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How to teach your dog to give a paw and shake your hand

Dog giving paw advice
© Pixabay

Are you trying out new commands and easy to learn tricks with your new pup? One of the best actions you can teach your dog is to give a paw and shake your hand. It will certainly impress your friends

By Dawn Parrish

Why teach your dog to give paw?

If you have a new dog in the family, it’s understandable that you want to socialise and train him so that he understands some basic commands. The first routine you will probably teach is to “sit” to your command. Once he has mastered this action, its time to move onto something rather more entertaining. How cute is it when you see a dog reaching out his paw to make a handshake with someone? This train your dog to give paw routine will also educate your pup to remain focused during his training session. Bear in mind though, that this trick is so charming, your friends will ask your dog to repeat this action many times.

Before your training session begins

First of all, you need to ensure that your dog understands the command to “sit”. This will make the whole process a lot easier if he can follow your instructions. Try to carry out this tuition in a quiet place well away from other doggy distractions.

Dog gets a treat Reward your dog with a treat ©Pixabay

Step 1

Now that your pup has mastered the sit command you can move onto teaching him to shake your hand. Sit him directly in front of you. Hold out your hand towards his leg and see how he reacts. If he initiates a movement and places his paw onto your hand, make the comment “paw” and reward this with a treat. However, if he fails to give you his paw, attempts to sniff your hand or some other action, keep your same stance. Once again, touch his paw with your other hand and this should suggest that he puts his paw into your hand. When he does succeed, say “paw” and reward him. Repeat this action until your pup realises that each time they do give you a paw they will be rewarded.

Step 2

Continue a repetition of Step 1 several times. Repeat this action until your pooch places his paw into your hand without encouragement. Now it’s time to see if he has remembered the routine. This time don’t reach out and touch his paw. Speak the “paw” command, hold out your hand and he should place his paw into your palm. Of course, at this point certainly, praise him and give him a treat. Likewise, don’t speak the verbal instruction until you are certain that your dog grasps the need for the “behaviour”. It is important to reward immediately he holds out his paw. You need to reinforce this behaviour and you only have a time slot of a few seconds.

Teach your dog to give a paw Speak the paw command and then reward with a treat ©Pixabay

Step 3

If your dog is unsure of any part of this routine, repetition is the key. When you aim to teach your dog to give you his paw, it’s vital that you remain calm and consistent, so as not to confuse your pet. Your dog will finally realise that when he hears the command “paw” that he is expected to offer you his paw. It may take several attempts to get this coordination correct. Your dog may give you his paw when you ask, or you might also have to hold out your hand towards him.

Certainly, this routine isn’t especially difficult to teach. If you are training your pet well away from other distractions, he will pick it up quite easily. He will be keen to repeat the action too because he is being rewarded with a scrumptious treat each time. Above all, persevere, as just like most training sessions, they require lots of patience and repetition.

After just a couple of sessions, you should find that your dog has mastered this trick. Now you can move onto the next stage of the routine. Teach him to give you his other paw by you offering your other hand, holding a treat of course. You will find this task much easier if you use a different cue word for each paw. Alternative command words could be “Hand” or “Shake”. Any tricks you teach your dog should be part of playtime too. Your pet should not just be motivated by the treat reward but also by the thrill and excitement of learning a fun, new task.