After training your dog a few basic commands like sitting and staying, you can move on to more advanced tricks, like teaching them to shake your hand (sometimes referred to as “giving a paw”). Whether you’re an experienced dog owner or a newbie, by following a few simple steps (and having some patience), your dog is well on their way to learning this cool new trick. As a bonus, this trained behavior comes in handy when you need to wipe off our dog’s muddy paws or even trim their nails.

Steps to Teaching Your Dog to Shake

Step 1

Have your dog “sit.”

Step 2

Grab a treat and show it off before you hide it in your closed fist.

Step 3

Hold out your fist, palm facing up, at about your dog’s chest level.

Step 4

Your dog should naturally paw at your fist to get to the treat. When they do, open your hand and let them have the treat and give them plenty of praise. Repeat these steps several times until your dog “gets it.”

Step 5

Repeat steps 1–4, but this time, without holding a treat in your hand. As soon as your dog paws at your fist, give them a treat from your other hand.

Step 6

Once your dog understands what you want them to do, it’s time to add the word “shake” — add this word just before you put out your hand. Now your dog is shaking!

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We recommend practicing for 5-10 minutes per day as to not frustrate or tire out your dog. If you’d like, you can incorporate a clicker into this routine, “clicking” immediately before giving the treat. If your dog isn’t getting the trick down as quickly as you’d like, be sure not to scold and instead to just offer encouragement along the way.

By training your dog to shake (as well all the other foundational behaviors like sitting and staying), you’ve helped keep them safe, improved their confidence, and given yourself something to show off!


The Zoetis Petcare Team

As the world’s largest animal health company, Zoetis develops and creates innovative products that improve the health of your pets. Their team of pet-lovers, scientists, vets, and more have dedicated over 65 years to advancing pet health. Their products are so trusted and effective, they’re in almost every vet practice in the country.