How to Teach Your Dog to Shake Hands

Want to teach your pup to shake? Luckily, this trick is simple to teach and will wow your friends and family!

There are two methods to teach this trick. The first method involves your dog targeting your hand with his paw, and the second encourages your dog to move away from pressure.

Method 1: Wait him out!

1. Hold out your empty hand, palm up, at a height close to your dog’s knee level.

2. Wait!

3. Your dog will probably sniff your hand, lick your hand, and eventually he will try some other tactics, such as pawing at your hand.

4. The moment your dog lifts his paw (even if he hasn't made contact with your hand), tell him "good dog!" and reward him with a yummy treat.

5. Repeat this waiting game until the dog is lifting his paw into your hand. Keep rewarding him and start adding a verbal cue. Say "shake" as you present your hand and soon your dog will be eagerly shaking paws with you!

Method 2: Tap tap tap

  1. Use your pointer finger to lightly tap the back of your dog’s paw, just under his dew claw/dew claw pad.

2. Your dog may immediately pick up his foot to move away from the gentle pressure, or it may take a few moments of repeated light tapping before he picks up his foot. As soon as he starts to bend it and move away from your finger, gently sweep your hand forward and pick up his paw.

3. Verbally praise and reward your dog with a treat!

4. Repeat this until your dog starts to lift his foot as soon as you reach toward it, now you can also add the verbal cue "shake" as you reach toward his paw!

Remember, dogs don't generalize well so just because he knows how to shake with his right paw doesn't mean he knows how to shake with his left paw! Just re-do the steps in either of the above methods with your dog’s other paw and use a different cue for it.

You can either use the hand on the same side of your dog’s paw (i.e., your right hand and your dog’s left paw, and vice versa), or use a different names like "paw" and "shake" to differentiate between your dog’s right and left.