How to Teach Your Dog to Shake

Dog shaking paw.
Dog shaking paw. Photography by Nataliya Dorokhina / Shutterstock.

One of the best ways to have a great relationship with your dog is to make sure they are well trained. And training your dog can seem a little overwhelming sometimes, but I have an entire series of super-short videos that you can check out for training tips. Then, when you’re feeling confident that you have some of the basic commands, like sit, stay and come mastered, it’s a good idea to continue to teach new behaviors so that your dog is in the habit of learning new commands.

Plus, it can be fun to teach them tricks and show off to your family and friends. I mean, who doesn’t like to show off what their pup can do? You will be amazed how enthusiastic your friends will be to “get a paw.”

Below I have set out some simple steps for teaching your dog to shake. It’s easy to teach as long as you are patient and don’t forget to use positive reinforcement!

Before you teach a shake, you need to make sure that your dog understands how to sit. Also you want to make sure that, as with any behavior you are trying to teach, they first understand what it is you want them to do before you introduce the verbal command. Follow these steps:

  • To first get your dog to give you his paw, simply touch their leg a little bit and as soon as they lift up their paw, even a little bit, give them a treat right away.
  • Repeat this until they learn that that every time they give you their paw, they get a treat.
  • Remember, don’t introduce the verbal command until you are sure they understand the behavior.
  • Eventually don’t go down to tap their paw but instead, bring your hand up a little higher and once again, as soon as they give you their paw give them a treat.
  • Once they have figured out that you want them to give you their paw and they get a treat, you can introduce the verbal command.
  • Remember to treat as soon as they give you their paw as you only have a couple of seconds to reinforce that behavior.

See this training in action:

[brightcove videoID=5467456683001 playerID=HJNwsLuMW height=400 width=700]

Don’t feel like you have to train the entire trick in one session. Remember to be patient, stay positive and always end on a good note.

About the author: Travis Brorsen is one of the most sought after dog trainers in America today. Travis is Founder and CEO of Greatest American Dog Trainers, and is Animal Planet’s pet expert and trainer, hosting their new show, MY FAT PET, which premiers in Fall 2017. Travis and his team of trainers at Greatest American Dog Trainers not only provides hands-on training and dog walking to their canine clients and their humans, but are also focused on helping pets become more holistically healthy, fit and happy. In 2008, Travis and his 14-month-old, highly energetic and untrained boxer, Presley, won the grueling 12 week CBS’ national dog training competition, Greatest American Dog. As a result of the show, Travis discovered he had a passion to help other dogs and their owners create similar positive learning and relationship building experiences. Today, Travis and his Greatest American Dog Trainers team specializes in basic and advanced obedience, dog health and fitness training, as well as behavioral issues. For more information please go to

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