This video presents a very easy tutorial on how to teach your dog to hug you. If your dog loves to wrap his paws around you, you can reinforce this behavior with praise and treats. This trick can be taught in several ways. In the video, professional dog trainer Kristin Crestejo conducts the training session with the dog in sitting pretty position. This technique is ideal for dogs who are excited jumper or hugger.
Ask your dog to sit by giving the “sit” command. You need to ensure that your dog is sitting square on the floor and is not leaning to either side.
Then, put the treat in front of your dog’s nose and raise it up so your dog will raise his front paws as well. If he manages to raise his paws, click and reward. Once your dog can balance himself while his paws are up in three or four seconds, you can proceed to the “hugging” phase of the training.
In this phase, you need to hug your dog while his paws are up in few seconds. This is done by maneuvering yourself into the dog to give him a hug. Be warned that if your dog is uncomfortable with you crowding himself with a hug and if he exhibits any type of aggressive behavior, stop immediately. You need to work on handling skills with your dog before doing this phase. This activity can be intimidating for your dog so make sure that your dog is not scared of you.
Repeat this phase several times to until your dog is at ease with receiving a hug from your while his paws are raised. Watch out for the front paws which might get stuck on your face.
The last part of the tutorial is about adding the verbal cue, getting a little precise of the behavior, and having some longevity for it. In this phase, all you need to do is to say “hug” while your arms raised and maneuvering yourself into dog whose front paws are raised as well. Again, you need to position yourself to prevent your dog’s paws hitting you in the face.
The “hug” trick does not only intellectually stimulate your dog but also take the bond between the dog and owner to an entirely new level. However, this trick is a breed-selective exercise and is not apt for an injured or skeletally challenged dog like a Bulldog or a giant breed.