Teach Your Dog A Firm Handshake

Teach Your Dog A Firm Handshake

Trainer Travis Brorsen shows you how to teach your dog to present their paw for a shake.

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.


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.