Today I will talk about a classic dog trick. It is cute, fun for your dog, and quite simple to teach. And you can use it to have your dog say hi to people and avoid jumping on people. Neat, right? All you have to do is teach dog to shake.
Dog paw shake is a cute trick that you teach in a matter of a few dog training sessions. Bonus tips: I use it as part of my evening routine to hand-feed Milo. He gets rewards for shaking, left or right paw, down, sitting, and some other basic commands.
Is it hard to teach a dog to shake?
Shake is a fun dog trick that is quite easy to teach. Most dogs learn it quickly. A few short training sessions and you have it.
Milo learned it in three sessions. Soon enough, your dog will offer its paw for a shake when they meet someone new.
Now you have a calm, well-mannered dog, that is also polite to people. They will all love him.
Understanding the basic training sequence
Before we get to how to teach dog to shake, I have to explain the basic learning or basic training sequence. All you need for teaching a new trick is positive reinforcement treats and some patience.
The basic training sequence goes like this: request > lure > respond > reward. That is four simple steps to a new command.
For example, in this case, a request is a verbal command or verbal cue, the lure is the food reward you give(but not yet), the response is when your dog gives its dog paw, and then you reward with the treats or food we mentioned in step 2.
Prepare for a Training Session
Teaching shake is a simple process, yet you have to prepare yourself for the training session. What do I mean by this? Well, you need a handful of treats.
And most importantly, your dog has to know the sit command first. Without sit, it just doesn’t look normal or comfortable for a dog to shake.
Teach Your Dog To Shake
So, how do you teach dog to shake? Well, let me give you the simple steps for instruction, and you try it at home.
- Start by holding your hand out to your dog. Have your dog sniffing, licking, or anything like that, just playing with your hand. This is to make your dog comfortable interacting with your hand. You can open your hand, praise, give a treat
- In the beginning you can give treats for any interaction with the hand. But over time, you need to be patient. Close your fist, and wait until your dog gives its paw, usually, the right paw. Then, mark the behavior with yes, praise, give a treat
- It is best that you work with crossing hands. So, your left hand with the right dog paw
- Repeat the steps several times until your dog is consistently pawing your hand and start building the duration and increasing the difficulty. Have your dog hold your hand for a longer period before you praise and repeat
- At this point, you do not give any verbal cue or verbal command. It is too soon for that. Your dog has to understand the new trick first before you add a formal cue, be it a hand signal or a verbal one
- Once your dog’s paw rests on your hand before praising and giving treats, it understands that you want their paw on your hand
- Now, ask your dog to hold its paw on your hand first for only a second before praising and giving a treat. This will tell your dog that the treat is not for scratching you, but for placing the paw on the hand
- You can start introducing verbal cue shake when your dog is consistently placing its paw on your hand. Now, I have to notice, shake is the most common cue, but you can also make it hi, hello, give paw, or anything else
Shaking with each paw
I have to stress that dogs do not generalize the way we do. Because of this, you have to teach them separately with the left paw and the right paw. For dogs, shaking hands with one hand is not the same as the other.
As I said before, it is best that you use different hands. Or to put it simply, the hand closest to their paw. If you hold your right hand, your dog will offer its left paw. And if you put your left hand out, your dog will offer its right paw.
When you try to teach any new basic command, you start with a calm and comfortable place. For example, your home, where there are no distractions and triggers.
The shake command is quite simple and easy to teach. In terms of tricks training, it is one of the simplest. And at the same time, maybe one of the most useful.
I said you can use it when your dog meets new people. Instead of jumping on them, you can train your dog to sit and give a paw. Or say hello for better understanding.
In order for this to be successful, you have to phase out the treat. Your dog should give a paw for praising and cuddling.
How do you phase out the treat and eliminate it?
Well, you start by phasing out. Once your dog offers its paw on the shake command, you begin phasing out. Start with your hand closed over the treat, and give the command shake. As soon as your dog offers its paw, give a treat from the other hand, not from the closed one. Repeat several times.
Then, it is time to switch treat hands. Put out your hand without holding the treat inside and give the same basic command shake. Give the dog a treat from the other hand as soon as it offers its paw. Practice and patience and your dog will get it.
Then, it is time to completely eliminate the treat. Begin by offering a treat less frequently. Say, every third successful paw. Slowly decrease the number of times your dog gets a treat. Soon enough, your dog will offer its paw on command and you need a treat every once in a while.