How to Train Your Dog to Give Paw

Easy
2-3 Weeks
Fun

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.

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.

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.

The Tap His Paw Method

Most Recommended
5 Votes
Step
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.
Step
2
Tap
Gently tap the back of his paw just below his dew claw.
Step
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.
Step
4
Shake
As your dog's paw moves away from your hand, gently pick it up and say the word 'Shake.'
Step
5
Praise and treats
Give him verbal praise and a reward for a job well done.
Step
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.
Recommend training method?

The Make Him Think Method

Effective
3 Votes
Step
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.
Step
2
Empty hand
Hold out an empty hand with your palm facing up level with your dog's chest.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
7
Command
Begin to use the 'shake' or 'give me your paw' command each time you put your hand palm up near your dog.
Step
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.
Recommend training method?

The Give Me Your Paw Method

Least Recommended
3 Votes
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
3
Command
Say the words, 'give me your paw,' and move your fist under your dog's nose so he can smell the treat.
Step
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.
Step
5
Reward
Once your dog paws at your hand, give him the treat and verbal praise.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
Martini
Maltese
3 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Martini
Maltese
3 Years

We have tried all the above methods to make my dog give me his paw but nothing seems to work he just stares at me
And secondly when he’s near other dog he has no control, he barks and barks and won’t stop and I don’t know how to control him.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
708 Dog owners recommended

Hello Linara, 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. For the barking, I recommend desensitizing pup to the other dogs. Check out the video and youtube channel I have linked below for examples of desensitizing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eo-L2qtD7MQ&list=PLXtcKXk-QWojGYcl1NCg5UA5geEnmpx4a&index=7 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3n_fPKPLA2g&list=PLXtcKXk-QWojGYcl1NCg5UA5geEnmpx4a&index=10 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JY7JrteQBOQ&list=PLXtcKXk-QWojGYcl1NCg5UA5geEnmpx4a&index=12 Desensitize method and Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Luna
Miniature Pinscher
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Luna
Miniature Pinscher
1 Year

Luna is a smart puppy, I just don’t think she’s interested in this trick.
I tried all three methods and her mind is directly on the treat, not lifting her paw at all.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
708 Dog owners recommended

Hello Caydria, First, I recommend hiding the treat behind your back while training and presenting it as soon as pup does something right - so pup doesn't just stare at it the whole time. I also 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

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Question
Gadget
Shih Tzu
12 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Gadget
Shih Tzu
12 Years

I think he I going deaf is there anyway to train a deaf dog?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
708 Dog owners recommended

Hello Gracie, You can teach a silent version of this command and the cue to give paw is your outstretched hand in front of them - like a person offering their hand to shake. With pup sitting in front of you, tap the back of pup's front paw until they light it slightly off the ground. As soon as they move it at all, smile 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 smile for attempts though. When pup will lift the paw a couple of inches off the ground when you tap, place your free hand in front of their paw like you are offering a hand shake each time you practice this with a tap, so that the hand outstretched because a signal that a tap is coming, and that they should lift their paw. When pup begins to lift their paw before you tap, when they see your outstretched hand, then wait seven seconds after offering your hand before tapping to see if they will lift their paw without a tap. After waiting 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 when they see your hand without needing the tap a few seconds later. When pup can lift when you offer your hand, 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 until they are good at this. 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, smile 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. As pup ages, hand signals become a great way to teach or re-teach commands to deaf dogs. You can even teach pup to look at you when you vibrate a remote training collar - using food rewards and helping pup associate the vibration with good things, then give a hand signal for a command once they look, if there are commands you need to give from further away or while pup is distracted - which can then allow pup to have a bit more freedom or interaction again. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Beau
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
12 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
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Beau
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
12 Weeks

Sometimes Beau gets overexcited and bites during petting or playing, which has lead to scratches and bleeding. It's never aggressive but it is becoming a problem at time. Any ideas to stop him whilst he is doing it? I don't want to shout etc. Any help appreciated, thank you!

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
134 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Here is some information on nipping/biting. Nipping: Puppies may nip for a number of reasons. Nipping can be a means of energy release, getting attention, interacting and exploring their environment or it could be a habit that helps with teething. Whatever the cause, nipping can still be painful for the receiver, and it’s an action that pet parents want to curb. Some ways to stop biting before it becomes a real problem include: Using teething toys. Distracting with and redirecting your dog’s biting to safe and durable chew toys is one way to keep them from focusing their mouthy energies to an approved location and teach them what biting habits are acceptable. Making sure your dog is getting the proper amount of exercise. Exercise is huge. Different dogs have different exercise needs based on their breed and size, so check with your veterinarian to make sure that yours is getting the exercise they need. Dogs—and especially puppies—use their playtime to get out extra energy. With too much pent-up energy, your pup may resort to play biting. Having them expel their energy in positive ways - including both physical and mental exercise - will help mitigate extra nips. Being consistent. Training your dog takes patience, practice and consistency. With the right training techniques and commitment, your dog will learn what is preferred behavior. While sometimes it may be easier to let a little nipping activity go, be sure to remain consistent in your cues and redirection. That way, boundaries are clear to your dog. Using positive reinforcement. To establish preferred behaviors, use positive reinforcement when your dog exhibits the correct behavior. For instance, praise and treat your puppy when they listen to your cue to stop unwanted biting as well as when they choose an appropriate teething toy on their own. Saying “Ouch!” The next time your puppy becomes too exuberant and nips you, say “OUCH!” in a very shocked tone and immediately stop playing with them. Your puppy should learn - just as they did with their littermates - that their form of play has become unwanted. When they stop, ensure that you follow up with positive reinforcement by offering praise, treat and/or resuming play. Letting every interaction with your puppy be a learning opportunity. While there are moments of dedicated training time, every interaction with your dog can be used as a potential teaching moment.

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Question
Bella
Don’t know the breed
7 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Bella
Don’t know the breed
7 Months

How can I teach my dog commands and to stop biting

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
134 Dog owners recommended

Hello! I am going to send you information on nipping/biting. As far as teaching commands, you can find steps for teaching nearly any command on google. Teaching one per week until you have taught all of the commands you want her to learn is a good way to go about teaching. Nipping: Puppies may nip for a number of reasons. Nipping can be a means of energy release, getting attention, interacting and exploring their environment or it could be a habit that helps with teething. Whatever the cause, nipping can still be painful for the receiver, and it’s an action that pet parents want to curb. Some ways to stop biting before it becomes a real problem include: Using teething toys. Distracting with and redirecting your dog’s biting to safe and durable chew toys is one way to keep them from focusing their mouthy energies to an approved location and teach them what biting habits are acceptable. Making sure your dog is getting the proper amount of exercise. Exercise is huge. Different dogs have different exercise needs based on their breed and size, so check with your veterinarian to make sure that yours is getting the exercise they need. Dogs—and especially puppies—use their playtime to get out extra energy. With too much pent-up energy, your pup may resort to play biting. Having them expel their energy in positive ways - including both physical and mental exercise - will help mitigate extra nips. Being consistent. Training your dog takes patience, practice and consistency. With the right training techniques and commitment, your dog will learn what is preferred behavior. While sometimes it may be easier to let a little nipping activity go, be sure to remain consistent in your cues and redirection. That way, boundaries are clear to your dog. Using positive reinforcement. To establish preferred behaviors, use positive reinforcement when your dog exhibits the correct behavior. For instance, praise and treat your puppy when they listen to your cue to stop unwanted biting as well as when they choose an appropriate teething toy on their own. Saying “Ouch!” The next time your puppy becomes too exuberant and nips you, say “OUCH!” in a very shocked tone and immediately stop playing with them. Your puppy should learn - just as they did with their littermates - that their form of play has become unwanted. When they stop, ensure that you follow up with positive reinforcement by offering praise, treat and/or resuming play. Letting every interaction with your puppy be a learning opportunity. While there are moments of dedicated training time, every interaction with your dog can be used as a potential teaching moment.

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