Search Menu

AKC GoodDog! Helpline Trainer Milena Barreto has taught her Standard Poodle, Phoebe, dozens of tricks, and they entertain with her repertoire during their therapy dog visits to hospitals and assisted living centers.

Here she tells us how to teach a cute one: Cross Your Paws!

This is an easy trick to teach your dog when she is relaxing beside you.

Hold one paw, very gently, and put it over the other paw, saying “CROSS.”

If she keeps her paw in this position, praise and give her a treat.

Repetition is very important, but don’t overdo it! Have several short sessions and always finish on a good note. After quite a few short repetitions, increase the time that her paws remain crossed, waiting a few more seconds each time before giving her the treat.

If your dog naturally likes to cross her paws, you can also just say “CROSS,” praise and treat every time you spot her lying down with crossed paws. With time, she will do it every time you say it.

If you want to take the trick to a more advanced level, you can teach your dog to cross the right or left paw on cue.

Start by saying “CROSS RIGHT” and indicating her right paw with a slight tap. If she gets it wrong, just do not reward and indicate the right paw again, rewarding when she lifts the right one.

Once she is 100% doing this correctly with the right paw, you can then teach her to cross the left paw, saying “CROSS LEFT.”

Trick training is fun and a great bonding experience for both dog and owner. Have fun!


The AKC GoodDog! Helpline is a seven-day-a-week telephone support service staffed by experienced dog trainers. For more information and to enroll:
Get Your Free AKC eBook

Does Your Dog Have What it Takes to be a Therapy Dog?

My dog is great with people, I want her to be a therapy dog. Where do I start? If you have asked this question then this e-book is for you. Download to learn more about Animal Assisted Therapy and how to get started.
*Turn off pop-up blocker to download
*Turn off pop-up blocker to download