It's so Easy to Train, You Can Train It Today: Head Nod

Training your dog to say “yes” by nodding their head on cue is a simple trick. We gave it a try during Friday morning’s Manners for Dogs Class. To train this behavior you will need a marker signal which can be a word or sound. You may want to use the clicker for this one. You will also need a bait bag with rewards ready to eat and excellent timing!

Dory Learns to Nod Her Head in Manners Class

Dory Learns to Nod Her Head in Manners Class


Start by teaching your dog what position you want them in for the shaping process so they do not throw position changes out to you trying to earn a reward. You can have them standing in front of you or in a sit. Mark/click when they are in that position and feed them a reward. Repeat a few times so they know that you want them to stay as is.


Next, wait for them to offer a look down or give them a hint like tapping your toe to make them look down. The instant they do, click or use your other marker and feed them as they lift back up.


Repeat until they are offering it with no hints. Add a cue and decide on the next steps which could be teaching them to keep nodding until cued to stop, or trying it in another position etc. Only change one thing at a time as you raise criteria.

Fun examples of cues for this behavior:*

“Do you like treats?”

“Are you a good dog?”

“Do you want to go to MJ’s?”

*A cue is the signal to your dog to perform/start a behavior like when you say “sit.”

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