Teaching your puppy to shake hands

Teaching your Golden Retriever to shake hands can be a lot of fun for both you and your dog and this trick is even more fun for kids. Tricks that allow a physical connection between children and dogs allow for a stronger bond to develop between the two. It is also a pretty cool trick that they will enjoy showing off in front of their family and friends. Teaching your dog to shake is very straight forward and requires very few actions but many, many repetitions to make sure that the dog fully understands the command “Shake”.

Steps to teaching your puppy to shake hands

The first step is to get your dog to sit and for you to crouch down so that you are not hovering over the top of your dog.

Gently slide your hand down from your dog’s elbow to their paw and take the dog’s your dog’s paw into your hand while at the same time saying the command word “Shake”. Once their paw is at the level you want, give them a treat immediately with your other hand.

Once you have done this a number of times, add a little shake to your dog’s paw when your give him the treat. After a few days your dog will raise his paw for a shake whenever you ask but remember to practice this trick with him from time to time to make sure he does not forget it. You can substitute the treat for a verbal reward and praise when you are confident that he understands exactly what to do when you give him the command “Shake”.

Some things to note:

Many dogs are reluctant to have their feet touched and even more so of having their feet held. This may result from a bad experience while having their nails trimmed or it may just feel strange for them if you have not handled their feet before. If your dog is one of these dogs it may be necessary to first get your dog accustomed to having her feet touched by you and then by other members of the family and again make the experience positive by offering small treats while you do this.

You can make the command word something other than “Shake” if you like such as “Paw”, “Give me five” or “Gimme five” (Gimme five seems to be the winner with kids!) but try to ensure that you and the rest of the family stick to the same word once it has been agreed upon to avoid confusing your dog.

Always lift the same leg of your dog in the beginning to help your dog understand what is required of her as left and right handed people will naturally lift different front legs of the dog.

Never hit, smack or scald your dog when they do not perform a trick right as you will turn training time from a positive experience into a negative experience. Be patient and you will see results much faster.

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