Teach Your Dog to "Shake"
Teaching a dog to shake "hands" is one of the easiest dog tricks you can teach and a great way to build training confidence in your dog. Simple tricks reinforce the training method dogs need to understand in order to continue to more advanced trick training: that desired behavior results in rewards! Shaking is a natural, easy action and once your dog has it down, there are lots of fun variations! You can probably teach your dog to shake in just one or two three minute sessions.
Basic Instructions to teach Shake:Step 1.
With your dog sitting in front of you, say "shake".
At first you'll need to lift your dog's paw, but after a few repititions he'll begin offering it.
Step 2. Reach down and gently lift his paw physically,
Step 3. Release paw and reward with a treat and verbal praise that includes the command word (i.e. "good shake, good shake!" in a happy voice).
Step 4. Repeat 2-3 times, then take a break .
Unique and Fun Variations for the trick "Shake" (these are best taught with clicker training, but can be taught with treat and praise- just make sure that your praise is INSTANT so your dog knows exactly what he is doing right- see our tips on teaching tricks for more tips)
- Raise paw without trainer offering hand
- Teach your dog to shake by offering your hand and then practice until your dogs associates the trick with the voice command or a small hand gesture instead of an outstretched hand.
Cute commands to associate with the gesture:
- "anyone have questions?"
- "who" (can be incoporated into questions, i.e. "WHO is the best dog?" "WHO likes to eat trash?")
- Shake the other paw
- Teach this right after teaching "shake" if you want your dog to be "ambidextrous" for all other tricks listed here. Tell your dog to shake, treat when he does, then say "other paw" and pysically lift the opposite paw and reward. Most dogs will pick this one up in 1-2 sessions. Dogs can learn and remember that one paw is "right paw" and the other paw is "left paw".
- Fun cue: "no not that one! The "other" one!"
- "right paw", now "left paw"
- Raise paw high in the air
- Method 1: Teach this trick by withholding the treat until the dog gets frustrated enough to raise the paw very high, then immediately treat. Method 2: If your dog is still associating your hand with "shake" then you can move in as if you are to shake, then move your hand higher as your dog reaches up with his paw.
- Alternative command: "high five!"
- Raise paw and cover eyes
"shake" is a simple trick that can be taught to puppies to prepare them for harder tricks.
- A prop is the best way to teach your dog to hide their eyes. Take a 1x1 inch piece of masking tape and stick and unstick it to a surface until it is unsticky enough not to hurt when stuck to and pulled off your arm. Then stick the piece of tape just above or below the eye on the opposite side from the side your dog usually shakes on. (If your dog usually shakes with his left, put it on his right side of his muzzle to encourage the dog to reach over and fully cover the eyes). Most dogs will paw at the tape it franticly (if your dog doesn't, try a larger piece of tape, a big loop, or have a very non-sticky piece cover the eye). When the dog starts pawing, get him to stop by feeding him several treats in succession. As you are feeding the treat, say "peek a boo", pause just long enough for him to paw again, then distract with treat and say "peek a boo" again. As he is chewing the treat, before he has a chance to paw his face again, say "peek a boo" and when he does paw, treat immediately after one paw. After 6 or 7 repetitions you should be able to pull the tape off, say "peek a boo" and get one or two spontaneous coverings of the eyes. To learn this trick reliably, you'll need to repeat the trick with and without the tape multiple times.
- Raise Paw and touch mouth
- Teach this with the same method used to teach peek a boo (above).
- Fun command: "wipe your mouth!"
Troubleshooting the "Shake" Dog Trick
Many dogs, after you teach them to give a paw, immediately sit and lift a paw whenever they see food. After you teach your dog to shake, be sure to vary the order in which you run him through his tricks. If she does lift her paw to shake as soon as you pull out the dog treats, simply ignore the trick and ask your dog to "down" or "beg" as the first trick instead. (Always vary the order of tricks. Make sure that most of the time when you ask your dog to "sit", the next command is NOT shake)
Did this method work for you? Tell us about it! We'd love to hear your thoughts.