Dog Training: How to Teach Your Dog to Shake

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If we can change our attitude and remember to have fun teaching the basics as well as the tricks, we can have a dog who performs the serious behaviors with just as much enthusiasm as he does when he rolls over or catches a treat off the end of his nose. All you need is your dog, a hefty supply of treats, a clicker, a few props, a quiet place to train without distractions, and a commitment to having fun. For best results, we suggest you try the clicker. While you are teaching your dog tricks, take note of how much fun it is. If Buddy has not already been introduced to the clicker, we need to begin there.

Start with the clicker in your pocket. The sharp Click! If you put it in your pocket at first it will muffle the sound until Buddy has a chance to associate it with the positive reinforcement of the treat. Once you are sure he is comfortable with the sound, you can hold it behind your back for a few clicks, then hold it in front of you to Click! If your dog seems unduly frightened of the clicker you can use the softer Click! In order to charge the clicker, all you need to do is Click! After six to 12 repetitions, most dogs begin to make the connection between the Click! Now if you consistently Click!

10 Fun, Impressive Tricks You Can Teach Any Dog - Dogtime

This part of the process generally takes less than 15 minutes. Once Buddy learns that he controls the Click! Keep repeating the Click! If you keep repeating this sequence, Buddy will quickly learn to offer his paw for just the verbal cue. When Buddy is regularly lifting the paw slightly, start clicking only the more noticeable lifts. Some dogs will paw at your hand if you hold a treat in front of them in your closed fist; then you can Click! Others need still more help.

Steps to Teach ‘Shake’

Many dogs will lift a paw as they lean to follow the movement of the treat. And repeat. If he lifts, Click! Just be aware that molding may teach Buddy to wait for you to touch him before he will shake. The other methods encourage him to think for himself and offer the behavior voluntarily, which is what we really want.

Playing with your dog or puppy

Spin and twirl This is a fun and easy trick than can be incorporated into your heeling for a flashy dance step. You can make them mean whatever direction you want or you can use entirely different words; just be consistent. One of my students does Musical Freestyle with her Great Dane. Have Buddy stand in front of you.

If he wants to sit, back up while you ask him to spin. Let him see the treat in your right hand.


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Lure him in a circle to your right his left by moving the treat, at his nose level, in an arc toward his tail, then continue the circle with the treat until he is facing you again. When he has completed the circle, Click! Gradually minimize the hand motion and eventually eliminate the lure, until he will spin on just the verbal cue, or with a tiny motion of your hand or finger.

52 Tricks to Teach Your Dog

If Buddy is reluctant to do a complete circle at first, shape it. Roll over This one is a little more complicated. Remember to Click! Keep clicking and rewarding him as he follows the treat toward the floor until he is all the way down. Once your dog can lie down easily, encourage him to roll onto one side by moving the treat in an arc from his nose to a point just above his shoulder. Some dogs will do this easily the first trial, others need a little more encouragement through shaping — clicking and rewarding when the dog makes small moves in the right direction until he finally rolls onto one side.

When he will roll onto one side for you smoothly, just keep going!

Use Positive Reinforcement to Teach Your Dog to Shake

Continue the arc of the treat lure so that he follows it with his nose and rolls his body all the way over. Once your dog is doing one roll easily, try two in a row. Then more, until you can get him to do a whole series of roll overs. If your dog is having trouble with this trick, try rolling the opposite way. Then, once he has the easy direction figured out, make him ambi-pawstrous and shape the roll the other way as well. Say your prayers This is a fun trick that rates high on the cuteness scale.

Have Buddy sit in front of a chair or stool that comes to about his mid-chest level. Lure him into lifting one or two front feet off the ground by raising the treat over his head, and then encourage him to rest his feet on the chair seat. You may need to Click! When he is sitting confidently with his paws resting on the chair for extended periods, lure his nose with a treat so he is looking down between his paws at the floor. Ask Buddy to lie down facing you, and hold a treat in front of his nose.

Keeping the treat just an inch or two above the ground, back up a step and very slowly move the treat toward you. As Buddy strains to follow the treat he should drag himself forward a tiny bit. Keep repeating the sequence until he creeps farther and farther forward.


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You can even give his leg or paw a little nudge. As soon as he raises his paw to your hand, give him the treat and follow the directions from step 5 above. If your dog still doesn't understand what is expected of him after you nudge his paw, you can try lifting his paw into your hand yourself.


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Give the command "shake," reach down and pick up his paw, and then tell him "good" or click your clicker and give him the treat. Repeat this quickly several times in a row giving him a treat each time, and then go back and start off from step 1 above. Most dogs will now understand what is expected and begin to offer their paw.

If your dog becomes frustrated ot bored, it's time to finish up the session. Always try to end on a positive note, even if it means asking your dog to do something simple, like sit.

How to Teach Your Dog to Roll Over and "Play Dead" FAST!

Phasing Out the Treat Once your dog is offering his paw on command, you can begin phasing out the need to hold the treat in your closed hand. Here's how to do it: Start with your hand closed over the treat, and give your dog the command "shake. Repeat this several times. Next, put out your hand without holding the treat inside and give the command "shake. If your dog seems confused at any point, go back a step or two in your training.

Now you are ready to phase out the treat almost entirely. Begin by offering a treat less frequently, first by giving him a treat after every other time he offers his paw on command. Slowly decrease the number of times your dog gets a treat after he offers his paw.