How To Teach A Dog To Shake Hands | PUPPYFAQS

How To Teach A Dog To Shake Hands

Teach a dog to shake hands

One of the fun training is how to teach a dog to shake hands because it can take the impression of your friends, and visitors. Moreover, if you perform this task successfully, you can improve the obedience of your dog as well as deepen your bond. Crate training is essential if you travel.

Even a 7 years-old kid can follow this essential training guide. So, don’t worry. I am sure you can do that also.

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What do you need to follow this guide?

First of all, you have to get a careful preparation to perform this task effortlessly and quickly. These 4 things are essential:

  • Your patience: this is a must. It may take you a long time to get the best result
  • Your dog: of course, it has to have at least a front paw
  • A few tasty treats: you should pick out the bite-sized treats so that your dog can chew effortlessly. Moreover, the small ones don’t provide too many extra calories. Some examples include liver treats or bbq chicken. However, what you will buy need to be based on its preference: soft or hard? What specific flavor does it like? Even you can make the homemade treats such as some little small pieces of cooked meat, fruits or vegetables. In case your dog is hard to motivate, you should train when its stomach is empty. Pay attention not to overfeed it or feed the foods which cause sickness and poisoning (garlic, onions, xylitol, macadamia nuts, moldy foods, ethanol, hops, raisins, grapes, bread dough, chocolate, and avocado)
  • Your 5 minutes every day: this time can last longer or shorter depending on your dog’s the obedience

You may also be interested in: Tips for potty training your new puppy

The step-by-step guide on how to teach a dog to shake hands:

Train your dog to sit first:

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Dogs just can give their hand to shake in the sitting location. That’s why you have to train sitting in advance. In case your dog hasn’t been trained seated in the past, you can teach it with a command. Keep in mind even when it can sit, don’t reward soon. Your purpose is to shake, not only sit.

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Present the treat to your dog:

Just let your dog see the treat then keep it on your left hand. Now, it’s time to train. Let you show the treat in front of the nose of your dog that is the way to take its attention.Note: put and hold the treat between your palm and thumb.

Choose a command to train your dog:

Teach a dog to shake hands

Usually, you had better use the command “Paw” or “Shake” to ask the dog to shake. No matter which command you use, make sure it’s short (the only word is the best). Say while you hold the treat in front of its nose. 

Remember to keep your voice loud enough. Also, don’t change command once your dog gets used to hearing that. If not, a new one can confuse your pet.

When your dog recognizes that there is a treat in your hand, it will do everything to get it from you. Thus, with any right behavior like lifting its paw to take the treat, let you say “yes” by an enthusiastic and excited voice and reward it the treat.

Also, ignore any wrong behaviors such as mouthing or sniffing your hand holding the treat. Be patient to perform this action a few times until your dog can lift its paw immediately when you say the command “Paw.”

Reward your dog when it shakes your hand:

Teach a dog to shake hands

After your dog can lift the paw, you will want to move to the next step. Reward your dog every time it is closer to the final purpose. For example, when it lifts its paw higher than the previous time, give it the treat and do that again until you reach the ultimate target.

Remove treat:

You can’t always provide a treat to cheat it pawing your hand. Thus, after performing all the steps above, you need to know how to teach a dog to shake hands without treats. 

Rather than, you need to say the command, praise as other rewards, or you can also give it a walk or playtime. To perform this step, your hands must be empty, NO TREAT.

Pro Tips:

  • Take the paw in your hand, if your dog isn’t interested in the treat. In this case, you should show your dog that pawing your hand is a fun activity even it’s rewarded by both taking its paw and giving it a lot of praise for words. Let you hold its paw and move gently and slowly within a few seconds after that rewarding.
  • Give your dog more challenging. When visitors come to your home, let you issue the command to shake hands. The more your dog practice, the better it can follow your command. Shaking with another hand is also a challenge. In this case, you need to follow the guidelines for the right hand. The most significant difference is to change the hand holding treat and the one shaking hand.

Note: if you have used the “shake” command for your right hand, now you should apply another one like “Paw” for the left hand.

Final Thoughts:

Now, you and your dog are there. Buy some extra treats, and you can apply my guide on how to teach a dog shake hands in your free time. Before starting, you have to train it to sit first but don’t give treat because your purpose is to teach it to shake hands.

Let it see the treat in your hand to simulate its appetite. It will use anyway to take the treat from you. When it lifts the paw higher to touch your hand, let you reward it immediately. 

Don’t forget to give a lot of the praise of words by an enthusiastic voice. You should train with a command for the best outcome. Finally, follow all steps above without a treat. Repeat this process every day for about 5 minutes every day.

Have you got all the primary information? Can it help you train your dog? Please let me know your result in the comment below.


I'm a self-employed blogger, life-long pet parent, and lover of dogs. I have always loved animals, especially puppies. So when my family got our first dog 15 years ago, it was love at first sight. We named her Sassy because she was so small, cute, and had a sassy personality! Once we got her home, I wanted to know everything about caring for her, so I researched online. Eventually, this led me to create the PUPPYFAQS website, where I write about nutrition, health, and care of puppies and the latest news in the world of puppies. In my spare time, I volunteer at my local shelter, which is run by volunteers who are passionate about helping homeless dogs find their forever homes. If I'm not working or volunteering for dogs, you can find me spending time with my family, friends, and my puppy. I have been writing professionally online since 2009. In addition to PUPPYFAQS, I also write for several other pet-related publications.

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