Nothing emphasizes how cool you and your dog are quite like a little high five action. The only problem is that your pup knows how to do a high five like he knows how to do a back flip, providing he indeed is not a canine gymnast. Hiding a treat from him will make him work a little harder to learn the smooth art of a high five.
Items You'll Need:
• Treat or toy
• Clicker (optional)
Step #1 - Choose a reward your dog can't resist. For some dogs, that's a small squeaker, while others salivate whenever you cut into a block of cheese. You want the highest value reward known to your pup, because having him sit back and wait for you to toss it to him isn't enough for this training method.
Step #2 - Approach your dog and tell him to sit. Hold the reward in your palm and curl your fingers over it, and then offer your hand to your pup in front of his chest. Your hand should be vertical, with your palm and reward visible to him. At this point his little pupils will blow up like miniature balloons, he'll probably lick his lips and then nose your hand, lick it and may attempt to nibble on the treat or toy.
Step #3 - Keep your hand steady. Your pup should eventually try to paw at it. It may take a few times, and you may have to grab his attention back from wherever it drifted off to. The moment he lifts his paw to meet your hand, either feed him a treat from your free hand, or if you have a clicker, click and give him the treat. It's very important that you do not let him have the treat in the high-five hand.
Step #4 - Repeat the entire training process for about three blocks of 15 to 20 repetitions over the course of a day. Throughout the first day, you want your pup to get used to lifting his paw to meet your hand. Some dogs catch on almost immediately, while others need an entire day to realize that paw to hand means something awesome is headed their way. On the second day, work in the command once your pup's consistently offering his paw every time you present him with your hand. Say "high five" as he's lifting his paw to your palm, and then reward him. Do this for half a day or so.
Step #5 - Remove the treat from your high-five hand and show your pup your empty palm, keeping your hand in a vertical position. Say "high five." Despite him not seeing a reward, he should offer you his paw. The second he does, reward him and give him some praise. Now that your pup's a master of high fives, try the other paw out, and up the ante by moving your hand a little higher so he has to stretch for it.
By Chris Miksen
Warning: Always keep the training relaxed and fun -- never scold your pup for taking too long or forcefully grab him. Keep calm.
About the Author
Located in Pittsburgh, Chris Miksen has been writing instructional articles on a wide range of topics for online publications since 2007. He currently owns and operates a vending business. Miksen has written a variety of technical and business articles throughout his writing career. He studied journalism at the Community College of Allegheny County.