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How to Train Your Dog to Shake Hands..err Paws

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How to Train Your Dog to Shake Hands..err Paws

I have owned two dogs in my life and both were well trained and as part of their training, they were taught to sit and shake hands. Because our German Shepherd was a former police dog that we adopted, training him to follow the sit and stay command was easy for us.

His trainer was the only human he would listen to, so the learning curve for us wasn’t too long, but it was do-able. His name was Fritz and the techniques we were taught to train him mirrored what he learned while in training. The very first step was having the dog not only trust my father but the entire family as well. Without that trust being established, training him might very well have proved to be impossible. Dogs, in general, are repetition and food based creatures, so consistency is essential.

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Unlike Fritz, Knight, my Gordon Setter, was a little more difficult to train because we adopted him when he was a puppy and like most puppies, he didn’t have much in the way of discipline in him. We signed him up for an obedience course. After a certain amount of time, he learned to listen to verbal commands.

He seemed to think he was a lap dog, but when he was fully grown, at seventy pounds, once he was broken of the habit of greeting me at the door by putting his front paws on my shoulders and standing on his hind legs, I took the time to teach him to sit, stay and put out his paw for a hand shake instead.

What we did differently with Knight was to use food treats at first and combine the command with verbal cues, like “Knight, sit…stay, shake hands” and a food treat followed. Eventually, Knight associated us coming into the house with sitting, staying, and shaking hands without the need for a food treat.

This training will be more or less difficult based on a number of factors including age, health, and breed. Some breeds are simply more difficult to train than others. I have found that the easiest breed to train, between the two, was my German Shepherd. Knight was a bit of a show-off and he wanted to show us how independent he was. Fritz was more about protecting the family especially the children and listening to verbal commands was a lot easier for him.

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9 comments

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  3. Interesting post :) I do not have dogs and training rabbits is not that easy :D

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  4. Wonderful post!
    Have a nice week!
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  6. Interesting post my dear, thank you for sharing :-)

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  7. I don't have a dog yet but great tips. Thanks for sharing.
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  8. Interesting. I am still trying to train my other half-half on keeping the house clean. Challenging as well.

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