This trick will be fun for you and your dog, and will impress family and friends!
1 With the dog sitting in front of you, hold your hand out flat with a small treat between your thumb and your palm.
2 Offer the dog your hand. At first he will sniff and nose at your hand, but eventually he will paw at it.
3 When he paws your hand, give him a treat from your other hand, not the treat he was pawing at. Using a clicker is helpful.
4 Repeat this until he automatically paws at your hand when you offer it.
5 Once this is consistent, offer your dog your hand in the same position (thumb against the palm), but without a treat present in that hand. Always reward the dog with a treat from your other hand. It may be helpful to make your hand smell like treats before this.
The dog should paw your hand without the treat present. If not, work with the treat a bit longer until the dog better understands the idea.
6 Once the dog consistently works without the treat present, try offering your hand open flat (thumb relaxed and extended out). Once again, reward him afterwards. If the dog will not perform, try gradually moving your thumb out until it is in this position.
7 Introduce the verbal cue "shake" (or another word of your choosing). Say "shake", pause a moment and then offer the dog your hand. Reward when he complies.
The behaviour may be shaped further as desired. Some dogs may offer their paw when asked but will also nuzzle your hand simultaneously. Ignore this behaviour until the dog is well acquainted with the previous step, then start to reward only after he stops nuzzling your hand. Eventually he will realize that the nosing is fruitless and will cease to do so.
8 Gradually reduce the frequency of rewards. For example, start to reward the dog only every other time it performs. Then only once every three times. Be careful not to decrease the rewards too quickly, as the dog may become discouraged and stop performing the trick at all.
9 The dog may become bolder and start coming up to you and pawing at you in an attempt to be rewarded. Thusly, only reward the dog for pawing when you ask it to, and never when it does so on its own initiation.
10 Another way that works is getting the dog's paw and saying shake while shaking.
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