successful repetitions where he offers his paw almost immediately, you can begin to name the command and pair it with a hand motion. I like to use “wave.”

If you’d like to add more of a “waving” motion to this trick, simply hold out your hand until he offers a second wave, then click and treat. He’ll quickly learn that two waves gets him a treat the quickest!

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