Have you ever seen a dog owner reach out and ask for a paw, then his dog reaches it out? That is the usual image of the “shake” or “give paw” command for dogs. This command has a lot of advantages, as you can use it to check your canine companion’s nails or feet during an examination.
To be honest, this can be somewhat difficult for some dogs to teach to because there are sensitive ones who do not want their paws touched. Take a look at the two training methods that you can use to teach a dog to give paw.
1st method: clicker training
Clicker training is one of the classic training methods that have been used by trainers to teach their dogs for many years now. The ‘click’ sound that a clicker makes is very distinct, and it is comparable to a whistle.
1. Click then give out treat
For this method, you would need some high quality treats and a clicker at first. These clickers can be bought from pet stores at low prices, and they are pretty much very handy. Small, high quality treats are also available from your local stores, which makes it more convenient.
To introduce the clicker itself, condition your dog on the clicker first. Basically, all you have to do is to click then treat. Before giving out or dropping a treat, click first. This helps them associate that every click is equivalent to a delicious treat that he will be given.
2. Shape the behavior
To proceed with this step, make sure that the dog is able to associate completely what every click means. You will notice this once you click and then your dog seems happy. At this point, he is expecting a treat will be given.
Shaping the behavior involves lifting of your canine companion’s paw. Truth be told, you’re already halfway there once your dog is the type to paw at the treat hand.
Keep the treats that you will give your dog in the same hand that you are using to hold the clicker. Show your dog the empty hand to show that there is no food. Using your empty hand, tap on your dog’s foot and see if he will move the paw. Once he does, click then give a reward. Keep trying and try not to be impatient.
3. Add command
After your dog has mastered the sequence, add an additional command or a marker word for the trick. Be sure to add a 1 or 2-word command, but with no additional words.
Suggestions for the marker word are “paw”, “shake”, or “give paw”. At first, it is okay to tap the paw for a few times, since you are waiting for the response of your dog to the command.
4. Maintain routine
You have to start maintaining the routine once he responds to the command word without you yourself tapping his paw. Wait for your dog to adjust to the new command routine.
If he doesn’t respond after using just the command, go back a step. Maintain the routine if he always lifts his paw just by telling the command word that you have chosen.
5. Modify routine
This is the tricky part. You will modify the routine according to the command itself. All of the previous steps will lead to this part, so be aware of this. Basically, you have to say the command, reach out your empty hand, wait for your dog to raise his paw and touch your hand, then click.
This is the new routine that you are going to practice, without giving any treats. Once he understands that you want a contact with the paw, he will place his paw on your hand. Try to make it a little more difficult by placing your hand in different spots.
2nd method: hand-giving out treats
Although tools are somewhat helpful, nothing beats the classic way of training dogs. Hand giving out treats can wonderfully help with correcting the behavior of your dog especially if he gets a little wild and frisky.
For this part, you can use a glove at first, but allowing your dog to smell your hand is still the best way for this method.
1. Hold out the treat in a fist
While holding a high quality treat, hold it out in your hand. It is much better to show it to your dog at first, then hold it in a closed fist. Make sure that your fingers are on the underside of the fist.
2. Allow your dog to sniff
After showing the treat to your dog and holding it out in a fist, let him sniff it. Wait until your dog tries to lift his paw to your hand.
3. Wait and say marker word
After your dog places the paw on your hand, say a marker word. Marker words suggestions are found on the other training method in this article, and you can use the same words in this routine.
Open your hand afterwards to give him the reward. Maintain this routine until your dog quickly places his paw on your hand after a command.
4. Repeat without treat
Let your dog understand the new routine that you have set. You will now maintain this routine then modify it. For this time, you will make a fist but do not put a food inside it.
Command then wait until your dog touches it using his paw, then offer a reward from the other hand. You can add a praise before giving out a reward.
5. Ask for a paw
Now after he is used to the previous routine from the last step, use an open hand. Offer your hand, palm up, and ask for a paw. Maintain this routine and see if it approaches perfection.
Your goal is to have your dog stretch out his paw every time you say the command while having your palm up. If you notice that there is something wrong, you have no choice but to go back to the previous step.