Imagine that it is raining outside and you let your pup outside to use the bathroom. While he is outside he gets excited and starts "the zoomies", dashing around your yard like a madman. When he finally gets tired and relieves himself, he comes to your back door to be let inside. You start to open the door and quickly close it again to prevent him from running inside, because your small white dog is now a brown, sopping mess! You pick him up and whisk him off to the bathtub, holding him away from your body in an attempt to stay dry yourself. You plop him into the tub, and after a few minutes of rinsing and scrubbing, your white dog is once again white. You lift him out of the tub with a towel and begin to towel him off. He wiggles out of your hands and starts to shake off all over you, then he takes off and dashes around your bathroom, rubbing against every type of fabric that he can find, including your pant legs. When you finally catch him he is relatively dry from all of his rubbing, but you are now wet and smell like a dog.
If you have ever bathed your dog, then you are probably well aware that the water doesn't just stay on your dog. Your dripping wet dog inevitably decides to shake off all over you and everything around him at some of the worst possible moments. Moments such as: right when you lean in to reach for something, right when you move the curtain that was protecting you out of the way, and right after you take him out of the tub, before you have had the chance to dry him off. What if you could teach your pup to shake when you told him to? So that you could be ready for the water, and so that you could lift a semi-dry dog out of the tub instead of a dripping wet one. ‘Shake Off’ is a wonderful command to teach your pup for exactly those reasons. In addition to being used to keep you drier, it could also be a cute trick to entertain friends with.
Because your pup probably does not shake his body very often, expect this trick to take longer to teach, especially if you are using ‘The Capture Method’, which depends on him offering the behavior on his own. This trick is fairly simple to teach though.
Your pup is most likely to shake his body when something is tickling him, moving on him, or bothering his ears. By using water and confetti in ‘The Wet Dog Method’ and ‘The Confetti Method’ you are creating a moving, tickling sensation that is likely to cause him to shake off. Which method will work best for you will largely depend on which method your dog naturally responds to better. If the method you try does not work after several attempts, then try one of the other methods instead. ‘The Capture Method’ will work well if your dog tends to shake his body a lot on his own, or if he does not respond to the confetti or water.
If Fido does not like water, then do not use ‘The Wet Dog Method’. Using his approach when you pup is already afraid of water can make such a fear worse. If your pup does not mind water and you use ‘The Wet Dog Method’ then make the training lots of fun, so that he does not grow to dislike the water. To make the training fun try to sound excited and happy when you tell him "Shake off", give him lots of treats for getting it right, and end the session with a fun game, possibly involving the water. If he seems to be getting stressed by the water, then either take a break and play a game or end the training session for that day, and start fresh another day. Always end this training session on a fun note and do not push your dog too far with this one.
If you are using ‘The Wet Dog Metho’ then be sure to use room temperature or lukewarm water, and not hot or cold water. Using hot or cold water will make the training unpleasant for your dog, and can lead to a fear or dislike of water. If the water from your hose is too hot or cold, then fill up a bucket inside and bring the water outside. Also be sure to only use this method on a warm or hot day, so that Fido does not get cold from being wet. Finally, expect to get wet yourself while using this method, so dress appropriately and enjoy getting to cool off on a hot day!
To get started you will need lots of small, tasty treats, that Fido loves. You will also need a small Ziploc bag and a pocket to place it into, or a treat pouch. You will need a cheerful attitude, enthusiasm, perseverance, and patience. If you are using ‘The Wet Dog Method’ then you will also need a long leash, warm or hot weather outside, a cup, a large bucket of room temperature water or a hose with room temperature water in it, a hand towel, a pup who is not afraid of water, and the expectation to get wet yourself.
If you are using ‘The Capture Method’ then you will need good timing and ample praise. If you are using ‘The Confetti Method’ then you will need several sheets of paper cut or torn up into two inch or smaller pieces. You will also need a broom, a dustpan, and a room where it will be easy to sweep up the confetti in. If your pup is likely to wander away during the training, then you will also need a leash and collar or for the room that you are in to have a door that can be closed.