How to Train Your Dog to Give Paw

How to Train Your Dog to Give Paw
Easy difficulty iconEasy
Time icon2-3 Weeks
Fun training category iconFun

Introduction

Teaching your dog to give his paw for a good shake is a fun trick. 'Give me your paw' is a trick that most dogs learn fairly quickly and probably one of the most common things people will ask your dog to do when they meet and greet him. It will not take long to teach your dog to offer his paw or to give his paw when asked for a shake anytime he meets someone. You can teach your dog to give his paw when he is asked, or you can even teach him to automatically put his paw up for a good firm shake anytime he meets a new person. Either way, the 'give me your paw' command is definitely a fun and common dog trick. This one is pretty easy, so have fun with it. Once your dog knows how to give his paw, you get to sit back and watch everyone ask for it and then smile at how incredibly smart and talented your dog is.

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Defining Tasks

The 'give me your paw' trick is easy. However, you will want your dog to know basic obedience commands first. Teach your dog to sit first, so he is in proper position to offer his paw for a good shake. You might want to be prepared to teach your dog different commands for the trick. Some people may ask, ‘give me your paw,’ and some people may use the word ‘shake.’ You’ll want your dog to know both commands mean the same thing. Because this is a fairly easy command, keep your sessions short, and visit with your dog often to practice. You can teach any dog at any age to shake his paw with someone, however starting young is often the easiest.

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Getting Started

Be prepared with lots of tasty treats while training your dog to give his paw. Other than delicious treats for rewards, you just need time and patience. Training you dog to give his paw will take several small sessions rather than one long session. Just be prepared for consistent training.

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The Make Him Think Method

Most Recommended

4 Votes

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Most Recommended

4 Votes

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1

Sit

Ask your dog to sit and offer him a treat once he does. This puts them in the proper position to shake as well as lets him know that you have treats on hand that he can work for.

2

Empty hand

Hold out an empty hand with your palm facing up level with your dog's chest.

3

Sniff

Your dog may sniff your hand or even lick your hand, but make him wait and think about why your hand is where it is.

4

Wait

Keep your hand open waiting for a different reaction besides sniffing or licking from your dog. He will eventually become curious and lift his paw up to touch your hand.

5

Reward

As soon as your dog lifts his paw, even if he doesn't touch your hand, praise him and offer him a treat.

6

Repeat

Repeat this several times until each time you hold your hand out, your dog lifts his paw rather than sniffs or licks your hand first.

7

Command

Begin to use the 'shake' or 'give me your paw' command each time you put your hand palm up near your dog.

8

Practice

Practice this several times a day until your dog knows the command and the action that goes with the command. Each time you say 'shake' or 'give me your paw,' your dog should lift his paw and put it in your hand. Be sure to reward him each time for a job well done.

The Tap His Paw Method

Effective

5 Votes

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Effective

5 Votes

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1

Sit

Put your dog in a sit position and offer him a treat. This lets him know you have treats and he can earn them.

2

Tap

Gently tap the back of his paw just below his dew claw.

3

Reaction

Your dog will react to your tap in some way. He may look down at you and sniff your hand or he may pick up his paw and move away from your tapping finger.

4

Shake

As your dog's paw moves away from your hand, gently pick it up and say the word 'Shake.'

5

Praise and treats

Give him verbal praise and a reward for a job well done.

6

Repeat

Repeat these actions until your dog no longer needs the tap on the back of his paw and responds to only the commands 'shake' or 'give me your paw' by lifting up his paw and putting it in your hand. Always be sure to reward your dog each time he is successful.

The Give Me Your Paw Method

Least Recommended

3 Votes

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Least Recommended

3 Votes

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1

Stand and sit

Stand in front of your dog and ask him to sit. Be sure to give him a treat for obeying. If your dog does not immediately sit when asked, be sure to revisit basic obedience commands before teaching him to give his paw.

2

Treat in fist

With a treat hidden inside one hand, close your hand and show him your fist so he can smell the treats but not take it from you.

3

Command

Say the words, 'give me your paw,' and move your fist under your dog's nose so he can smell the treat.

4

Dig with paw

Your dog will want to get to the treat so allow him to paw or dig at your hand waiting for you to open it so he can eat the treat.

5

Reward

Once your dog paws at your hand, give him the treat and verbal praise.

6

Practice

Practice this several times over small training sessions until your dog understands when you use the command, 'give me your paw,' he is supposed to put his paw in your hand.

7

Open hand

Once your dog has the command and the action down, stop using a treat inside your fist and open your hand for a good hand to paw shake. At this point, you should be able to use the command 'give me your paw' and expect your dog to shake. Once your dog is successful, offer him a treat, but do not keep one hidden inside your hand once he is at this level.

Written by Stephanie Plummer

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 10/10/2017, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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feona

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Yorkie

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Six Years

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Question

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I want to teach my dog to sit

Oct. 7, 2023

feona's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello, Check out this article on teaching Sit. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-sit Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Oct. 19, 2023

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feona

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Yorkie

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Two Months

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Question

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hi can my dog is stobern can you help

Oct. 5, 2023

feona's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello, First, keep training session frequent but very short, only 5-10 minutes at a time. Puppies at this age haven't learned how to focus and learn from you yet, and their attention spans are very short. All of that is normal at this age, so training can take a bit more patience. You are not only teaching pup how to shake, you are also teaching them how to learn from you. I suggest a different approach. With pup sitting in front of you, tap the back of pup's front paw until they light it slightly off the ground, while happily saying "Paw or Shake". As soon as they move it at all, praise enthusiastically and reward with a treat. Repeat this until pup starts to lift the paw all the way off the ground - then reward. When pup is lifting the paw up, require pup to lift it higher before rewarding with a treat. Continue to praise for attempts though. When pup will lift the paw a couple of inches off the ground when you tap and say shake, start to tell pup to Shake, then wait seven seconds, then tap to remind pup if they don't lift on their own. Do this until pup starts to lift the paw consistently without needing the tap a few seconds later. When pup can lift when you say paw, place your hand under their paw when they lift it, praise and reward right when their paw touches your hand - even though you caused it to. Repeat. Next, place your hand slightly below where pup's lifted paw is, wait until pup lowers their paw a bit - accidentally touching your hand on their own (by accident on their part at first), as soon as pup touches your hand on their own because your hand was under the paw, praise and reward. Repeat until pup starts to intentionally touch your hand because they are associating it with the treat being given. When pup starts to understand that touching your hand is what earns them the treat, wait until pup puts their paw all the way into your hand, rather than just touching it slightly, before you reward. Practice this often for lots of short training sessions frequently, rather than fewer long ones to help pup focus and not get as distracted during training. Expect this to take several days or weeks to teach, not just one or two sessions. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Oct. 10, 2023


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