Cross Your Paws

We finally have it decent! Still needs some work with the actual cue, but she has the behavior down pretty well. I was surprised that it wasn't all that difficult to train. This was our third or fourth training session and I'm pretty pleased.



Experienced Member
Well done ! We've tried many times but we can't get anywhere. Fly is too nervous.

Hayley Thompson

Well-Known Member
Fly is silly lol too nervous-what a silly goose! Billy can totally learn this trick, its actually super simple, (or was for Riley) she knew how to shake paw, so asking for her hand while she was laying down was really easy for her....the part we are having trouble with his the verbal only cue. We are using "Be a lady" but that is taking much time for her to catch on to that, although when my boyfriend asks her to be a lady and he crosses his feet she'll do it for that physical cue along with putting your hand there...silly girl I have!!


Honored Member
so, first you taught Boo to target the blue disk, and then from there, you began the cross legs?
Isee! I wondered how to begin that trick!
for OTHER LEG, will you use same blue disk,
teach Boo to target a red disk with OTHER leg?
haha, thanks all! Yep, she knows how to "give a paw" so I managed to transition that into her swatting at the blue disc (by starting by holding the disc in my palm and offering my hand out to her). Once I had her doing that easily, I started rewarding only the swats with a particular paw. Little by little, I moved the blue disc across her other front leg until she was still using her left paw to touch the disc on the right side of her right leg. At that point, she was merely swatting and removing her paw. I let it be at that and called it quits for the day and somehow, by the next day, the behavior seemed to have sunk in enough that she would keep her paw on the disc for a little bit longer. I built on that, by rewarding the duration. As for the next paw (if I ever get to teaching it! haha!) I don't have a clue. :p The disc I was using is just a reusable lid for canned pet food, so maybe if I find another color, I could try that! But aren't dogs at least a little bit colorblind?


Honored Member
THANK YOU for such great details! I can't wait to start it !!
Yes, i think you are right, that dogs are a bit colorblind. I guess, you could use entirely different object altogether, for other leg.

maybe use Something else that is kinda flat, for other leg.....
or maybe, that is not even how it's done (different targets for different legs..not sure.)
.... i've never taught this trick.
Sara? Tx? Anyone? help!! lol


Honored Member
I just picked up this trick again. I taught this using my hand talget, because Cooper would shake off the paper target I used.
How I went about it... Uhm let's see.
First I would ask him to touch my hand with his right paw. Straight forward. Then I moved my hand a little towards the left paw, little by little. Finally I put my hand on the other side of the left paw, so he would have to reach over with his right paw. That is the point where I got stuck. For a while he would touch my hand with his left paw(why make the effort of using the right paw, when the left one is closer:rolleyes::D)
I stopped teaching that trick for a while and took it up, just yesterday. Rushed through al the steps and tried to fade out my hand target, since he did so well. And we have seen the light!!:cool: He did it without the handtarget!!!
I call that side "at ease"
Crossing to the other side is "relax" And he is finding that a little more difficult. He seems to be "right-handed"
But I simply use my other hand as a target.
I don't think it is necessary to use a different colour or object, but if you do, you can use a piece of paper, an old potholder(I found silicone potholders over here that I use in agility. Easy to keep clean and easy to carry around) Or(sorry I can't seem to find the translation for it, google gives me trivets???) the things you put your glass or cup on, when u put them on the table. Duh, coaster(excuse me, I am a bit rusty with my english:whistle:)


Honored Member
Okay, so far, i am using a folded up towel, (actually, a shamwow, ha ha)
and Buddy is now targetting the shamwow with his right paw. So far, it is too soon to begin moving it over to his left side yet, but, we will soon.

I have *always* introduced verbal cue from first lesson on, cuz i did not know any better.

but Now, i really think, my dog 'expects' a verbal cue from day one.

this time, i tried NOT saying anything, and Buddy seemed more confused about what we are doing. So then i threw in cue word "dance" and Buddy seems happier about the whole process now, ha ha, i am not kidding. He is sooooooooo used to a verbal cue from first lesson on, i think it seems weird to him to have total silence while he does his trick.

(we can't use 'cross' cuz we already use "cross" for a whole other trick)

My plan is, use the verbal cue "dance" as signal to cross right paw over left arm, fading out the shamwow towel at some point in the future.

tHEN I PLAN to DO STEP #2)-------I will stand up, and cross MY right leg over my left leg, and say 'dance' and dog will hear the verbal cue 'dance' and cross his right leg, too.

After Buddy is familiar that i cross MY leg and he hears the word 'dance' and crosses HIS LEG, too0---I then plan to fade out word "dance" so only the sight my leg crossing will trigger his crossing HIS leg too.

Before i advance to standing up, while working on right leg only---------------should i also teach LEFT leg crossover with whole separate word, like "River" ??? BEFORE i advance to standing??

or, do BOTH legs, with verbal cue to cross, while still sitting down,
and THEN stand up, and begin to transition BOTH legs from verbal cues to standing leg cues??

OR, should i stand up, get Buddy solid on crossing that right leg to sight of my right leg crossing, fade out word, and THEN start all over on floor again with his left leg???

Lol, i really DO think, cuz Buddy is sooooooooooo specific about his tricks, and cues, that i WILL have to use whole other separate item for his left paw to target....If i use same exact item for his left leg, he will be confused. Buddy is like that, VERY specific to a fault. To Buddy, the shamwow is for his RIGHT paw ONLY.....he won't understand the left paw on the shamwow. But, he'll be fine with left paw on potholder. He's like that.

do you see what i am asking? What order do i begin this left leg part of the trick???


wow - that was hard to digest but I think from the sound of it you are training to cross the right paw over the left whilst in a down position and your aim, I think is to eventually do this with the dog standing - is that correct?? If it were me I would also work on crossing the other leg from the position you started, ie the down. It is not uncommon to find one side is more co-ordinated than the other, as with us, writing with one hand is more natural but with practise we could develop and improve co-ordination with the other - it will just take longer to become proficient. With that in mind it is important to keep the awkward side exercises simple for a bit longer (ie make sure he/she is consistently targetting awkward paw before moving target across) so you can use that all important praise and encouragement. I use a different word - criss for one way - cross for the other, so dance and river would work fine or how about 'jive' coz its shorter and snappier.. .. good luck


Honored Member

so i finish up with the right leg COMPLETELY, all the way to where i am standing up,
and THEN
start on left leg?
or------------after i have completely trained the right leg cross over, while still on floor, (me, not the dog)
THEN also train his LEFT leg while i'm sitting on floor,
and then *I* stand up??
(yes, i was going to use criss-cross, but, he has whole other trick for 'cross' i'm going for river-dance, like the irish dance)

currently, i sit on floor to train Buddy to target his right paw on the towel....i want to be standing up for final trick, but, dog can lie down. *I* am the one standing up later on in the training...i hope.


I think it will be easier for the dog to start training the left paw cross whilst led down on the floor - in the same gradual progression plan, although it may take longer to grasp if he doesn't feel quiet so co-ordinated that side - so will need more time to practise it - hence the sooner you start - the sooner it will catch up (eventually) with the other paws progress - but that is just my opinion... You don't necessarily need to have one trick perfected before you start to train another....


Honored Member
LOL, i was hitting a road block on this trick.....Buddy now happily puts his right paw on the towel...but, when i begin to move the towel over towards his left side, he always uses his LEFT paw then, makes sense, but, not what i want.
So i'm slowing down the leftward movement of the towel, to help him understand, ONLY the right paw on the towel.

Today he looked quite disgusted and bored with the whole idea, so i upped the treats......trying various other types of treats......

still, he looks bored, is zoning out on me pretty darn quickly!!??.....

so next lesson, i upped the praise, enthusiastically and joyfully praising him profusely for putting his paw on the towel (we now have the towel between his legs, but so far, that is as far as we've got...) AND WA-LA! Buddy is NOW quite happy to practice putting his right paw on the towel wherever the towel is....he is now far more willing to keep working on putting his paw on the towel in various positions now that he is being enthusiastically PRAISED for it....

how cute is that? Buddy says "treats, schmeets! Gimme some PRAISE and i will keep working on this nonsense!" ha ha
It's like that thread, "What IS a reward to *your* dog?"

if i ever did get a camera, to make one of those step-by-step videos (I LOVE THOSE!) of how Buddy learned to cross his paws, everyone would have to turn the sound down to avoid getting nausea from all my verbal praising of Buddy.


Honored Member
I wanted to post, i hit upon a tip to train this cross legs to Buddy,
AFTER training him to target the folded towel with his right paw,
i now use thread-coated rubber band (intended for ponytails in hairdos)
and attach the towel to my foot.
For some reason, Buddy much prefers this to my holding the towel, or placing the towel, on the floor. For Buddy, putting his paw on the towel while it is on my foot, is more fun for him personally. this might only apply to JUST Buddy, though!!

PLus, this targetting the towel attached onto my foot will work out well as our final goal is for him to follow MY FOOT with HIS paw.

it's also easier, having the towel strapped onto my foot, to simply move my foot away after each time, than to keep replacing the towel by hand. anyway, thought i'd post that tip for anyone who is working on this trick.

I'm also simultaneously training him to "Get In" from Jean's Library of trick tutorials (above), using instead the cue word, "Left Side" and Buddy LOVES loves loves THAT trick. WHAT a handy cue to have him know. How have i ever made it this far without THAT cue??????????

but Buddy is not as fond of cross paws as he is of "Left Side". Buddy adores doing "Left Side" and much enjoys that one so much. He will practice that one endlessly, and 'got it' right away.

It is always cute to me to watch how obvious Buddy is in his strong preference for some tricks over other tricks.


Staff member
Oddly enough, We're working on Cross paws too. It always seemed like a simple trick, so I never got around to it, preferring to work on Oliver's more complicated tricks...

Well, for a dog that's been soooo easy to train, this is proving very difficult for Ollie. I've trained alot of paw targeting previously, using one paw or the other, but I've never specified a paw... He moves his whole body over so he migrated away from me, he tries to back up (cuz backwards tricks are waaayyy more fun! demented dog! LOL) he targets the paper easy enough, with whatever paw is handy.

I'm so used to taking shortcuts with Oliver, because he gets things so quickly, that I've confused him. So I am going to have to slow down and really work on solidifying his right paw only targeting... Silly guy.


Experienced Member
Sara, in a way, I'm glad to read you find it difficult with Oliver as Fly and I can't see the end of this trick and I must admit I gave up a bit and leave it for later. Fly is also easy to train and, as you said, maybe it's just us, humans, who forget to be more patient with them.


Honored Member
I'm also simultaneously training him to "Get In" from Jean's Library of trick tutorials (above), using instead the cue word, "Left Side" and Buddy LOVES loves loves THAT trick. WHAT a handy cue to have him know. How have i ever made it this far without THAT cue??????????

What trick is that, Tigerlily? I can't seem to find the trick you are refering to:oops: And I have absolutely no idea of what you are talking aboutO_o Can you give me a link to it??


Honored Member
How fun and interesting that so many of us are all working on same trick in same week!! Adds to the fun, doesn't it??
Yes, @Sara, i so understand, Buddy is SAME way-----sometimes, Buddy struggles with a cue that to ME, seems simple enough, while cues that i *think* will be quite complex, Buddy nails those effortlessly! Aren't dogs fascinating!?

When i began putting target on opposite side, Buddy used opposite paw, his chin, both paws, also squirmed his body into new positon to avoid crossing his legs, everything BUT crossing his paw! I was going too fast at first i guess. Plus, like i mentioed above, in trying to SOLIDIFY Buddy's understanding of RIGHT PAW ONLY, ---------in that not-challenging, boring training----Buddy got bored and seemed to think the whole idea was nonsense, let's go play instead, ha ha...

Buddy is working on his right leg ONLY at this point, i have not yet begun left paw training.
I found with Buddy, that when i went to move towel (or target item) from center of his paws, to the other side, ---------------that IF IF IF i placed item ON TOP OF his other foot, that messed Buddy up. HOwever, if i went towards END of his opposite foot,(THE TOE AREA) for some reason, Buddy continued to use only his Rpaw, as requested.

And then, from placing target item next to toe area of left foot, i went to outside of his left foot. NOt sure if that applies to any dog except Buddy, but if i placed the target item ON TOP OF the other paw--------that messed him up.

Buddy has now worked through his 'dislike' or frustration with cross-paws, and NOW happily participates whole heartedly, (he HAD been acting bored about the process, he has MOST expressive face). Buddy needed higher, more enthusiastic praise, which for HIM, is better than liver, to continue working on it....
I am out of liver right now, so i'm using tiny smears of peanut butter, i have an almost empty jar of peanut butter, JUST FOR THE DOG,
labelled it "Dog's!!",
hid it from everyone else,
and i can dip my finger in it for smear for rewards.

Buddy NOW is reliabley crossing his legs and targetting the towel with his R paw only. I have not yet begun to fade out the towel....

i feel pretty sure, for Buddy, i will have to use an entirely DIFFERENT object for his Left paw to target....someone around here said it is not necessary to use 2nd object for 2nd paw, but, i suspect, for Buddy, he WILL need entirely new object for his other paw. Buddy is VERY specific.

And, per Buddy's own custom, AFTER Buddy fully understands a cue, Buddy almost always tests the limits, by adding in or removing a step. He does this for one (1) entire lesson, and almost seems to smirk, if you can pictue a dog smirking. He KNOWS the cue now, but, will test to see, If i do this, do i get treat? no? okay then, if i add in THIS, do i get a treat? no? okay, how about THIS?
This is different from offered behaviors when BUddy is confused, and still trying to figure out the cue, but, it's hard to explain, but, i know that is Buddy doing his customary testing of how far a cue works/what all can be added in, -----AFTER he DOES understand the cue........

i know Buddy, and that is part of his learning process with tricks he did not originally like....he adds in/removes lil things, JUST TO CHECK if those things can be added in....
He never does this with tricks he loved right off, though. .....ONLY with cues he showed an obvious distaste for at first.


Honored Member
OH! OH!! Jean's cue for "Get In"-----------i can't believe how great that cue is, and how much Buddy LOVES that cue, right off, from first lesson, Buddy LOVED it.
Oddly, i only used clicker for first lesson or two, for Buddy to realize it IS a cue, not a game. I had to stop using a clicker, for this particular cue, as i myself became confused about WHEN to i left out the clicker as we progessed, very very very unusual for ME to find a cue i am not sure when to click....

You might feel the same way---- when you begin training "Get In" which WE call "Left Side"
Here is link: BE SURE TO READ JEAN'S WRITE UPS in Luring prior to starting. Lots of GREAT tips there.

"Get In" is the last listed trick on Level Two of the CLASSROOM (sign for CLASSROOM is at ^top^ of this page that you are looking at right now)

Since Buddy is soooooooooo specific, i use hand cue of TWO fingers pointing down, to make the arc in step one. I put the treat in between my two fingers.....
later, later, later, i put treat INSIDE my closed fingers, still with two fingers pointed down, and rest of my fingers curled into fist.

Now, i am NOW holding treat in my OTHER hand, and Buddy now follows my emtpy, "posed" hand in the arc, and now gets treated from my other hand. (Once, *i* messed up, and used only ONE finger, and Buddy did his Ta-Da!! bow, as one (1) finger pointing down ~IS~ Buddy's cue for Ta-Da!!

My dog has better memory than *i* DO...) We are now practicing this cue all over the house, and outdoors, as MY dog sometimes gets mistaken notion, he can ONLY do a trick inside the house, or in a certain room....sigh. So we are still practicing the cue in all various settings, and i am having other ppl do cue with Buddy, too.

He's learned this cue VERY quickly, and this cue is SUCH a great cue for so many things, as well as a position-starter for other tricks.
Jean's video ------in CLASSROOM--- on "GET IN"cue,
is SOOOOOOOOOO GREAT!! well, ALL of Jean's tutorials are AWESOME !!!

THANK YOU JEAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!