The first dog trick that is generally taught a dog is to shake hands, and there are very few puppy and dog owners who do not teach their pets this simple trick.
In most cases it is so easily accomplished that the amateur trainer does not know exactly how it was done, for if you take hold of a dog?s paw and say ?paw? or ?shake? and repeat the performance often enough and at odd times, it will be the most natural thing for a dog to place his paw in your hand as soon as you extend it and he hears the word ?paw,? to which he has become accustomed.
If during the training you always take hold of the right paw, this paw will always be the one he will give you, but he can be taught to give you the left paw by taking it when you make the request. You can make the performance more interesting by saying ?shake hands? when you want the right paw and when you want the left paw say ?left paw.?
This gives your audience the impression that your dog understands that it is customary to shake hands with the right hand and that he also possesses a left paw, in fact that is what he actually learns.
Should your dog offer you the left paw when you ask to ?shake hands,? repeat your command distinctly, and when he sees, after a moment or two, that you are not going to take the paw he offers, he will put it down and in all probability offer you the other paw, which is the one you want.
You should take it promptly and hold it for a minute, then pat him on the head and impress on him that he has pleased you by praising and giving him a treat. This trick of shaking hands can also be varied by asking the dog to show you his pulse, or the trick can be farther elaborated by saying to your dog when you want to show him off to friends or acquaintances:
?Buddy, old man, you are not looking well this morning; come here and let me feel your pulse,?
and by putting a little emphasis on the word ?pulse? the dog will come up to you and offer you his paw, and if you take it with an air of gravity it will impress your audience with your dog?s talent.
Some dogs, after sufficient practice at this trick, get so habitual that they continually offer their paw to every one who will take it, and a case is recorded of a half-grown puppy of one of the larger breeds which was so accustomed to offering his paw that one day when a strange cat made its appearance on the premises before the puppy. He made a rush at the intruder with every appearance of hostility, but when near the cat habit gained a mastery over instinct, and held out his paw as usual to offer a friendly hand shake.
Enjoy teaching your dog the hand shake trick and most importantly have fun!
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