Tricks & Games

How to Teach Your Dog to Shake a Paw

October 27, 2022

Teaching your dog to shake a paw is a classic dog trick. “Shake” is fun, cute, and easy to teach!

Rather than lifting your dogs paw for them, I encourage you to try the force free method I cover in this article & Youtube video. By letting your dog puzzle out the action themselves, you’ll work their brain & they’ll have more fun!

To watch the tutorial on Youtube, click here

What you’ll need to train your dog to shake a paw:

  • A distraction free area to train
  • Treats (smellier the better!)
  • A loaded clicker or marker word
  • Reliably trained “Sit” cue
Train your dog to shake a paw

How to teach your dog to Shake a Paw:

  1. Start by having your dog sit in front of you in a room with minimal distractions.
  2. Put a treat in your hand, close it into a fist, then make sure your dog knows it’s there by waving it under their nose. Once you get their attention, put the treat close to their leg.
  3. Your dog may start by licking or sniffing your hand. Wait until they paw at your fist, then mark “Yes” and give them the treat.
  4. Repeat this until your dog is reliably placing their paw on your hand as soon as you present it.
  5. Next, add a verbal cue! I use “Paw” but you can also use “Shake”. Before presenting the treat to your dog, say “Paw”. Repeat this a few times to get them used to the verbal cue.
  6. When your dog understands the “Paw” cue, phase out the treat in your hand! This time, present an empty fist to your dog as you say “Paw”. When they place their paw on your hand, mark “Yes” and give them a treat from your OTHER hand!
  7. Complete the trick by offering your palm rather than a fist when you say “Paw”.
How to teach your dog to shake a paw

Congratulations- You just taught your dog to shake a paw!

I’d love to see success pictures in the comments below!

Happy training 🙂

Disclosure: Happy Hounds uses affiliate links. Purchasing with these links will not cost you any extra, but I get commissions for purchases made through these links. Affiliate links help me to continue to offer free resources & blog posts. I would love if you used them!

How to Teach Your Dog to Shake a Paw

About the author:

Stephanie Rombough, DBTMc, is a force-free dog trainer in Edmonton, Alberta. She owns Happy Hounds Dog Training, offering private in-person or virtual dog training services. 

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My mission at Happy Hounds is to help owners train their dogs using positive, force-free methods. A trained dog is less likely to end up in a shelter, and a dog trained with positive methods is more likely to be confident & happy. Everyone wins!


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