Jump to section
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.
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.
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 Make Him Think Method
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.
Hold out an empty hand with your palm facing up level with your dog's chest.
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.
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.
As soon as your dog lifts his paw, even if he doesn't touch your hand, praise him and offer him a treat.
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.
Begin to use the 'shake' or 'give me your paw' command each time you put your hand palm up near your dog.
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
Put your dog in a sit position and offer him a treat. This lets him know you have treats and he can earn them.
Gently tap the back of his paw just below his dew claw.
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.
As your dog's paw moves away from your hand, gently pick it up and say the word 'Shake.'
Praise and treats
Give him verbal praise and a reward for a job well done.
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
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.
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.
Say the words, 'give me your paw,' and move your fist under your dog's nose so he can smell the treat.
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.
Once your dog paws at your hand, give him the treat and verbal praise.
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.
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.
By Stephanie Plummer
Published: 10/10/2017, edited: 01/08/2021
More articles by Stephanie Plummer