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
3 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 Give Me Your Paw Method

Effective
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?

The Make Him Think Method

Least Recommended
1 Vote
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?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
jelly
Beagle
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
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jelly
Beagle
1 Year

how to train him to lay down

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
614 Dog owners recommended

Hello Thrisha, To teach Jelly to lay down follow one of the methods from the article that I have linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-to-lay-down Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Chicco
Shih Tzu
9 Months
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Chicco
Shih Tzu
9 Months

When walking him on his lead if we meet other dogs he pulls badly on his lead and barks to get to them it's not in an aggressive way he just wants to play but some people don't understand this and think he is being aggressive I just don't know what to do and would be so grateful for any advice...

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
614 Dog owners recommended

Hello Helen, First, when you walk him, walk him on a regular 6 ft leash and work on him walking in the heel position (head behind your leg). Doing this during normal walks when dogs are not around sets the tone for following you and letting you handle situations when dogs appear. Follow the Turns method from the article linked below to teach heel: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Second, once he knows how to heel when dogs are not around, go to the park or somewhere spacious where he will see other dogs from a distance (outside of a dog park works - but don't go inside the dog fence or that will likely only make this issue worse right now). While at the park practice his heel with lots of turns and changes of speed so that he has to focus on you to keep up. Practice "Watch Me" and commands like Sit-Stay and Down-Stay, and other things that require focus on you and self-control. Do this far enough away from other dogs that he notices the dogs but can still respond to you when you work to get his attention. When he starts to struggle, then begin heeling with him and do so many turns and speed changes that he starts to focus back on you to keep up. Once he is calm again after that, you practice Sit and other commands again. Practice the training until he begins to ignore the other dogs from that distance over several sessions. When he improves at focusing on you and being calm around the dogs, decrease the distance between him and the other dogs and practice at the new distance until he improves again. Gradually decrease the distance as he improves overtime until he can handle being within just a few feet of other dogs and remain calm. Also, check out the article that I have linked below and work on the "Walking Together" method if you have friends with calm, friendly dogs that you can practice with. You want his encounters with other dogs to be pleasant but very boring and calm right now. Think about how a Service Dog acts around other dogs - that's the type of socialization and calmness you are encouraging. Follow the "Walking Together" method from the article linked below: https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Monty
Jug
8 Months
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Monty
Jug
8 Months

He has been taught to sit by another family member which he responds well too.
But i have been trying to teach him paw i have read up and tried multiple different ways but none have worked, he either sits staring at me for a treat or he just gives up and walks away.
Is there any other way that would make it easier or more interesting for him. Thanks Nikita

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
614 Dog owners recommended

Hello Nikita, If your dog likes to dig, then get some sand, hold a treat between your fingers and while your dog is watching, cover your hand holding the treat with the sand. Let him go investigate while you tell him "Paw!" in a happy tone of voice. Move your hand around under the sand to get him even more interested in your hand and act enthusiastic. As soon as he touches your hand with his paw to dig or by accident while investigating, praise him enthusiastically, pull your hand out of the sand and offer him the treat inside it. Repeat this sand game with a treat in your hand until your dog is enthusiastic about getting to your hand under the sand. As he improves, cover your hand with less and less sand until your hand is simply sitting in front of him while he is pawing at it when commanded to "Paw". When he can touch your hand without needing the sand, then gradually raise your hand higher and higher as he improves, until he can paw at it at the correct height for the trick. Finally, remove the treat from your hand, and when you tell him "Paw" and he touches your hand with his paw, give him a treat from your other hand that was behind your back. To help speed things up, try to praise him the second he touches your hand so that he will understand what he is being rewarded for exactly. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Stormzy
French Bulldog
13 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Stormzy
French Bulldog
13 Months

Unable to learn paw

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
614 Dog owners recommended

Hello Danielle, Try this alternate method of teaching Paw: If your dog likes to dig, then get some sand, hold a treat between your fingers and while your dog is watching, cover your hand holding the treat with the sand. Let him go investigate while you tell him "Paw!" in a happy tone of voice. Move your hand around under the sand to get him even more interested in your hand and act enthusiastic. As soon as he touches your hand with his paw to dig or by accident while investigating, praise him enthusiastically, pull your hand out of the sand and offer him the treat inside it. Repeat this sand game with a treat in your hand until your dog is enthusiastic about getting to your hand under the sand. As he improves, cover your hand with less and less sand until your hand is simply sitting in front of him while he is pawing at it when commanded to "Paw". When he can touch your hand without needing the sand, then gradually raise your hand higher and higher as he improves, until he can paw at it at the correct height for the trick. Finally, remove the treat from your hand, and when you tell him "Paw" and he touches your hand with his paw, give him a treat from your other hand that was behind your back. To help speed things up, try to praise him the second he touches your hand so that he will understand what he is being rewarded for exactly. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Daisy
Cavapoo
4 Years
0 found helpful
Question
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Daisy
Cavapoo
4 Years

Whenever i fist my hand she will not be interested and looks away. She only know how to sit, run, jump that's it. How do i tech her to give paw, roll over and hug?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
614 Dog owners recommended

Hello Bianca, I suggest trying one of the other methods from the article, such as the "Tap Paw" method. https://wagwalking.com/training/give-paw Reward her for simply taking weight off of the paw at first. Once she will do that consistently, then reward her for lifting the paw a bit, then for lifting it off the ground completely. When she will lift it off the ground completely when you tap the back of it and say "Give Paw", then when she lifts it quickly slide your hand underneath her paw and praise her as soon as her paw touches your hand. Give her the treat right then also. As she improves gradually increase how high she has to lift her paw up to touch your hand until you have reached the normal height that the trick is taught, putting your hand out in front of her while saying "Give Paw". Teaching tricks is all about helping the dog do the correct behavior you are trying to teach, then rewarding them anytime they get a little bit closer to doing that behavior than they were before. It requires lots of very tiny baby steps of slightly more, slightly higher, touching the right thing, ect...Don't expect her to simply put her paw in your hand right away, take baby steps there by encouraging her to lift it first, then touch it to your hand, then put it in your hand in front of her - some dogs will put their paw in your hand when you offer it right away because they just wanted to touch her hand and explore, but many need to use another method. Hug trick how to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nh4DaX95uHU How to teach Roll over: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMRRLUyAIyw Many tricks are combinations of simple tricks, put together to make more complex tricks - because of this you may have to teach more basic tricks before doing harder things. Generally the more tricks you train the easier is becomes to teach your dog new things and even harder things because your dog has a better understanding of what you want, gets better at learning new things, and you become a more skilled teacher. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Cooper
Greyhound
15 Weeks
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Cooper
Greyhound
15 Weeks

We have had Cooper for a week now. We are trying to train him, but when he is playing, he is getting too boistrous and will not listen, and jumps up to me and my partner. He bites us, the furniture anything he shouldnt. We are trying to distract him and use his toys but he doesnt seem tonwant to. Seems tomorefer our arms instead. We know he is only playing but he is already a big boy and when we are sat on the sofa and he does it, it can be a little bit scary. And he has a tendency to not listen to his obediance commands, which we are working on with him every day, but if he feels he deserves a treat, and we are trying to get him to wait longer ect he gets a bit testy and barks and jumps up often. We dont want to give him negative reinforcement forndoing things. We have bought him some treat balls and teething toys but just waiting for them to arrive. Just wondering if you have any tips on what can stop/reduce the jumping up. As well as any training activities that might work to.tire him.out mentally. He is getting plenty of physical stimulation but we are unsure if we are giving him enough mental stimulation and unsuure what will be good for him. We are aware that the greyhound breed can be bery stubborn and we are defo seeing that in him!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
614 Dog owners recommended

Hello Chloe, What you described sounds like the puppy zommies - its a period of hyper activity that all puppies tend to get occasionally while young. Check out the article linked below. Starting today, use the "Yelp" method. At the same time however, begin teaching "Leave It" from the "Leave It" method. As soon as pup is good as the Leave It game, start telling pup to "Leave It" when he attempts to bite or is tempted to bite. Reward pup if he makes a good choice. If he disobeys your leave it command, use the Pressure method to gently discipline pup for biting when you told him not to. The order or all of this is very important - the yelp method can be used for the next couple of weeks while pup is learning leave it, but leave it will teach pup to stop the biting entirely. The pressure method teaches pup that you mean what you say without being overly harsh - but because you have taught pup to leave it first, pup clearly understands that you are not just roughhousing, so it is more effective. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite When pup gets especially wound up, he probably needs a nap too. At this age puppies will sometimes get really hyper when they are overtired or haven't had any mental stimulation through something like training. When you spot that and think pup could be tired, place pup in their crate or an exercise pen with a food stuffed Kong for a bit to help him calm down and rest. For the jumping, check out the article linked below: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-australian-shepherds-to-not-jump As far as mental stimulation, spend some time every day having short training sessions that are a bit challenging - shorter more frequent sessions tend to work better for puppies. You can also incorporate training into every day life by having pup do things like Sit before being taken on a walk, Wait for food, Down while playing fetch, and spontaneously reward pup when you catch them doing something good - like lying calmly on their bed. Feeding pup their meals via dog food stuffed Kongs, dog puzzle toys, Kong wobbles, and other treat dispensing toys can also keep pup entertained mentally. Also, work on getting puppy used to touch and handling. Use puppies daily meal kibble to do this. Gently touch an area of puppy's body while feeding a piece of food. Touch an ear and give a treat. Touch a paw and give a treat. Hold his collar and give a treat. Touch his tail gently and give a treat. Touch his belly, his other paws, his chest, shoulder, muzzle and every other area very gently and give a treat each time. Keep these times calm and fun for pup. Finally, check out the free PDF e-book download AFTER You Get Your Puppy for more tips. www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads Best of luck raining, Caitlin Crittenden

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Tali
spitz
5 Months
0 found helpful
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0 found helpful
Tali
spitz
5 Months

hi, my dog starts barking at guests or whenever she hear someone or something outside . what should i do ?

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
65 Dog owners recommended

Hello, it is good that you are addressing the issue now, while Tali is still young. The Spitz breed does like to be vocal so you may have a dog that likes to have a say in what is taking place inside the home and out.The Quiet Method and the Redirect Method are both good - you want Tali to find something better to do than bark and this may do the trick. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-yorkshire-terrier-to-not-bark. You can also work on her behavior when guests come to the door: The Down and Stay Method is ideal and can also be used when Tali is barking at something outside.https://wagwalking.com/training/be-calm-around-strangers I always recommend dog training classes, too. The whole bonding aspect as well as the willingness to listen work wonders. All the best!

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Logan
Chihuahua and Italian Greyhound
8 Years
0 found helpful
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0 found helpful
Logan
Chihuahua and Italian Greyhound
8 Years

Trying to teach paw but he doesn’t paw at treat in front of him. I tried putting the treat close to his face to try and have him adjust to grab it resulting in his paw lifting and rewarding that, but he doesn’t seem to understand that I’m reward the paw movement, I think he thinks I’m rewarding his jumping because now he joe instead of giving paw

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
614 Dog owners recommended

Hello Christian, With pup sitting, say, Paw, and tap the back of his paw pad until he slightly lifts it to get away from the tapping. As soon as he moves his paw a bite, praise and give a treat. Repeat this until he lifts it as soon as you start to move toward his paw. Reward more for bigger lifts. Practice with the taps until pup is starting to guess that that's what you will do next, at that point, place a hand in front of his paw and when you go to tap with your other hand, reward whenever his paw touches your hand in front. Practice until he will put his paw all the way into your hand to earn a treat, and will do it when you say paw and offer your hand, without the taps with your other hand at the back of his paw. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Bolee
miniature poodle
8 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Bolee
miniature poodle
8 Years

I’m trying to teach him paw but the problem I think it is, is that he is blind from the left side so I think he is not able to see my whole hand

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
614 Dog owners recommended

Hello Luis, First, I suggest teaching the command with the paw side that he can see better. Once pup has learned how to do Paw on that side, then you can teach the other side if you wish. To teach the other side (or the first side if pup can't see well enough to learn either the traditional way), give the paw command, but also gently tap the back of that paw with your hand. When pup lifts that paw due to the command and tap, praise and reward with a treat. As pup improves, gradually phase out the tapping until pup will lift that paw all the way up when told to (you can even say left paw vs. right paw, and teach both distinctively so that pup lifts the correct one when he can't see). Place your free hand in front of the paw you are teaching while you use the other hand to tap the back of that paw, so pup can find your hand to put their paw into. When pup improves at lifting the paw high enough, you will have to pay attention to where your hand is in relation to his paw. Try to always put your hand in the same location as far as distance and height by his leg go - so that pup can learn to place his paw there in the same location even when he can't see it. Reward gradual progress - like lifting, then barely touching your hand, then getting the paw partially into your hand, then being able to get the paw completely in your hand. Praise for effort and break the training into smaller steps. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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