How to Teach Your Dog to Shake Hands

If you have a dog, you may like to have your canine learn tricks. Now, you may not want your dog to ride a skateboard, and surfing and basketball may be a bit out of reach for your dog, but teaching your dog to shake hand could be very doable. Yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks.

So how do you do teach your dog to shake hands? Two things are critical in order to do so. The first is patience, with a side helping of love. You are most likely not going to be able to train your dog the first few times you try, so patience really is a virtue here.

The second thing you will need are treats. Dogs are motivated by food – you know, much like people are – so using treats can be a great incentive for your dog to learn things.  So using treats – whatever snacks your dog likes, such as dog biscuits – can really help reinforce whatever it is you want your dog to learn, like how to behave, how to sit, and how to shake hands.

So how can you teach your dog how to shake hands? Here are some tips:

  • Get your dog to sit down first. It would be hard for your pooch to shake hands if he is standing up, after all!
  • Take your dog’s front right paw and say, “shake.”  You can also say something besides “shake,” such as “give me your paw.” It is important to be consistent, though, and to say the same thing each and every time. Switching what you say will confuse your pet.
  • Shake hands with your dog.
  • Then give your dog a treat and say “good dog,” “good boy,” or “good girl.” The treat and the praise will get your dog to associate shaking hands with being a positive action.
  • Repeat.  You can do this multiple times over a number of days, or as long as it takes to train your dog. Your canine should eventually be able to extend his or her hand out without you grabbing first. All it will eventually take is you giving a shaking hands command in order for your dog to extend his paw for a handshake.