How to Teach a Dog to Shake a Hand


Teaching your dog to shake is a great party trick and one that is easily taught. You can even get the kids included.

How to Teach a Dog to Shake a Hand

Many children over the age of 7 years can be taught standard training techniques and in reality numerous children are more persistent than adults when it concerns training the household pet!


  • Persistence
  • 1 dog preferably with a minimum of 1 front paw
  • Little yummy deals with that do not take long to chew (use something high value such as barbeque chicken or liver treats if your dog is tough to encourage, or train when he is hungry).
  • Simply 5 minutes each day.


  1. Presuming your dog can sit, the initial step is to obtain him in position.
  2. Hold a treat in your hand and show him the treat (it may work to have the remaining deals with simple to access in a pouch or pocket), then close your fist over the treat.
  3. Hold the treat, in your closed fist near his foot, about 5cm off the ground.
  4. If your dog stands, ask him to sit once again.
  5. If your dog raises his paw even a little, or even shifts weight onto the other paw, inform him he is an excellent kid and give him the treat.
  6. A lot of dogs will bat at your hand to obtain the treat, so as quickly as this takes place open your hand to expose the treat and tell him ‘great’ or ‘yes’, whatever your signal is for doing the right thing.
  7. At the same time your other hand must be held out flat to ‘shake’ when your dog lifts his paw, so you can get his paw while he takes the treat.
  8. Reward him right away he does the proper thing, even if he only lifts his foot a bit the very first time.
  9. When he is reliably lifting his paw for a treat, add the word ‘shake’.
  10. Gradually phase out the treats, so he only gets a treat intermittently once you are sure he understands the trick.


  • Only practice for 5-10 minutes every day, any longer and you will both burn out and annoyed.
  • Constantly end on a positive note, if you are getting frustrated and your dog isn’t ‘getting it’, return to a trick he does understand and reward him for that.
  • Avoid deals with that have to be chewed for long periods, or you will spend most of your time seeing him eat.
  • Remote control training is another fantastic way to shape behaviours like ‘shake’ (link to clicker training post).
  • If you have a particularly persistent dog, this is another method to teach ‘shake’.

Also read: Housetraining Your Puppy Tips


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