How to teach a dog to shake

This one of the great feelings when your dog is able to shake hands with you, Steps to teaching your dog to shake:

  1. Hold your dog’s head with one hand
  2. Move your free hand to his tail and hold it gently but firmly
  3. With the other arm, pull back on his paw until you feel a give in the skin
  4. Now grab an ear between your thumb and forefinger to gently move it up and down
  5. When you feel that the muscle is just at its limit, tell them “shake” which will increase tension
  6. Praise him when he pulls his paw back when given a cue like “shake” and looks at you with a wagging tail
  7. Repeat steps 1-6 until your dog shakes hands with you whenever you present them
  8. If the muscle is very strong try to teach them to shake hands on command “shake”, praise him, give a treat and then reward him for the correct behavior
  9. To get rid of their fear of being “manipulated” they need curb excitement so after their first successful “shake” when they don’t want to shake harder anymore drop your hand and say “no” which will become a negative reinforcement that will not reinforce them in shaking harder next time
  10. Do the above steps for the other front paw
  11. No one likes to be grabbed on the tail but dogs will get used to it since you are their pack leader
  12. When your dog is already doing well, you can mix up commands with different paws like “shake” or “give me a paw” this way he will have to think a bit and the first paw that moves in either command becomes his dominant paw for shaking hands
  13. After patting you on your shoulder, your dog should now really want to shake with you
  14. Try it with some friends of yours who have dogs so they can help praise successfully shaking dogs and share their food rewards

That’s it now your dog is able to shake hands, please be careful of the following things while training your dog for hand shakes

  1. The dog should not be too excited when you approach and say “shake” so he doesn’t jump up to give you a hug or bite
  2. Make sure your dog is excited but not to the point where he wants to run away after you say “shake”
  3. If your dog rubs his head on you, move your hand away so they get a clear cue to go back in place
  4. If the dog wants to lick their paws quickly after shaking hands, tell them “no” and if they comply give them a treat, praise and petting

Also teach the dog how to shake with a clicker:

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