Keepin' it clean

We’re getting plenty of rain now, and most owners are now experiencing the woes of muddy/wet paw prints all over the house.  Here are some quick tips and training ideas to keep your pooches’ feet clean.

Get the right gear!

Set yourself up for success with wet weather accessories such as absorbent mats, dog booties, and rain coats. 

Absorbent Mats

These are great during the winter. Place one mat outside the door and one inside so your dog walks over both. The Dog Gone Smart Dirty Dog Doormat is a great addition inside, and I have taught my dogs how to spin in circles on the rug after they come in. Instructions below.


Yes, I said it: dog booties. Not only will they keep your dog’s feet warm, they can also help keep your house clean. Throw some on before you let your dog outside — muddy paw problem solved!

Rain Coats

Suit them up before sending them outside or going for walks. It keeps the body dry and minimizes wet dog smell and excess drying time.  


Keep a basket of towels near the door for easy access during winter. I prefer a small wash cloth or hand towel for drying paws because they fit easily into my hand.

Training Games

Now that you’ve set yourself up for success and have everything you need in place, make cleaning your dog’s feet part of your daily routine!

Spin the doggie

If you have a dog who loves to tug, keep a tug toy and an absorbent mat near the door. When your dog comes inside, play a good game of tug and spin them around on the rug a few times. It’s an easy way to clean their feet and they love it!

Teach your dog to spin

Keep a jar of treats by the door and whenever every time your dog comes inside, tuck a treat into your hand and lure him or her around in circles. Do one circle, then feed one treat. Repeat 2-3 more times with the treat still in your hand, then do 2-3 more without a treat in your hand, holding your hand in the same position both ways. When the dog completes the spin feed a treat. This will teach your dog to spin with just the hand signal. E-mail me for a video on teaching a spin with a lure at

Happy Feet

If you would rather teach your dog to enjoy having his or her feet cleaned with a towel, keep a jar of treats and a towel by the door. Every time your dog comes inside and comes to you on the mat, immediately feed one treat. Then wipe one paw and feed one treat. Repeat this with the remaining 3 paws, one swipe, one treat. Repeat this process every time your dog comes inside. Gradually you will begin to wipe two paws before giving a treat, then three, until eventually you can do all four for one treat at the end.  

If you have questions or need more tips, ideas, or videos on any of the exercises above, please e-mail and we will happily send you more information. Have a clean winter!

Jennifer Biglan, owner of Training Spot in Eugene, OR, is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner in Eugene, OR. She knew she wanted to work with animals at a young age. After graduating from the U of O and volunteering at a dog shelter, she found her calling. Jennifer is well known through the community, and by many area veterinarians for her work in solving behavior problems, and she has extensive knowledge and background training dogs. Learn more about Training Spot at or e-mail