How to Train Your Puppy to Shake a Paw – The Oldest Trick in the Book

lassie-collieSit! Stay! Shake!

When you think of old-fashioned dog culture, those are probably the commands you think of; the same commands you associate with names like Spot, or Rover.

Why wouldn’t this be the one trick every dog learns? It certainly is the easiest. And here we will dive into how we go about teaching a dog how to shake a paw.

Step 1: Sit

If you haven’t already taught your dog to sit, you may find how to do so here. I will also mention that you may also want to take a look at some tips and tricks here to give you a better grasp over training with your puppy that will ultimately make this easier for you.sit-dog

Usually as you move through the steps of training a puppy on a new trick, the use of a clicker greatly improves the speed in which the pup learns. Clickers are great for adding another level of praise for your dog, as well as also substituting in place of a treat as your dog begins to master the new command.

Having said that, the first step is obviously to make your dog sit.

The Paw Gesture, Method 1:

Getting your dog to get his paw to your hand can sometimes be more difficult than people realize. It is extremely important that you ALLOW THE DOG TO DO THIS NATURALLY. If you have to force the movement from your dog, or you have to reach over and take their paw in your hand yourself, the dog is learning nothing except that they don’t have to do anything, because you will do all the work for them.

The first method of doing this is do wait the pupper out with your hand outstretched in front of them with an open, upward facing palm. Just sit there and wait until your dog does something.

Now, our canine companion doesn’t necessarily need to immediately place their paw into our outstretched hand. It’s best to celebrate this in small steps. Even if your dog lifts their paw off the ground, that’s enough of a victory to give praise, and even a little nibble.

You just keep doing this and improving, and when your best friend finally gives you that shake you’ve been wanting, a massive praise and nice treat will encourage more from your pup.

Method 2: Tappa, Tappa, Tappa


The other method of getting your puppy to lift their paw is to hold one outstretched hand in front of them with your palm up, ready to receive the shake. Then use the other hand and gently tap the front of the leg just above the knee. Puppy should automatically place their paw in your hand.

Worst case scenario, they just lift their paw off the floor. That’s one step closer to putting a paw in your hand. It is still worth some praise and little treat, much like in the other method.

These two methods can also be used in tandem. Maybe tapping the knee is how you get your puppy to live their leg, and then you need to wait them out until they put their paw into your hand.

Perfectus Usus Facit

That’s Latin for “PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT”. That’s basically all there is to this one. There isn’t a ton of information required in order to teach your dog to shake a paw.  The more you work on this with your canine companion, they better they will get!

Feel free to share any experience, or tips and tricks you have below. We love getting feedback and engaging with our audience. Thanks again for reading and have a “PAWFECT” day!

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