Dog Training

How to Train Your Dog to Say Hello

Although it’s not a trick that your dog really needs to know, an appealing
sit-and-paw trick at the right moment can sometimes win over onlookers who aren’t enthusiastic about dogs. Look on this as less of a trick than a public-relations exercise, and teach your pet to “Say Hello” willingly as soon as it’s suggested to him.


Teach your dog to offer his paw for a fist bump when someone suggests it to
him. Your dog will need to know the “Sit” command (see here) before you teach
him “Say Hello.”

A word of warning: Most dogs are sensitive about their paws, and a few are
extremely sensitive. If your dog turns out to be one of the latter, you may not be
able to overcome his nerves about having his paws touched—in which case, skip
this exercise and instead teach him to sit politely when meeting someone new.

  1. Stand facing your dog and start by asking him to “Sit.” Treat him as he sits.
  2. As soon as he’s in a sitting position, touch his upper leg on the side of his leading paw (see left). Most
    dogs will instinctively lift their paw at this point; if he doesn’t, go straight to step 3, but gently.
  3. As his paw lifts, slip your hand under it and gently hold it from underneath. Say “Say Hello” as you do.
    Hold it for just a second or two, gently shaking it, while offering a treat with your other hand. Don’t
    enclose his paw with your hand—you don’t want him to feel trapped.
  4. Practice regularly until he’s reacting directly to the verbal cue “Say Hello” without you needing to touch
    his leg.


To meet and greet in a way that will please even those who don’t like dogs.

If your dog has a tendency to jump up when greeting, you can use “Say Hello” to direct him into more acceptable behavior. Warn the person he is greeting to
touch him gently and not to grab at his paw. For a dog who is “paw shy,” the trick can also be helpful in building his tolerance for times when someone has to handle his paws—for example, to clip his nails. Finally, if you have a dog that isn’t an especially fast learner, “Say Hello” is easy to grasp and can therefore be used to build his confidence. You can practice it in between sessions when you’re trying to teach him more difficult things. It’s a two-stage exercise,although it’s simple, so you can use it as a bridge to multistage exercises.


I'm a professional dog trainer who is sharing my journey as I transition to positive reinforcement based dog training methods.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button