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How to Teach a Dog to Shake Hands

Learn how to teach your dog how to shake hands with this dog training video from Howcast.


  • Step 1: Get them to sit While looking at your dog, give the command for 'sit.' While their backside and rear legs are touching the ground, they should be putting their weight on their front legs.
  • TIP: While working with your dog, get them to sit in a corner where they can’t easily walk away if they get distracted.
  • Step 2: Extend your hand While maintaining eye contact, give the command 'shake hands,' extend your hand, and touch their right front paw.
  • Step 3: Raise the paw If your dog doesn’t raise their paw, lift it for them. Repeat this step until your dog raises their paw on their own. Reward your dog with a treat and words of praise such as 'good boy!' or 'good girl!'
  • Step 4: Switching paws After your dog correctly responds to the 'shake hands' command six times with one paw, repeat the steps with the other paw. For this variation of the trick, use the command 'other paw,' reinforcing the correct response with a treat and praise.
  • Step 5: Try it out Try it out with friends, neighbors, and even passersby while out walking with your dog. It never fails to impress!
  • FACT: Some historians believe the handshake was first used in medieval times to make sure a stranger didn’t have a weapon hidden in their hand.

You Will Need

  • A crate
  • A screwdriver
  • A soft towel or blanket
  • Two dog toys
  • 1/2 gal. Pet carrier water bottle
  • 12 dog treats or biscuits

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