Train & Teach Dog To Cross Paws

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Key Takeaways

  • Regular, brief training sessions in a positive environment can help your dog master the paw-crossing trick.
  • Consistent reinforcement with treats and praise encourages dogs to perform new behaviors like crossing their paws.
  • Patience and understanding of your dog's unique learning pace are essential to successful and enjoyable training sessions.

As dog lovers and trainers, teaching our dogs new tricks is a ton of fun. One example you can try is to teach your dog to cross their paws.

To teach a dog to cross paws, introduce the command and get the dog in a down position. Next, you can lure the dog and use a treat. Put the dog’s paws over one another, then reward the dog with a treat. When doing this, use a cue word so they will remember the trick and positive reward.

We'll walk you through step-by-step instructions that cater to any dog breed or size, ensuring success for you and your furball. The skill showcases your dog's intelligence and obedience, provides mental stimulation, and helps improve their paw dexterity. So get ready, and let's begin our journey toward transforming your beloved pup into a "paw-crossing" superstar.

In this article

How To Train & Teach Dog To Cross Paws (Complete Guide)

The Cross Paws Trick is a fun and impressive skill for your dog to learn. It adds to their repertoire of tricks and helps them stay in shape by stretching their shoulders.

When teaching this trick, it's essential to break it down into small, manageable steps to make it easier for your dog to understand. We believe that patience and consistency are key when training your dog.

Start using a targeting method to guide your dog into the desired position. You can use a small, flat object approximately the size of their paw to help teach them this behavior.

To begin, get your dog's attention using their favorite treats. Teach them to touch the target object to get a treat. Once they have that down, place the target on the side of their body where you want them to cross their paw. Follow these exact steps below for the best results.

Introducing the Command

To begin teaching your dog to cross its paws, we first need to introduce the command. Start with your dog in a comfortable "down" position. It’s also possible to try this in a sitting position. See if you can start by getting your dog to maintain eye contact.

Gently hold one paw and place it over the other paw while saying "cross." If your dog keeps their paw in this position, praise and reward them with a treat. Start with the left paw and then try the right paw.

Luring Your Dog

Next, we'll use a lure to help guide your dog to cross its paws. With a tasty treat in hand, draw your dog's attention to the treat and slowly move it around their body so they shift their weight and cross their paws.

As soon as they achieve the desired position, praise them and give them a treat. Repeat this process several times, and you can use the same process to teach them a few basic commands besides just paws crossed tricks.

Fading the Lure

Once your dog understands the movement, it's time to fade the lure. Reduce the use of treats to guide your dog into the crossed paws position. Don’t hold the treat too high because it may force the dog back onto its hind legs.

Instead, use verbal cues and body language to communicate the action you want your dog to take. Gradually phase out the treats so they rely more on your commands. But when your dog brings their paws to the correct position, reward them.

Adding Verbal Cue Word

When your dog constantly crosses their paws using body language cues, start incorporating the verbal command "cross." Say the command as they make the movement and immediately reward them with praise and a treat once they cross their paws.

Reward and Reinforce

Remember to reward and reinforce your dog's successes throughout the training process. Use positive reinforcement such as praise, treats, and affection to encourage and motivate your dog.

This will help them associate the action with a pleasing outcome and make them more likely to repeat the behavior. Teaching your dog these commands helps their communication skills too.

Practice in Different Environments

Finally, our dogs must learn to perform the trick in various environments. Practice the crossed paws command in different settings, such as indoors, outdoors, and around distractions.

This will help your dog understand that they should perform the trick no matter the situation.

Following these steps, we can successfully teach our furry friends to cross their paws. Remember to be patient, consistent, and positive throughout the training process.

Teaching Variations For Your Dog To Cross Paws

In this section, we will explore two different variations of training your dog to cross its paws: Alternate Paws and Cross Paws While Standing. Both methods have unique steps and benefits, ensuring a well-rounded and fun training experience for your canine companion.

Alternate Paws

Teaching your dog to alternate paws is a great way to build upon their existing "shake" or "paw" skill. First, have your dog sit in front of you with their attention focused on you.

Hold a treat close to the dog in your hand and present it to your dog with an open palm. Say the command "alternate" while gently tapping on the opposite paw they usually use for the "shake" command. When your dog lifts the alternate paw, reward them with the treat.

It's essential to be patient while teaching this variation, as some dogs may take longer to learn this new skill. Remember always to praise and reward your dog when they successfully perform the trick.

Cross Paws While Standing

Training your dog to cross its paws while standing can be achieved through target training. Begin by placing a target on the ground and warm up your dog by having them touch it with one paw.

When your dog is comfortable touching the target, slowly start moving it to the side until you notice your dog extending their paw across the other paw to reach the target. Use a clicker or a vocal command, such as "yes," to mark the correct behavior.

As they get better at the trick, you can increase the challenge by moving the target further away. Remember to use positive reinforcement and be consistent with your training sessions for the best results.

Common Issues When Teaching Dog To Cross Paws

There are a few reasons why your dog could struggle with this command.

Lack of Interest

Sometimes, our dogs might not show interest in learning to cross their paws. To pique their curiosity, try these tactics:

  • Use high-value treats that your dog loves
  • Conduct training sessions in a quiet, distraction-free environment
  • Break up the lesson into short, manageable sessions


Dogs, like us, can get impatient when learning something new. To keep your dog focused:

  • Keep training sessions short and sweet (5-10 minutes)
  • Celebrate small victories by praising and rewarding progress
  • Remain calm and patient while teaching

Confusion with Other Commands

Confusion with other commands is common when teaching a dog to cross its paws. To reduce confusion:

  • Use a unique cue for the "cross paws" command
  • Avoid consecutive training of similar commands in the same session
  • Gradually introduce similar cues only after the new command has been mastered

Remember, practice makes perfect. With patience, repetition, and positive reinforcement, your dog will master crossing their paws in no time.

3 Tips For Teaching Dog To Cross Paws

Training your dog to cross its paws can be a delightful experience, adding a fun trick to your dog's repertoire and strengthening the bond between you both. Here are some top tips to help you teach your dog to cross paws.

1. Create a Positive Environment

A calm, relaxed environment free from distractions is ideal for training your dog. Your pet should be at ease during training sessions, ready to focus on you and your commands.

Trying to train a dog to do anything is impossible if there’s a lot of noise and distractions. This is even more true when teaching the cross pasts trick because the dog should sit. It will also keep your dog safe and more engaged.

2. Keep Training Sessions Brief

Dogs, especially puppies, have short attention spans. Keeping sessions short (5-10 minutes) but frequent (multiple times a day) can help maintain their interest and aid learning.

Try to get them to hold the pose for a few seconds, then repeat. Avoid long training sessions, especially for younger puppies, because they will struggle to maintain focus.

3. Practice Regularly

The old saying "practice makes perfect" holds here. Regular practice will help your dog remember and master the trick.

Practicing regularly helps to reinforce and solidify the behavior you're teaching. Each time your dog successfully performs the trick, it strengthens the neural pathways associated with that action, making it more of a habit.

How Long Does It Take To Train & Teach Dogs To Cross Paws?

Generally speaking, teaching a dog a new trick, like crossing its paws, can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks or sometimes even a few months.

But this varies greatly depending on several factors, such as the dog's age, learning speed, previous training experience, and the consistency of the training sessions.

Puppies often have shorter attention spans but are usually more eager to learn new tricks, so with consistent training, they may pick up the trick fairly quickly. However, older dogs might take a bit longer, mainly if they're not used to learning new commands.

In addition, each dog has their own learning pace. Some might pick up the trick after just a few sessions, while others might need more time and practice to grasp the concept entirely.