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Hand Over Paw Training: Why It Shouldn’t Be Used With Talking Buttons

By Spencer Montoya July 05, 2021

As training pets to speak becomes more popular, it is important to understand the right way to train our dogs and cats to use their buttons to use words and phrases. 

What are the “dos” and “don’ts?” Some people may be inclined to use a misguided training technique known as hand-over paw — and it is a huge “don’t.” 

This type of training involves taking the paw of the animal and forcing them to press the button. This type of training is not only hurtful towards the animal, but can have difficult to reverse  effects on  a pet’s training to use words, as well as their overall mental health. This will surely affect any pet’s relationship with their owner. 

Effects of Hand Over Paw Training

Hand over paw training, to an extent, restricts or takes over our pets’ expression and way of words. Holding onto the dog or cat's paw and forcing them to push a button doesn’t help them learn or get comfortable with using the buttons. Instead, the dog or cat will most likely pull away from their owner. 

The dog or cat will also not gain any knowledge from being forced to press their buttons. All your pet will experience is confusion, and they might even interpret your forcing of their paw as hostile or disciplinary. 

Dogs and cats have to be able to learn words in a meaningful and positive way. If a dog or cat is forced to train by hand over paw, the only outcome will be a confused pet and a disappointed owner.

Your pet may also feel stressed out if they feel they’re failing to make you happy, especially if you have a dog. Dogs love pleasing their humans by doing tricks, and if you’re showing a lot of frustration or disappointment, they won’t feel like a very good boy/girl.

Instead, demonstrate button presses yourself. Show your pet that when a particular button is pressed, something happens. For example, once your cat understands that they get pets whenever you press their PETS button, they’ll be curious to see what happens when they do — especially with your encouragement.

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