Basic Dog Tricks: Shake A Paw

Amy Tokic
by Amy Tokic
You’ve got to start somewhere – Introduce your dog to shake a paw

Let’s get down to basics. There are certain basic tricks that your dog should be able to perform for a treat. These tricks just aren’t for yummy treats – they also keep your dog’s mind sharp. Your dog needs to keep learning tricks so he doesn’t get bored. A bored dog equals a destructive dog. And no one wants that. The shake a paw trick is a basic trick that should be one of your dog’s standards that he can pull out when guests come over and he wants to impress them (and, of course, when he wants a treat).

Let’s go over all of the steps you’ll need to over with your dog to master the shake a paw trick. You’ll need a pocket full of treats before you begin and your dog will need to know the “sit” command.

  1. Have your dog sit and kneel in front of him. Standing in front of him while performing this trick can be a bit intimidating to him.
  2. Offer your dog your hand at mid-chest level and say “shake” or “shake a paw”. To show him what shake means, gently take the elbow one of his front legs and lift it off the ground. Slide your hand down to his paw and give it a little shake.
  3. As your shaking his paw, praise him and give him a treat.
  4. Release the paw and say “Good job!”
  5. Repeat the process five to seven times during this training session so that your dog can get used to this exercise and the command.
  6. Over time, the goal is to have your dog place his paw in your hand voluntarily. Kneel down in front of him, ask him to shake and pause with your hand out in front of you. Wait to see if he’ll place his paw on his own. You may have to touch his paw to remind him what you’d like him to do. If he does it on his own, praise and treat lavishly.

There’s no guideline as to how quickly your dog will pick this trick up. When he does learn the shake a paw trick, be sure to keep practicing it so he remembers how to do it.

Amy Tokic
Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic, Editor of, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).

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