Learn to Hug

Teach Your Dog How to Hug

I am constantly hugging Boogie, so it’s about time he returned the favor. That’s why I taught my dog how to hug. It’s a fun, cute, and easy trick for your dog to learn. Plus, everyone needs a hug now and then.

Read on to find out how we taught Boogie a new trick, and how it’s easier than you probably think it is. Let’s start!

Learn to Hug
Please excuse Boogie’s sock, his paw is hurt!

The Benefits of Training Your Dog

But first, let’s discuss training your dog. Training is essential – a well behaved dog is a good dog and an enjoyable one to be around. Plus, there are plenty benefits to training your dog, such as: 

  • Training provides mental stimulation that will keep your dog happy and prevent boredom. Bored dogs get into trouble, so keep those mind work outs coming!
  • Training your dog helps you to bond with them. It positively enhances your relationship, making it stronger and more enjoyable.
  • A well behaved dog is easier to be around and enjoy, for both you and others. Make sure your dog puts their best paw forward. 

Let’s get back to teaching your dog to hug. Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Get On Their Level

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Find a surface where you and your dog are on the same level, by either sitting or kneeling. This could be the floor, a stoop, or on the couch like us. 

Step 2: Hands in Position

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With a treat in your palm, place your hand behind your head and around your neck. If it’s easier, you can also just place your hand behind your neck (and not around). 

Step 3: Just a Taste

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The treat will lure your dog in, and they will attempt to grab it. Allow your dog to nibble on the treat to get them in position just over your shoulder, and then finally give them the treat as a reward. Repeat this a few times.

If you’re using a clicker, make a click every time your dog comes into position on your shoulder. If you don’t have a clicker, no worries, the treat is enough. 

Step 4: Add the Command

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After a few repeats of the previous step, add a command to it. I said the word “hug” and then gave Boogie the treat. Repeat. Increase the duration by treating your dog only after they hold the position for a few seconds.

Step 5: Remove Your Hand

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Once your dog is consistently performing the behavior, say the command without placing your hand behind your head. Once they do it, give them the treat. If your dog won’t “hug” without seeing your hand cue, repeat the hand signal again but for a shorter length of time and continue to reduce the duration of the hand signal until your dog can do the trick with just the verbal signal.


Your pup will be hugging you in no time. This is a great trick to teach your dog if you love hugs, or if you want to prove to friends that your dog loves you more than their dog loves them. Only dogs who love a lot give hugs!

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Extra Tips

  • Keep it fun! Stay positive, so training is a fun exercise that both you and your dog look forward to. 
  • Training sessions should be short and sweet, so no one gets frustrated or bored. 
  • If your dog doesn’t get it, no worries! Boogie isn’t a quick learner. We usually have to try a trick a few different times before he masters it. 
  • Use small treats when training, so your dog doesn’t fill up on snacks. We take our regular dog treats and break them up into even smaller pieces.
  • Training your dog provides intellectual stimulation for them, and strengthens your bond! It’s a win/win. 
Learn to Hug

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Teach your dog to hug! Plus, nineteen other fun tricks.

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  1. My Megumi actually DOES hug me (especially when she wants something). I would love to get my boys, Kenji and Seiji, to hug, too.

  2. I really want to teach him to roll over, he will be one on the 19th and he has been really great with training.

  3. My dog passed in June of 2017. I miss him dearly. I was always happy with the tricks that he did know. My favorite being kisses and high five.

  4. I’d love to teach my dog to lay down. She’s great at sit and stay. For some reason I can’t get her to lay down

    1. We had this same issue with Marcelo! Our trainer had us put a flat dog bed on the floor and he learned it in no time. Turns out he just didn’t want to lay down on the floor ?

  5. Teaching dogs to hug is cute. I love sitting on the floor and giving my dogs big hugs…and since I’m their mom, they like it. Strangers on the other hand…LOL!

  6. Looks very doable. My dog is so treat motivated I’ll be curious to see if she just jumps over my shoulder to over-perform!

  7. That is one of the cutest tricks ever!! I would teach my cat to fetch. Our last cat fetched balls on his own just like a puppy!

  8. I always try to follow this site for learning something new. Thanks to sharing something new tricks about pup hug. I have little affordable morkie and I wanna try to apply this tricks. But my little cute not response. It still claim down and quite.

  9. OOO…I want to teach my dog how to hug! He already snuggles by placing his head under your chin. This is great!

  10. I really would like to teach my pups to roll over. They can do other tricks like pros, but for some reason, anything that involves them getting on their back is the worst thing ever? I gues??

  11. Tiny is an older dog now very reliable and sweet. I would love to teach her to dial 911 in case of fire or another emergnecy.

  12. I taught mine to give hugs a while back, but I can’t seem to teach him to roll over correctly. Thank you for all the great info and the awesome giveaway!

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