clap your paws?


New Member
Hey guys, my name is Alyssa and I work with a program called Dogs for Autism (DFA raises and trains service dogs for families with children with autism. index)

My current trainee is a 6month old English Shepherd.

Occassionally, we have a select few of our dogs go to ABA therapy sessions. I'd like to teach Conner (my trainee) a series of 3 tricks that the kids in therapy are asked to do in their first session.

The three are:
Touch your nose, Clap your hands, Stomp the floor.

I have two of them complete, but I can not figure out a way to teach him to sit up and clap his paws together. Any ideas?


Experienced Member
some dogs naturally paw at the air when they are in a beg position. If I ask my corgi to wave while he is begging he moves both paws and it kinda looks like clapping. Otherwise I have seen dogs hold an object in between their paws while begging so perhaps you could teach that and then move to a small post it not so he learns to move his paws together. ???


Staff member
I would teach a beg first then after they start getting their balance start shaping them for moving their front paws. Get it to where they can do both paws then shape towards paws being closer together.


Experienced Member
If you're stil looking for an answer to your question of shaping the holding of an object...

I first teach the dog to wrap it's foot around a pole. Prety easily done, and can be done while the dog is sitting. I would then transition to a pole while in a beg position. Then switch to a different object like a water bottle. I've never done it with the post it note, but I suppose it wouldn't be any different if the dog already knew the concept.


Well-Known Member
I taught one of my dogs to clap by encouraging him to use his paws to catch a large ball. Once he was happy to jump up and catch it from his back legs, I started keeping the toss lower (so he wouldn't need to jump), and then having him sit while catching it. Then I'd pretend to toss it as I gave the command, he'd 'clap', and I'd quickly move the ball into position and hold it there to let him steady himself, then treat him after he 'won' his game by catching the ball. Eventually I completely faded the ball.