Ask Kathy About Training Dogs To Put Their "Paws Up"

By Kathy Santo | Updated: July 8 2019

Hi Everyone! 

This is one of the most COMMON questions we’re asked by students at my school and online, so I wanted you all to know the answer in case you’ve also wondered!

The Question:

“Why do you train puppies and dogs to put their feet on weird objects?”

The Answer:

This is something we’re asked on a daily basis, and we understand! It’s hard for new students to comprehend why we get so excited about it and take the time to teach a dog “paws up” when, in their mind, there are so many more critical things that they need fixed!

 We love “paws up” because it teaches:  

  1. Confidence On New Surfaces: We want our dogs to be happy with novelty (as in, what they will willingly put their feet on). Today’s a FitBone, but tomorrow they may need to walk over a sewer grate, or a slippery floor! Having that confidence makes their (and your) life easier!
  2. Learn How To Learn: Puppies and dogs in class for the very first time are all able to do ‘paws up’ quickly, which means that they earn rewards. Through this process, they’re actually ‘learning how to learn’, and that creates excited dogs, who can’t wait to see what we’d like them to do next!
  3.  Growing The Skill: Eventually, we’ll take “paws up” and create games to help them:
  • Find (and stay in!) heel position
  • Greet people without jumping up
  • Strengthen their bodies for exercise and prevention of injuries
  • And more!

Kathy Santo has spent her entire career as a dog trainer and handler, training dogs and winning over 500 obedience, agility and Canine Good Citizenship titles. Working with her own dogs, she has achieved every competitive obedience title the American Kennel Club (AKC) has offered and earned the prestigious AKC “Obedience Trial Champion” title (OTCh) multiple times.

In Waldwick, Kathy teaches classes, private lessons, and oversees the training of her student’s dogs using her extensive knowledge, experience and intuition to handle problems from the benign to the serious. Her engaging personality has won her the respect and friendship of her many students, who now consider themselves part of her extended family.


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