The struggle is real. We as pet owners know it well.... muddy paws! That's right - adorable little paw prints turn not so adorable when they are tracked all through your house, onto your furniture and everywhere else you can imagine. So what do you do? While there are several ways to clean those furry toes before coming inside (which I will share on my upcoming post this Friday at 4knines.com ) one of my favs would definitely be teaching your dog to wipe his own paws at the door. I hear you asking... but how? Lets go!
How to teach your dog to wipe his paws:
- To start, you simply need a towel, treats and your pooch! - A blanket will work as well
- Place the towel on the floor by your dog. If necessary, place a small treat under the towel.
- Draw his attention to the the towel by tapping your finger there, or whatever works best for you.
- Wait until your dog places his paws on the towel. Even the slightest touch to the towel with his paw, quickly praise and treat. (Or click and treat if you do clicker training)
- Continue this until he realizes that he gets a yummy treat every time his paws touch the towel.
- Side note: do not rush your dog to catch on. Take your time, and break it down into short training sessions once a day if need be.
Once your dog understands the concept of the towel, its time to change it up a bit.
Your going to want to advance him on how he is touching the towel with his paws.
What I mean by that is, no more treats for simply touching the towel. Now you have to get him to paw at the towel AKA scratch at the towel. Your dog should catch onto this quickly because he will begin to wonder why he's not getting a treat for simply touching the towel now, so he should be a bit more vigorous with his paws on the towel in order to get what he wants. This is exactly what you want to happen. Once he shows more paw movement on the towel, praise (click) and treat with an extra yummy high value treat.
Once again, take your time, this may take more than one training session.
KEY INFO - always use the word "wipe" or "wipe your paws" the second he touches his paws to the towel.
Remember - ignore anything else he does with the towel at this point. He may try to roll on it, sit on it, nose at it... ignore all of it until he goes nuts on it with those paws!!! Reward him like never before!! Repeat the process as much as you can while it is still fun for both of you.
Now, you are well on your way to a cleaner floor!
Take that same towel, and place it on top of the mat you wish him to wipe his feet on in the end.
Continue your training in this spot. When you think he's ready, remove the towel and use the mat!
If he doesn't understand, put the towel back and let him learn at his own speed. Remove towel again the next day.
An important thing to remember is not to only use this training on rainy muddy days. You want to keep this fresh in his mind, so teach him to wipe those paws every time he comes in from a potty break!
Some people tend to skip the towel and teach on a floor mat to begin with, which can work, however I find using a towel he can move around with his paws seems to keep their attention better during the first part of training this trick.
That's it, thats all! Good luck with your training!
If you have anything to add, or any questions, please feel free to ask me in the comment section!
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