Training your dog to shake is a fun trick that strengthens your bond. This guide will show you how to teach a dog to shake in no time.
Training Guide: How to Teach a Dog to Shake
Training a dog to shake hands is a relatively fast and easy command that requires very few tools and prerequisites. If you want to learn how to teach a dog to shake, follow these simple steps and guidelines.
1. Get Your Dog to a Sitting Position
Before getting started, your dog should know how to sit. Say the “sit” command and ensure they’re fully in a sitting position.
2. Offer Your Hand
There are a couple ways to approach this step, and the best one for you will largely depend on your dog’s personality and your preference.
You can either hold your hand out without giving any signal or verbal cue. Just wait for your dog to react.
At first, your pup might try a few different actions, such as licking or smelling your hand, but eventually they will raise their paw to your hand.
However, if you find that your hand alone doesn’t keep your dog’s attention or motivate any action, try showing your dog a treat and then clasping it in your hand.
Offer your (closed) hand to your dog until they try to get the treat with a paw.
3. Give an Immediate Reward
When your pup raises a paw to your hand, immediately offer praise and a treat or press a clicker.
Even if your dog hasn’t achieved a full shake, you should reward any action that involves lifting a paw.
This is true even if your dog simply shifts weight onto the other side and starts the process of raising a paw.
4. Extend the “Shake” Time
Slowly, you want to increase the amount of time your dog keeps their paw in your hand. This will ensure that you’re not teaching your dog to simply paw at your hand and makes it clear what you want the behavior to look like.
Keep offering rewards, but only after the dog has completed the full shake.
5. Add a Verbal Cue
When your dog is able to repeat the shake process consistently, it’s time to add the verbal cue. This can be “shake,” “paw” or whatever you want the signaling word to be.
Add this cue when you hold your hand out, before your dog offers a paw. Do it enough times to solidify this word as a cue for the shaking behavior.
6. Training on the Opposite Paw
When you’re satisfied on one side, you can also teach your dog to shake with the opposite paw.
To do this, you may need to repeat the same process. Oftentimes, dogs will shake with the paw closest to your hand, so you may try offering your opposite hand and placing it closer to your dog’s other paw.
7. Adding Distractions
When you’re confident that your dog has mastered the “shake” command, it’s time to try the trick outside of the comfort of your home.
Try making this command more difficult by slowly adding distractions, building up from minuscule to large.
8. Eliminate the Treat
After your dog is comfortable with the command, you will want to slowly eliminate the treat from this process.
Be sure to keep offering your pup plenty of praise and affection for getting the shake right.
Time and Frequency
There technically isn’t any “right” time to teach your dog to shake, but if your pup is less than motivated to humor you with tricks, it can be helpful to do the training while they are hungry. Otherwise, your dog may not be very enthusiastic about the treat reward.
When teaching your dog to shake, it’s important to keep the training sessions short and sweet. Aim for about five minutes per day, with a 10 minute maximum.
This will ensure both you and your dog make it through the training without getting tired or frustrated.
It’s also important that you try to end each session on a happy note. Even if your pup struggles with the new command, go back to an older or easier trick and offer a reward for getting it right.
Final Thoughts on How to Teach Your Dog to Shake
We hope following these steps will help you understand how to teach your dog to shake.
As you focus on how to teach your dog to shake, always make sure you’re providing plenty of rewards and praise and keep the trainings short and sweet.
Depending on your dog’s personality, this trick may come very easily or take some time and patience. Just be sure to stay sensitive to your dog’s needs and avoid punishment or chastising if the training doesn’t go according to plan.
With a bit of time and practice, your dog will be shaking hands left and right!
Watch a Training Video
As you learn how to teach your dog to shake, sometimes it helps to see the process enacted.
Dog trainer Zak George offers positive, fun and informational training videos on a wide range of topics, including how to teach your dog to shake.
If you want to see the process in action, take a look at this video. It’s another great resource on how to quickly teach your dog to shake.