Teach Your Dog to Wave With 12 Easy Steps

teach your dog to wave, teach dog to wave
Image: Courtesy of Barney Moss via Flickr (CC 2.0)

One of my favorite tricks to teach a dog is “wave”.  Most dogs can perform this wave trick, provided they are able to sit straight, with even weight on both sides of their body.  You will need soft, chewy treats that your dog loves, a clicker or verbal mark, such as the word “yes” and a little patience.

How To Teach Your Dog To Wave Instructions

1.  Ask your dog to sit.

2.  With one treat in your closed hand, hold it under your dog’s muzzle, close to him, but do not release the treat.

3.  Watch his paws, and as soon as one paw lifts off of the ground, even slightly,  click or say “yes” and release the treat.

4.  Repeat steps 1 through 3 until your dog is lifting his paw nicely as soon as you hold your fist under his muzzle.

5.  Now you are ready to add the cue “wave”.

6.  Stand up straight and say the word “wave” as you wave your hand from side to side.  Say “wave” only once while visually waving in front of your dog.  Then place your hand back at your side.

7.  Pause for about 3 seconds, then move your closed fist under his muzzle and click or say “yes” when he lifts his paw.

8.  Repeat steps 6 and 7, making sure you pause before moving your fist under his muzzle.  At some point during the pause, your dog will lift his paw and “wave”.

9.  You may have to encourage the behavior a few more times (moving your fist under his muzzle) after waving, but it will not be long before your dog is happily waving at you when you cue him to do so.

10.  Be sure to click or say “yes” and reward every time you cue your dog to do this trick.  Do not click and reward your dog if you have not asked for the behavior!  In order to get any behavior reliably on cue, you should only click and treat your dog if you have asked for (cued) the behavior.

11.  Once your dog is waving on cue, continue to practice the cue daily, and gradually move your body a few inches each day until you are asking your dog to wave while you are standing beside him, rather than in front of him.

12.  The next time you have company over, you can stand next to your dog while you both “wave good-by” to your guest.


Susan Giordano is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer and owner of K9U Training. She is a professional member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT). Susan graduated from Pat Miller’s Peaceable Paws Intern Academy, one of the country’s most respected and comprehensive dog trainer programs. Susan believes in doing no harm, emotionally or physically. Dog training should be fun and pain-free for all involved, dogs and humans. To learn more about Susan, please visit www.k9utraining.com