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Teach a dog to ‘shake hands’

Lift up the dogs hand and literally shake his paw yourself. At the same time say “shake hands” and then give him a treat. Every time they do it, praise them and say words like “well done” and “good boy/girl”.

As you do this, they will realise that they must be doing something right and will eventually be glad to shake your hand.

Keep repeating this process and your dog ‘should’ get it eventually. Once you have taught your dog how to shake hands, you can move on to the ‘wave’ command.

Offer to ‘shake hands’ then lift your hand up so that the dog has to raise his paw higher – wave your hand at the dog (signal) say the word ‘good wave’ or whatever you choose. Your dog will be confused at first but with patience will understand the difference between ‘shake’ and ‘wave’.

Here at my house we’ve combined the two to have a ‘High Five’ trick too!

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Filed Under: Dog TrainingDog Tricks


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  1. Great information. I thought one of my dogs how to shake hand and was trying to teach the other with no luck. I will try this method.

  2. Yes, it’s pretty easy to teach a dog to do this shaking hands thing, especially if they are very keen to get a treat from you, but be warned: it is harder to teach them not to do it when you have had enough!

    It’s such a cute thing for a dog to do, I agree, and it’s fine with a little dog like the one in the video. I once taught a Great Dane to do this and yes – it was so cute to show off to people, but I really wished sometimes I hadn’t encouraged him to do it! A massive Dane paw swiping at you for a treat doesn’t always go down so well!

  3. It’s a lot of fun to teach your dog tricks. Not only do you feel good about your dog actually doing what you are teaching him but you are also bonding and having fun with him. Good info.

  4. I was so happy that my dog shadow already know how to shake hands.. thanks for your guide.. it really helps a lot.

  5. grat i learnt alot

  6. I’ve never had a problem teaching any of the dogs i’ve had how to shake hands. The advice given here is how i’ve always done it too and they’ve always learnt to do it very quickly. The dogs always enjoy learning new methods to bond with us..

  7. Good Info. Probably one of the easiest things to teach a dog to do. Great Blog!

  8. We used the word “paw”. As long as you are consistent in your actions and words they will pick up on tricks and training pretty quick.

    George’s last blog post..Is Your Labrador Retriever a Chewer?

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