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How to Teach a Dog Paw? Everything You Need to Know

Can your dog shake paws? Did you ever think about how to teach a dog paw? Teaching your dog to give his paw is a fun trick that is relatively easy to train dogs, and most dogs can learn it quickly. 

This trick is probably one of the most common things people ask your furry friend to do when meeting and greeting him. Once your dog learns how to give his paw, you can sit back and watch everyone asking your dog for a paw shake and then smile at how intelligent he is.

Equipment Needed

Dog Treats – To help control your dog and make the training beneficial.


Steps for How to Teach a Dog Paw

Select a treat that your dog loves to have

Treats play a crucial role during any training process by serving as tasty rewards when your dog performs the desired action. In general, treats should be delicious for your dog and should be reserved for training purposes.

Select those treats that are not crumbly. Because your dog may have more interest in sniffing out and eating those crumbs rather than paying attention to what you are attempting to teach him.

Treats to choose include bits of cheese or hot dog and small liver cookies.

While teaching your dog to give you his paw, rewarding your dog with treats should always be paired with verbal praise.

Choose a verbal command

Verbal commands are another valuable component of the training process. This trick’s common verbal commands include ‘paw,’ ‘shake,’ and ‘give your paw.’ Whichever command you prefer, use it consistently throughout the training to avoid confusing your dog.

If you have multiple household members, ensure that each person uses the same verbal command for this trick.

Short, concise commands are preferable. Your dog will understand and respond to these better than long phrases or sentences (e.g., give me your paw).

Pick a training area

Even though teaching a dog paw is relatively easy, your training sessions will go more smoothly if he isn’t distracted. Inside your home, create a ‘distraction-free’ environment like turning off the television, keeping other pets and people outside of the area, and removing any distracting toys. The fewer the distractions, the better the result. You can train him outside with relatively fewer distractions if you have an enclosed yard.

Command your dog to sit

After setting up all the required things for training, see if your dog is already in the sitting position. If not, here’s how you can teach your dog to sit.

Hold a treat in front of the dog’s nose

Unlike teaching your dog to sit, your dog should not see the treat during this entire training process. Instead, you will show your dog the treat to get his attention and then create a fist to hide the treat.

Please wait until your dog stretches out his paw to you

This training may not take long if your dog uses his paws regularly to get your attention or play or for an outing. He may initially try to grab the treat with his mouth if the above reasons are not how your dog uses his paws. Do not react if he uses his mouth, as this isn’t the desired behavior. Instead, when he lifts his paw (even if it is just slightly off the ground), immediately give him verbal praise saying ‘good boy,’ ‘yes’ and open your fist to give him the treat.

  • You can still reward him with a treat if he shifts his weight to lift his paw, which is still an effort in the right direction.
  • If you are using a clicker, you will click as soon as your dog lifts his paw (or attempts to shift his weight to lift his paw).
  • Use your other hand to grab your dog’s paw when he lifts it to make it easier if you aren’t using a clicker.
  • Do not scold your dog if he uses his mouth. Neglecting the undesired behavior (using his mouth) and only the desired behavior (lifting his paw) will teach your dog to repeat the desired behavior.
  • If your dog doesn’t stretch out his paw, try picking up or tapping on his paw to encourage it.

Use a verbal cue (command)

Once your dog starts lifting his paw constantly in response to the ‘fisted’ treat, add in a verbal command to the trick. Use whichever verbal cue you choose before beginning your training sessions. For example, say the command after you have closed your fist before he lifts his paw to get the treat. Then, immediately praise and reward your dog when he lifts his paw in response to your command.

The goal is to teach your furry friend to give you his paw in response to only your command, without you holding a treat in front of his nose. Slowly phase out the treats over several training sessions. Do not repeat the command to get your dog to follow it. If your dog doesn’t respond the first time, it could be that he has not yet grasped the command. If this is the issue, continue to practice the same over multiple training sessions.

Pro tip

You can also teach your dog to high five after teaching him the “paw” command. Slowly, raise your hand a tad higher each time with and without treats. Finally, your pet tries to reach your hand. Repeat the cycle of treats, verbal commands, and praises to teach your dog to high-five.

How to Teach a Dog Paw Videos

How to Teach the Give Paw Trick | Dog Training

Train Your Dog to Give Paw | Chewy

How to train my puppy to give paw!

3 Ways to Teach your Dog How to Shake

Final Words

Once your dog gets more skilled with this trick, add some challenges. For example, practice the trick in different scenarios and locations with distractions (e.g., people, cars, other dogs). You can also teach a dog to lift both of his paws. If you’d like to do this, use a different command for the other paw to avoid confusion about which paw he should lift. For any training to complete successfully, consistency is the only key. So, please do not break the sessions and engage your dog with the training to make him learn the trick quickly.

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