Teach 'Give Paw' or 'Shake Hands'

give paw or shake hands dog training

Teach your dog to 'shake hands' or 'give paw'. This trick is simple to teach and can form the basis of more advanced tricks.


Begin with a pocket full of small tasty treats. Put one in the palm of your hand and put your thumb over it - so your dog knows its there but can not get to it. Ask your dog to sit, and kneel down in front of him, holding out the hand with the treat in it. Most curious dogs will sniff, and then try to get you to release the treat using their mouth or their paw. If the dog uses his mouth to try to get the treat, just ignore him, and sit there waiting. Eventually your dog will try to get it with his paw, when he does click (if you are clicker training) or give your cue word (such as 'good' or 'yes!') and remove your thumb allowing them access to the treat. Repeat this until your dog is using his paw every time - then start adding in the cue word - like 'paw' or 'shake'. When your dog is becoming familiar with this exercise try holding out your hand palm up but with no treat and give the cue word - hopefully your dog will respond by giving you his paw. If he does - congratulations! Click, or praise, and treat. If not, just go back a step and continue using the treats to reinforce the behaviour and try again with the empty hand later. 


Most dogs pick this trick up quickly in one or two sessions. Once your dog has learned to give one paw, try training him to give the other paw by using your other hand to hold the treat, and teach him a separate cue word for his other paw. For example if you taught him to give his right paw for the command 'Shake' use 'Paw' for his left paw. 


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