Dog Book Reviews

How to Teach Your Dog to Wipe Their Feet

If you watched ITV's latest pet show, 'Teach My Pet To Do That' hosted by Alexander Armstrong, you may have been tempted to teach your dog something new.

Assisted by trainers Nando Brown and Jo-Rosie Haffenden, each week we saw dogs and cats (including the duo below) and other animals set off to learn a new skill taught to them by their owners, before showing off what they had learnt to friends, family and fellow animal lovers.

Now, to help you teach your dog (or cat) something new, the animal training duo have released two new books to help you learn from the comfort of your home. Whether you choose to share off what your pet has learnt to friends, family or Youtube watchers, is entirely up to you!

Each book includes a foreword by Alexander Armstrong as he wrestles with whether he's a dog or a cat person, sharing stories of his family pets and what he thinks makes the dog special (in part he puts it down to their "phenomenal brain"), as well as the lesson which taught him to promise that he would never get someone else to train an animal for him. If he could do it himself - he would.

In our first of three excerpts from the book, we look at a trick we're told is simpler than it might seem - how to teach your dog to wipe their feet, which might actually be brilliantly timed as we head into the muddier months of the year.

So, let's get started.

How to Teach Your Dog to Wipe Their Feet

The end goal is to be able to ask our dogs to wipe their own feet when they come in from a muddy walk in the woods.

Time to train: 3 weeks at 1 x session per day
Type of trick: Household help
Application: No more dirty paw prints
What you will need: Tough floor mat

The benefits are obvious! No more grief from the other half about ‘them bloomin’ dogs’! The training plan is very similar to the ‘ring a bell’ trick, so we will keep this one brief.

Step 1

Show the dog a reward they love and then place it under the mat.

Stand on the mat with your feet at the edges to keep it in place. Allow the dog to do its thing, but this time you’re looking for any scratching/digging behaviour on the mat. Once you spot it, mark and reward.

Step 2

Now just pretend to put the goods under the mat, wait for the scratch, click, treat and repeat.

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Step 3

When you’re willing to bet us £20 that as soon as you put the mat down the dog will go over and dig at it, then you’re ready to add a cue.

Remember the cue comes before anything else on every repetition. So ask for ‘wipe your feet’ and then mark and reinforce the dog each time for performing the foot scratching.

Sounds simple enough doesn't it?

Check back in next month for our next trick to learn – and in the meantime, let us know how you’re getting on on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram - on too!

Teach My Cat To Do That and Teach My Dog To Do That are published by Boxtree on 2nd November 2017 - available online and in bookstores.

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