How to teach your dog to shake paws in a few simple steps

Teaching your dog to shake paws can be an adorable trick to teach, from saying hello to new people, crossing items of your AKC Trick title list or a trick to do with friends and family. But best of all something fun to do with your dog. You can teach this trick at any age.

There is two ways I teach dogs to shake paws, you don’t need to pick one instead try them both and see which your dog does best with! I go over both of them in the video below if you are more of a visual learner.

Steps for teaching your dog to shake

  1. Start with your dog in front of you in a sit. Feel free to use a leash if they may get distracted during training time. 
  2. Present your hand with an open palm or fist – feel free to try both. Your dog may sniff or lick your hand but give him a little time. If he lifts his paw even slightly reward that movement immediately, even if he didn’t touch your hand. 
  3. Repeat this waiting game until your pup begins offering lifting that paw and slowly getting closer to putting on your hand, rewarding any progress moving forward.
  4. Once your pup understands offering you a paw you can say ‘Shake” as you present your hand, your hand being presented is now your visual cue.

Now, some dogs simply won’t offer to lift their paw, that’s okay!  That means it’s time to try the second method.

  1. With your dog in a sit gently touch behind your dogs paw near their new dew claw on the back, just a gentle tap. 
  2. As they lift their paw reward.
  3. You are going to keep practicing this for a few days at least, you working towards lifting the leg higher to place in your hand. 
  4. Your hand will slowly transition from tapping behind to actually being the cue of where to put their paw.
  5. Over time you should no longer need to touch your dog paw as they see our hand presented they will begin to offer a paw and you can add the word ‘Shake’. 

Remember these steps shouldn’t be rushed in one training session but baby steps over a few sessions. We hope you both have a lot of fun training together!

Ready for more? Check out our trick training section here.

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