So you want to teach your fur baby to shake? Luckily, it’s a trick that’s not too difficult to teach. As with any training, it helps to strengthen the bond between you and your pup, but this one is also fun to show off to friends and family!
We can tell things about another person by their handshake, but our pups learn more by sniffing us and other dogs. Regardless, it’s a sure sign of a smart, polite dog when they know how to shake.
Here are 5 easy steps that will help make your pup a paw-shaking aficionado.
HOLD A TREAT IN YOUR CLOSED HAND
Start with your dog sitting in front of you. Although dogs can lift a paw while standing, it is much easier for them to while sitting. Hold out a treat in your closed hand. She will be able to smell it, but not see it. Makes sure your hand is right next to her snout and encourage her to get the treat. More times than not, a dog will paw at your hand in an attempt to get the treat.
GIVE YOUR DOG THE TREAT
As soon as her paw touches your hand, open it and let her have the treat. Make sure to also include praise (Good Girl!) when she gets the treat. You’ll want to repeat this several times until she gets the idea. Now, continue repeating this process, but alternate between your left and right hand held up to opposite sides of her snout. You’ll want her to use the paw on the correct side each time.
ADD IN A VERBAL COMMAND
Once she’s got the hang of using the correct paw to touch your hand (depending on which side you’re on) add in a verbal command BEFORE you give her the treat. This could be just a single word…”Paw.” It could also be a short phrase…anything simple like “Shake Paws!” to an actual greeting like “How do you do?!”. Make sure to use the verbal command you choose from here on out. Changing it will only confuse your dog.
USE BOTH HANDS
While holding a treat in one hand, hold your other hand out in an open position towards the paw that you want your dog to shake. As soon as she touches your open hand with her paw, use the verbal command you’ve chosen (i.e Shake Paws!) and give her the treat. Remember to praise her as well.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Keep practicing the step where your dog is shaking the paw with your open hand. This will help you phase out giving treats and you’ll begin rewarding her only with praise. Once she’s got it down, test your training. Consider waiting a couple days before trying it out again. You can also ask her to do it when she normally wouldn’t be expecting it, like when you’re on a walk.
And as always, there are a few important things to remember when training:
My dogs have given me an entirely new spiritual perspective on life. I now have a genuine understanding of unconditional love and provision.