2 Easy Ways to Teach Dogs to Wipe Their Paws on Demand

By: David Codr

Published Date: May 6, 2024

wipe their paws

For this in home Omaha dog behavior training session we worked with 2 year-old Lab mix Remy; going over how to train a dog to wipe their paws.

I actually worked with Remi and his family over the course of a couple of sessions. We covered a number of dog behavior fundamentals like how to use a marker word, creative exercise tips, the importance of celebrating as well as building respect for one of the families children.

I had helped Remi with a resource guarding issue in a previous session with his family. It was great to hear that the dog behavior tips I had shared in our previous sessions were starting to pay off. His mom reported that Remi was learning he didn’t need to guard his food.

I recommended his guardian purchase a snuffle mat and start using it outside in the backyard. Food guarding was activity that causes Remi to guard. Normally as a dog behavior expert, my recommendation is to avoid things that create dog behavior problems.

Resource guarding is an intermittent problem and not happening regularily makes it harder to fix. Addititonally Remy’s home is cozy and small spaces are nto the best place to fix resource guaridng. But adding food to a snuffle mat in the back yard gives us space to practice. And knowing that Remy will guard the food in the snuffle mat means we can pick when his humans want to work on that problem.

I recommended that the family practice this exercise to stop food guarding a couple of times a week when the neighborhood is quiet and the yard is not muddy.

How to Train a Dog to Wipe Their Paws

The mud in the back yard lead us to one of the last lessons Remy’s guardians wanted help with. No one likes dirty paws so I went over how to teach a dog to wipe their paws on cue.

No one likes it when muddy dog paws leave tracks and dirt in the home. While many canines are OK with us wiping dog paws, Remi had given him some cut off signals. Anytime a dog is giving cut off signals, it’s important to find a way to make it into a positive.

Training a dog to wipe their paws is pretty easy. All you need are some high-value treats and a towel. If you want to learn an easy way to get your dog to wipe their paws, you should definitely check out the free positive dog training video below.

By teaching Remy he gets a treat when he uses his paws, we were able to mark and reward that behavior. It took a little patience and coaxing, but we were able to teach this dog to wipe their paws on the towel. Presto, clean dog paws with no effort! An easy way of cleaning paws. And you dont have to use warm water or dog shampoo.

His guardian can use a paper towel with a bit of soapy water if they want for the back paws. This way, after Remy wipes his front paws on the floor mat, his family can use a separate towel to clean the back paws. His guardians thought this was agood idea to clean a dog s toes.

What’s great is that anyone can do this. You dont have to be an experienced paw cleaner or trim the hair. And when you get finished your dog has some impressively clean paw pads and doesnt track in dirt. Easier than using dog booties although maybe not as stylish.

This is a great way to clean dirty dog paws if they do not like having their paws touched or handled. In the last part of the free dog paw cleaning video, I go over how you can use a little counter conditioning to help a dog feel comfortable with people touching their back paws.

Summary of Teaching a Dog to Wipe Their Paws

  • Introduce and load a marker word.
  • Get some stinky dog treats
  • Place a small pile of treats under a towel
  • Place your hands on either side of the towel to hold it in place
  • Tap the location of the treats and say your dogs name
  • When your dog noses or touches where the treats are, mark and reward
  • Reach under the towel and grab one treat for each successful touch
  • Move the tree pile location under the towel
  • When you can predict your dog is going to paw, add a cue.
  • Say the cue word just before your dog paws at the towel
  • After your dog paws towels on cue, add a towel to a floor mat
  • Repeat the process until your dog wipes its paws on the floor mat
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This post was written by: David Codr