Ways & How

How to Teach a Dog to Shake Hands

How to Teach a Dog to Shake Hands

Teaching your dog to shake hands is an awesome way of introducing your furry family member to your friends. To be successful, you should have good rapport with your beloved pet and have established a solid trust and a loving bond. The more your pet trusts you, the easier it is to teach him this trick. Knowing how to teach your dog to shake hands is also great way to start preparing him to learn other tricks too.

  1.  Prepare small tasty treats to reward your dog. They should be easy to chew and tempting for you pooch. If your dog is difficult to motivate, you can offer something that’s more delicious and smells yummy, such as liver treats or barbecue chicken. In addition, train him when he is hungry. Have the treats handy in a small bag or in your pocket. You’ll need patience and just five minutes a day.

  2. Try this first method. Get your dog into a sitting position. Hold the treat in the palm of your hand. Momentarily show him the treat, then close your hand over it. Put your closed hand near your pet’s foot about 2 inches above the ground.

    l him to sit and give him the command sign by showing your other hand palm up. If your dog lifts his paw a little or shifts his weight onto the other paw, praise him and give him the treat. While the other hand is offering the treat, hold out your other hand flat for a handshake when your dog lifts his paw. Now, grab his paw as he takes the treat. Give him a treat for doing the right move even if he only lifts his paw a little the first time. Practice five to 10 minutes daily, and he’ll learn it in a few days.

  3. Try this other method. This second method is for furry friends who are the type that gets their paws into things. Prepare an open area, and tell your dog to sit. Hold the treat on your palm under your thumb. Allow your dog to investigate. If he’s curious, he’ll sniff. As soon as he pats your hand with his paw, mark it as good behavior. Say “yes” or “good” to show that you approve of his behavior. Repeat until he automatically paws your hand every time you offer it. Don’t forget to say “yes” or “good” to reinforce his behavior and offer a treat. Eventually, place your hand in the same position without a treat. If he paws it, that’s great. Don’t forget to give him a treat with your other hand. If he doesn’t, go back to the concealing a treat until he does so again. Once he paws your hand without the treat, it’s time to offer an open, flat hand. When he has mastered this, add the verbal cue of “shake.” Say this before offering your hand, and he’ll eventually associate the verbal cue with offering his paw. Gradually remove the treats, but do to give him a treat once in a while to reinforce the correct behavior.

  4. If the above two methods don’t work, try this third method. It seems easier because you physically take your pet’s paw into your hand, but it may not be suitable for all dogs, especially older ones. This method works well with puppies who are more easily trained. Start by saying “shake,” then gently lift your dog’s paw into your hand. Mark it immediately with “yes” or “good.” Repeat the first step again until he gets the idea. It might take some time before he can master this, so you’ll need patience and determination. In time, your dog will respond when you say “shake” by raising his paw for you to shake.

If your training doesn’t go well, don’t show your frustration. Always end the short training sessions on a positive note. If you aren’t successful, shift to a trick that he knows and give him a reward while still praising him. Though it takes patience and continuous training, knowing how to teach a dog to shake hands is an easy way to get him to do a new trick. It’s also a great way to bond and spend quality time with your furry friend.


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