How to Train Your Dog to Say Goodbye

Medium
1-4 Weeks
Fun

Introduction

Once you and your dog have mastered basic commands, you can move on to fun party tricks that will make her the star of the show. Teaching her to "say goodbye" as friends and family leave after a get-together or when she's leaving her friends at the dog park will bring smiles and laughs for anyone lucky enough to get a wave.

Training your dog to 'say goodbye' is the perfect next trick for the two of you to try, and it's very close to other tricks you've likely mastered such as 'shake' and 'stay'. Learning new tricks is a fantastic way for you to bond and to make sure your dog is getting plenty of mental stimulation. 

Defining Tasks

This is a great trick for dogs of all ages and breeds to learn. Younger dogs and working breeds may pick up the command more quickly, but any dog can learn to 'say goodbye' with enough time and patience. This isn't a beginner trick, and your dog will already need to know how to 'sit', 'stay', and to 'shake' before you attempt this trick.

Only practice this trick when your dog is focused and ready to learn. If she's anxious, excited, or distracted it will be nearly impossible to teach her the command. Make sure you only practice saying goodbye for five to 10 minutes at a time. This trick takes concentration and your dog can easily get fatigued. If you stick with it and have patience,  you'll soon have a fun new trick to try out at your next get together.

Getting Started

Training your dog to 'say goodbye' doesn't require much equipment beyond a good attitude and willingness to learn. There are a few things you'll need to have on hand.
  • A quiet place to learn with no distractions.
  • Tasty treats to give your dog as a reward.
  • A clicker if you choose to use clicker-training.
  • A timer to make sure you don't practice for too long.

Here are three different methods to teach your dog to say goodbye. Read them through and choose the best one for you and your dog. With time and consistency, your pup should be saying goodbye in no time.

The Clicker Training Method

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Step
1
Load the clicker
Make sure your dog knows the clicker means food is coming. Click the button and immediately give her a treat. Repeat this step 10 to 15 times until she knows the treat is coming as soon as she hears a click.
Step
2
Ask for a 'shake'
Ask your dog to 'shake' and reach out your hand.
Step
3
Leave her hanging
Stop your hand just short of her paw so her paw is still out and ready for the shake.
Step
4
Reach your hand a little higher
Reach your hand higher so she'll reach her paw up, but don't make contact yet.
Step
5
Click for the wave
When she starts to wave her paw as she reaches for your hand, click and treat her. Repeat this step for several sessions.
Step
6
Introduce 'say goodbye'
Once she is comfortable giving you the wave, you can introduce the "say goodbye" command right before the click and treat.
Step
7
Phase out the click and treat.
Slowly stop clicking for every wave. Start with every third wave, then just the really good ones until she waves anytime you tell her "say goodbye."
Recommend training method?

The Affection Method

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Step
1
Ask your dog to shake
Start by asking your dog to shake. Each time you take her paw, say "good girl" and give her a pat.
Step
2
Hold your hand up
Next ask her to shake and hold your hand up high. She should reach up for your hand. When she does shake your hand up high, pat her and tell her "good girl."
Step
3
Take your hand away
When she has mastered this, take your hand away instead of taking her paw after you give the 'shake' command.
Step
4
Reward the wave
She might wave her paw around or reach out for you, and when she does, say "good girl" and give her a treat.
Step
5
Practice
Practice asking for a 'shake' and rewarding the wave with attention until she's comfortable and easily understands what you are asking.
Step
6
Introduce the command
Continue the steps as you have been doing, but this time introduce "say goodbye" as she waves her paw and before you give her attention.
Step
7
Remove the 'shake' command
After she begins to understand "say goodbye," stop initiating the command with "shake." Raise your hand up and tell her "say goodbye." Give her lots of attention when she waves her paw. Don't be afraid to repeat these steps a few times until she understands.
Recommend training method?

The Hand Signal Method

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Step
1
Start with 'shake'
Start by asking your dog to 'shake'.
Step
2
Reach high
When your dog puts her paw out to shake, reach your hand just above your head and encourage her to reach up. Reward her when she does.
Step
3
Reward the wave
As she's reaching up, move your hand around until she starts to wave. When you get a good wave, give her a treat.
Step
4
Introduce the verbal cue
Continue following the steps, but this time when she waves tell her "say goodbye" and then give her a treat.
Step
5
Add the hand signal
Once she understands the verbal cue "say goodbye," introduce the hand signal. As you say the cue, wave your right hand from left to right and giver her a treat.
Step
6
Remove the verbal cue
Once she is waving easily with you cuing her verbally and with your hand, take away the verbal cue and just use your hand gesture. She should be able to follow along and give you a wave back.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

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