Home Dog Training How to Teach a Dog to Shake a Paw

How to Teach a Dog to Shake a Paw

No matter what type of training that you are doing with your pet, you cannot expect him to learn over night. Training a dog takes time and patience. In fact, training should be an activity that you do with your canine companion throughout his life. Learning how to teach a dog to shake is just one of many fun commands your pet can learn.

Teaching your dog to shake is very simple. He should get the hang of it after just a few short training sessions. Once he understands the concept you can begin holding his paw a little bit longer or teaching him to ‘shake left' and ‘shake right'.

But, before you can get started learning how to teach a dog to shake, he'll need some very basic command training. I recommend teaching your dog ‘sit' before working on ‘shake', as it will make the task much simpler.

Teaching the most basic commands needs to be done before you can teach more advanced commands. Similar to teaching a young child, you'll need to give your dog a good foundation of the building blocks of training before expecting more from him.

For more information on teaching basic commands, you can check out my quick video guide here. Once Fido has a good grasp of the basics, you can move on to some slightly more difficult tricks, like shaking a paw.

How to Teach a Dog to Shake a Paw

how to teach a dog to shakeTeaching your dog how to shake a paw is not only fun, but also helps to build the bond between you and teach Fido to trust you. Learning to shake will also help your dog understand that it’s okay for his legs and feet to be handled. This will come in quite handy when it's time to cut his nails.

Some dogs naturally raise their paw when offered treats, which makes teaching this trick much easier. If your dog doesn't, no worries. He'll get it eventually. It will just take a bit more time and patience.

As I mentioned, your dog should know the ‘sit' command before moving on to how to teach a dog to shake. Keep a small treat in your hand. Command your dog to sit, and show him the treat.

Close your hand around the treat loosely, so he can still smell it through your fingers. He may sniff or lick your hand, but wait until he paws at it. Some dogs might do this right away, like Thor does in my video guide above. With other dogs it may take some patience to wait them out.

When Fido eventually paws at your hand, catch his paw in your free hand and give the verbal command ‘shake'. Try to hold his paw while he takes the training treat, but if he instantly pulls his paw away that's okay too. Be sure to shower your pup with praise when he does what you want him to do.

Video Guide - How to Teach a Dog to Shake a PawNow, continue this pattern beginning with the ‘shake' command. Wait until he paws your hand, and give your dog his reward. Eventually, he will begin to lift his paw as soon as you say ‘shake'. As he begins to lift his paw sooner, hold onto the reward for a few extra seconds.

Gradually, you should be able to work up to holding Fido's paw in your hand for at least 10 seconds before rewarding him. You can also begin weaning off the treats by rewarding him less frequently with treats and only with verbal praise.

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Samantha’s biggest passion in life is spending time with her Boxer dogs. After she rescued her first Boxer in 2004, Samantha fell in love with the breed and has continued to rescue three other Boxers since then. She enjoys hiking and swimming with her Boxers, Maddie and Chloe.