Sunday, April 7, 2013

Teacher's Pet: Wait! Your Paws are Muddy!

by Brianne Statz, CPDT-KA

It’s finally feeling like spring might be here to stay! A big YES + treat to Mother Nature! Warmer weather and extended sunlight mean more time to walk and play with the dogs outside. Our dog(s) are over-the-moon excited! However…all that melted snow also means muddy paws. How about teaching your dog to help you out and wipe his paws on a towel or mat?

This can often be taught quickly with some well-placed treats and a clicker (or marker word like “good” or “yes”). 


  1. Get out your towel or mat and have your dog sit-stay while he watches you place a few treats under the mat. 
  2. Release your dog to go get the treats.  Many dogs will quickly start pawing at the mat to get at the treats. 
  3. As soon as your dog starts pawing, mark (click or say your marker word) and reward with another treat on top of the mat. 
  4. After a few trials, stop putting treats under the mat and see if your dog will still try to paw at the mat. 
  5. Start adding a verbal cue like “wipe” before your dog starts pawing.
Practice, practice, practice for many repetitions! Pretty soon you can ask your dog to wipe when coming in from outside! Not only do you get to let your dog do all the work, but it’s also a cool trick to show off to friends and family.
Happy Training!

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