How to Teach Your Cat to Shake Paw – Clicker Training
In this training session I am going to show you how I am teaching Casper our Ragdoll kitten how to shake paws.
Although shaking a paw has no real benefit, it is cute and fun for both the cat and the cat owner to do this exercise for practicing clicker training.
Every new cue your cat learns, will help to learn new future cues quicker so why not teach your cat a simple and fun thing like shake paw.
5 STEPS I USED TO TEACH CASPER TO SHAKE A PAW
Before you can start this training your cat must be conditioned by the clicker sound. We call this first basic training “Charging the Clicker”. If you still need to charge the clicker to your cat, you can read all about this on our Charging the Clicker page.
Ok, here we go. Here are the five easy repeatable steps I did to teach Casper to shake his paw every time:
Step 1 – Get your cat to sit on a surface
I have my clicker ready and I am using a liquid treat which Casper really loves as a reinforcer and a spoon as delivery tool.
The only way a cat can shake paws, is when he is sitting. So if your cat doesn’t know how to sit or the command for sit, you will need to teach them to sit first.
Get your cat to sit on a surface, in a secure and distraction-free location. This can be on a grooming table or a chair or even on the floor if you are sitting down too.
Step 2 – Open hand palm up
Now offer your open hand, palm up and within reach of his front paw.
When your cat touches your hand click and treat. If he doesn’t respond, give him a few second to trial and error. If he still doesn’t touch your palm or hand at all, take his paw, hold it for a second, and click and treat.
Repeat this 4 to 5 times till the cat starts to respond on his own.
Step 3 – Shape the touching of the palm
You will notice that your cat will start putting his paw on your hand. Now shape the touching of the palm and only click when he is touching the middle of your palm. Also repeat 4 to 5 times.
Step 4 – Hold his paw and shake gently
The next step is to hold his paw for a second. So after he has put it in the middle of your palm, hold it gently for a second and click and treat. Gradually extend the time you hold and shake his paw gently up till a few seconds and then click and treat.
Step 5 – Introduce a command
When your cat knows what to do when you offer your hand, you can start introducing the command ‘PAW’ or ‘Shake’ as you wish. First say the command ‘Paw’ when you are shaking and gradually start saying the command earlier and earlier uniti it is being said before the behavior occurs.
From then on, use the command first, offer your hand, and click and treat after a correct shake. Repeat this training over a couple of short sessions and rehearse it frequently.
When starting to teach the trick , always reward your cat for the correct behavior. Once your cat has mastered the command , you can gradually stop giving him a treat every time he does the right thing. Rewarding him with food should become random, while you keep reinforcing the behavior with praise and patting.
REPEAT THIS SESSION FREQUENTLY
Finally, remember to make every training session fun and always end on a positive note. The average cat will quickly understand that it is worthwhile to give its paw when you ask for it.
Repeat this training session frequently.
Make sure to watch the video below of me and Casper. The video demonstrates this exercise for you to get going more quickly. Please let us know how it went with your cat in the comment section below!
VIDEO DEMONSTRATION – HOW TO TEACH YOUR CAT TO SHAKE A PAW
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