Training your dog basic commands and tricks enhances your bond with him. He learns that you are the pack leader and respects you through training sessions and his tasty treats for a job well done. The wave trick is fairly easy to teach to a dog, though he must first learn to sit and shake, because this command builds off these primary commands. Dogs learn at different rates, but you should be able to highlight his talents to your friends within a short time.
Phase 1 - “Sit” Command
Step #1 - Sit on the floor with some dog treats in a treat bag and call your dog to you. You can use a fanny pack or other item to put the treats in for training purposes.
Step #2 - Hold a treat in one hand at about your dog’s nose level, but just out of reach. Lift the treat upward over his head and toward his rear end and say “sit.” He should naturally place weight on his rear end and sit down. Do not give him the treat if he does not sit.
Step #3 - Push your dog’s rear end gently down to the floor with one hand while wielding the treat near his nose to show him what a “sit” is. As soon as he sits, praise him and give him the treat. Practice the sit command daily in short training sessions of about five minutes each until your pooch has it down pat.
Phase 2 - “Shake” Command
Step #1 - Sit on the floor and call your dog over to you. Give the “sit” command and reward him with a tasty dog treat.
Step #2 - Hold a treat in one hand and tap one of his paws while giving the command “shake.” Your dog should lift his paw slightly when you tap it. You may have to tap it a few times for him to lift it. As soon as he lifts his paw, reward him with a treat.
Step #3 - Lift your dog’s paw from the floor with one hand while holding a treat in the other hand if he does not lift it off the floor when you tap it while saying “shake.” Give him the treat immediately and lots of affection for being a good boy. Practice the “shake” command for a few days.
Phase 3 - “Wave” Command
Step #1 - Call your dog to you while you are sitting on the floor. Put him through his paces for the “sit” and “shake” commands, rewarding him with a treat after he executes each one.
Step #2 - Hold a treat in one hand and say “wave” after he lifts his paw to shake. Do not take his paw as you do in the “shake” command, but wave your hand at him while holding it at about his shoulder level.
Step #3 - Raise your hand higher so he will raise his paw higher in the air. He should mimic your action and wave his paw in the air. Give him the treat and lots of loving for learning a new trick. Practice the wave command daily until he performs on command without you waving your hand.
Important: If your dog loses interest while training, suspend the session until a later time. Dogs, especially puppies, have a short attention span and will not learn a trick if they lose interest.
By Mary Lougee
ASPCA: Training Your Dog
How to Love Your Dog: Sit
How to Love Your Dog: Shake Hands
Pet Wave: How to Train Dogs to Wave
How to Love Your Dog: Teach “Wave”
WebMD: Obedience Training for Dogs
PetPlace.com: Understanding the Human-Companion Animal Bond with Dogs
About the Author
Mary Lougee has been writing since 2004 and specializes in pets with publications in "Modern Dog" and "Pet Planet." Lougee gained extensive pet knowledge and expertise in care and rehabilitation, built a farm, and cares for rescue animals from small to large. She holds a bachelor's degree in management.