How to Teach Your Dog to Shake Hands

Teaching your dog tricks is an excellent way to bond with your furry friend, and it can also help stimulate their minds and keep them entertained. One of the most popular dog tricks is teaching them to shake hands. Not only is it a cute trick, but it can also be useful for greeting visitors or even for veterinary exams. In this article, we will discuss how to teach your dog to shake hands step by step.

Understanding the Basics of Dog Training

Before you start teaching your dog any tricks, it is important to understand the basics of dog training. Positive reinforcement is the most effective method for teaching your dog tricks. This means that you should reward your dog for good behavior instead of punishing them for bad behavior. Rewards can include treats, praise, or playtime with their favorite toy.

Step-by-Step Guide to Teach Your Dog to Shake Hands

  • Start with the basics: Before you start teaching your dog to shake hands, they should already know basic commands such as “sit” and “stay.”
  • Get your dog’s attention: Hold a treat in your hand and show it to your dog. This will get their attention and make them interested in what you are doing.
  • Offer your hand: Extend your hand towards your dog with your palm facing up. Say “shake” or “paw” as you do this.
  • Wait for your dog to respond: Your dog may sniff or lick your hand, but eventually, they will try to paw at your hand. As soon as they do, say “good boy/girl” and give them a treat.
  • Repeat the process: Practice this several times a day until your dog starts to lift their paw on their own when you say “shake” or “paw.”
  • Add the command: Once your dog starts lifting their paw on their own, you can start adding the “shake” or “paw” command as soon as they lift their paw. Be consistent with the command, so your dog understands what you want them to do.
  • Practice in different situations: Once your dog has mastered the trick in one location, start practicing in different locations and situations, so your dog understands that they should shake hands no matter where they are.
  • Eliminate treats: After your dog has mastered the trick, you can start phasing out treats and only rewarding them with praise or playtime.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Punishing your dog for not getting it right the first time
  • Training for too long in one session
  • Not being consistent with the command
  • Giving up too soon

Frequently Asked Questions


Teaching your dog to shake hands can be a fun and rewarding experience for both you and your furry friend. Remember to use positive reinforcement and be patient with your dog. With enough practice, your dog will be shaking hands in no time.

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