A couple of years ago, my daughter and a friend taught our dog how to raise a paw or “shake” for a food reward. The dog is sweet and friendly, but not exactly the Einstein of the canine world, if you get my drift. However, she learned quickly because there were treats involved.
Here’s the funny thing: we noticed she was using the raised paw, unprompted, in non-food situations. It’s now a sign that means “I need . . . [fill in the blank according to the context].” So on a long car trip, she was raising her paw if she needed to get out and use the bathroom (and I think she also does that if she wants the car window cracked so she can stick her snout out). And then yesterday, my husband was petting and talking to her because she had hurt her leg, and when he stopped, she lifted her paw. Obviously, she didn’t want the session to be over.