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How to Teach a Dog to Shake Hands

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.


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!

Did You Know?

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.

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