An easy, popular trick to teach your dog is to shake hands with you. You ask your dog for his paw and give it a friendly shake. Besides being plain fun, it’s also a cute way to ask your dog to greet visitors.
- Have a handful of treats ready. If you choose, you can ask your dog to sit before you shake with him. If you want your dog to stand while giving you a paw, however, that’s fine too. Once your dog is in the desired position, pick up his paw. Don’t hold it for too long, as it will make your dog uncomfortable. Hold your dog’s paw for a second, release, and give him a treat and praise. Repeat several times.
- Now that your dog is comfortable with you picking up his paw for a second, start extending the time you hold it. Also, add a little shake, as if you were really shaking another person’s hand. If your dog gets scared or acts uncomfortable while you’re holding his paw for longer or giving it a little shake, go back and work longer on step one.
Sissy’s Tips and Techniques
- Some dogs are simply horrified if you touch their paws. If your dog is, you will have to proceed slowly. Work on getting him comfortable with you simply giving his paw a single, gentle stroke. While you’re giving him that touch, feed him a yummy treat, like peanut butter or a deliciously flavored dog treat. Your dog will be distracted and begin to associate the touching with something good. Please don’t rush the touching, as it can make your dog dislike training and being touched by you.
- Certain dogs may find it hard to keep their balance while giving you a paw, especially puppies. It might help to have your dog Sit instead of stand.
- Once your dog willingly lets you pick up his paw, extend your hand and see if he’ll give you his paw by himself. Work on this until your dog will give you his paw for a hearty “paw shake.”