Hands-In Dog Videos Are Crushing It! So, Why Are My Dogs Opting Out?

Mary Simpson
by Mary Simpson

Thousands of those “hand-hand-paw” videos are taking social media by storm… but not all pooches are raising a paw in solidarity.

Photo Credit: Elizaveta Galitckaia

Have you seen them? Those emotive videos showing dogs cautiously placing their paws atop their owner’s stacked hands in a perceived show of loving solidarity? They’re called the “Hands-In” videos and they feature two or more humans extending their hands and placing one over top of the other. Sitting front and center is a highly observant dog that then places its paw on top while staring lovingly into the faces of its owners.

Well, let me tell you, I’ve got two Schnoodles and a Miniature Schnauzer. I know they love me. I know they consider me family. But when it comes to striking today’s top-trending pose they’re totally meh!

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like they fight the concept or try to resist as I queue up the camera and settle them into position… they’re just not buying into the hype, which is the part I don’t understand.

I mean, like every other new pet parent, the first command I taught my trio was the classic “Give a Paw”. It’s easy to teach, quick for the dog to learn, and we as owners, come away feeling pretty impressed with our training prowess, right? So, using their paws to solicit praise per the thousands of pups receiving millions of views in this viral video, isn’t such a foreign concept.

And to be honest, have we not all noticed our pets leveraging the give-a-paw maneuver to score cool stuff? You know the drill… curled up on the sofa watching some of my favorite shows and a determined paw keeps landing on my lap, face, arm, (insert body part here) to trigger some type of reward.

So, they do get it, and that’s why I’m so confounded they won’t play this fun, viral game on cue. Maybe they need to equate a tangible reward with this activity. Maybe praise and cuddles aren’t sufficient for all dogs to make the effort. “Show Me the Money” comes to mind.

I’m learning that one possible reason my pets have chosen to opt out while others have enthusiastically participated, as shared by the University of Denver’s Director of the Institute for Animal Sentience and Protection, Philip Tedeschi who confirms dogs are similar to young children in that they can mimic what they see. And because they want to please and gain attention, they’re quick to mirror the activity they’re observing to achieve those important head pats and cuddles. This supports my theory as to why food-driven dogs (like mine) may be waiting to see if a little more comes up for grabs.

If you’re determined to get in on this fun trend but your pooch isn’t cooperating, the American Kennel Club (AKC) has a suggestion. It’s called “cue” training and it includes not only verbal commands but hand signals. It’s similar to telling a dog to “sit” and then motion downward with your hand. He now equates a physical cue with what you want. Hence, your pooch sees you and his favorite peeps hands stacking one on top of the other, and he recognizes the signal to follow suit. Hmmm… I still say there are treats off-camera for these good boys (and girls).

Mary Simpson
Mary Simpson

Sharing space with three seriously judgy Schnoodles and a feline who prefers to be left alone. #LivingMyBestLife

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