The trick to teach dog to shake is by far my favorite. I love it so much because it is direct communication between human and dog. Also, my kids get a kick out of this trick.
The following training method that I’m going to outline for you is with the use of a clicker. As a reminder, the clicker training teaches your dog to repeat behaviors that lead to rewards. The clicker has an easy-to-press button that makes a distinct sound when pressed. To reward your dog for doing a good job, click the button and give your pet a treat, so he will learn to associate that action with a reward.
Clicker = treat as a reward
- Once you are ready to begin, sit with your dog in front of you and hold his paw for a second.
- Click and give your dog a treat. (If you do not have a clicker trained dog, then simply give your dog a treat)
- Repeat this several times. You want your dog to get used to his paw in your hand.
- After your dog has achieved this action, attempt to get your dog to put his paw in your hand on his own. Give his paw a little tap. As soon as he moves his paw on his own click and gives him a treat. It is okay at this point if he doesn’t place his paw in your hand. We are looking for his paw movement at this time.
- Continue to practice this until your dog offers his paw each time you place your hand out for him.
- Once your dog is placing his paw in your hand on a consistent basis, add your cue word. I use “shake” and you will find that this is a universally used cue word. Make sure to pick one word, and do not change from the word once you have chosen one.
- Next, say “shake” and lower your hand to your dog for his to place his paw in your hand. Your dog will soon associate the cue word “shake” with the action that he has been performing. You can gently move your hand up and down in a shaking motion. Remember to click and give a treat.
- As with all training, once your dog has been performing the trick on demand, you will want to phase out the use of the clicker and the treats. If you are not using a clicker, then you will only have to eliminate the treats.
Once your dog is a pro at shaking with you, try and have other try the trick with him. Make sure to have them follow the same process that you have. Say shake and extend your hand, so he may place his paw in yours.
Shake your other paw
You can also teach your dog to shake with his other paw if you have been concentrating on one paw up until this point. Tell your dog to shake, when he does click and treat, then say “other paw” and physically lift his opposite paw, so he understands what you are referring to. Say “shake” again, click and reward again, then “other paw” and lift the opposite. It may take a little while, but he will get the hang of it. If you really want to get fancy, you can teach your dog right and left paw. This will really impress your neighbors and friends.