Dogs–A New Rain Dance?

As the rain gauge is reading 2.5 inches, we are celebrating. However, that means wet dog paws are walking through doors all around our fair city. So, it’s once again time for a training tip.

In order to keep your floors from becoming damp and muddy messes, there are several things you can do besides lay out towels, comforters, sheets and old bath mats to soak up the excess grime.

With so many fosters, we’ve tried different approaches. See what works for you and your dog(s).

  1. Present paw. Present other paw. Back paw. One of the easiest ways to start cleaning paws is by having your dog lift his paw for you to wipe. If you’ve taught a high five or a shake hands, use that command to assist in wiping paws. Then it’s just a matter of training to present other paw. Most dogs can learn a command for front or back paw and other paw. It’s a matter of patience and repetition. Put the treats down folks. Your dog will learn just as easily with your making a big fuss over how awesome they are and playing with the dog after five or ten minutes of training. At the end of training session play with your dog and his favorite toy. You don’t have to wait for a rainy day to teach your dog. Five minutes twice a day will be enough to get your dog presenting a paw to be wiped within just a few days.
  2. Do a little dance (or just turn). If you are a little lazy like me (or stated another way you don’t like to bend down), then there are several ways to get your dog to wipe his paws. Lay a large mat at the back door. You can use a towel or old comforter if you aren’t worried about slipping, or if you remember to push it out of the way before stepping on it. You can actually teach a wipe your paw command, but I have found that it’s just as easy to use some obedience commands at the door to accomplish the same thing. After basic obedience, I train the turn command. That means the dog is to change directions (perform a u-turn) on command. You do not turn, but you ask (and at first assist the dog with direction using the lead/leash) the dog into the turn. Have the dog walk two to three steps and issue a turn command again, while guiding with the leash. Soon the dog will not need your leash guidance. After the dog learns to do turns on the leash, you can reinforce the behavior without a leash. So, when your dog has wet paws, have him do some turns on the mat/towel to effectively wipe his paws.
  3. Do a little dance (spin or twirl). Just like teaching a turn, you can teach a spin (or we call it twirl). This is leading your dog in a tight circle while walking forward. Again, you do not circle, just have the dog do a tight spin. You can get a dog to spin by using the leash or using his favorite toy. Use the repetition and reward method as recommended in two above. Transition to spins off leash, and then you can issue the command at the door on the mat or towel.

Remember clear commands in normal tones. Help your dog by giving clear signals with the leash. Patience. Repetition. Reward.

Let me know how it goes!

Wipe those paws.

LK Greer