How to teach a dog to shake – Dogster

Teaching your dog to shake is a classic canine trick that most dogs learn very quickly and will delight your friends and family.

Watch our dog trainer, Sassafras Lowrey’s step-by-step video to teach your dog to shake:

Before your workout, gather your equipment:

  • small pieces of treats that excite your dog
  • a clicker if you are clicker training
  • an area with minimal distractions, such as a quiet room inside your home

Teach a Dog to Shake in 5 Steps:

Step 1: Hold a treat in a closed fist for your dog. Wait while she explores your hand by sniffing, nuzzling, and eventually scratching your hand to try to get the treat. When your dog gives you the paw, praise him (click if you are clicker training) and give him the treat. This is the basis of what will become the shake trick.

If your dog sniffs and licks your hand, ignore it and be patient until he uses his paw.

2nd step: When your dog constantly swats your hand to get the treat into your closed fist, start introducing your verbal cue of choice like “shake” or “hello.”

Step 3: As your dog improves, gradually eliminate the treat in your hand. Hold out your empty fist to your dog and give your verbal cue. When your dog places his paw on your hand, praise him and offer him a treat.

Step 4: When your dog consistently offers the shaking behavior with your empty fist, hold out your open hand and give him the verbal cue to shake it. When your dog’s paw touches your hand, praise, click, and treat.

As you practice, hold your hand out to your dog at chest level so he is comfortable reaching out and shaking your hand.

Step 5: Start adding a few seconds of time with your dog’s paw on your hand and gently move your hand up and down in a hand shaking motion. Be sure to praise her and reward her with treats once she completes the trick!

Next steps

As your dog becomes more familiar, practice shaking him in distracting areas, such as on a walk. Also try increasing the amount of time you shake your dog’s paw. If your dog is social and likes interaction, shaking him is a great trick that other people can suggest. Don’t forget to praise and treat her after she shakes his hand!


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