How to Teach Your Dog to High-Five: A 7-Step Guide
Of course, our dogs enjoy walks in the park and a big cuddle after a hard day of work. But that doesn’t mean to say those big puppy dog eyes aren’t looking back up at us with a will to learn the best new dog tricks.
Heck, even though they can’t technically talk to us, they still find their ways to show their love. And one of way is their willingness to be mentally and physically active even on a rainy day (without needing to leave the front door).
So, it’s time to whip-out the treats to teach a dog to give a high five (and, if they’re up for it, teach a dog to give a double high five).
Here at Hiputee, our pets are family. And, of course, we love learning new tricks with our furry friends. That’s why we’ve gathered our 7-step plan to get a dog high five out of your barking bud.
That said, before we start reeling off the steps, we should let you know that there shouldn’t be any distractions. Other than your favourite treats, of course.
So, before you decide to start teaching a dog high five for the day, (around 4 minutes, 3 times a day) you’ll need to find a quiet spot for spot. Then, there will be smiles all-round once you’ve mastered it.
As well as this, it’s worth nothing that this trick isn’t just for puppies. Why should they have all the fun? Trust us, you can teach an old dog new tricks. So, why not teach a dog to give a double high five for maximum cuteness at home?
Prepare for Dog High Five Training Time with the Treat of Choice
Prepare for high five training by grabbing your dog’s favourite treat or toy. This is simply so you can positively reinforce particular actions or behaviours during teaching time while also providing your pup with a stimulator and motivator that helps keep their attention.
However, a top tip from the team here at Hiputee (if you don’t want to end up with a very round pup) would be to get your paws on some healthy options, as well. We recommend carrots or bananas as a healthy alternative!
Decide on the Command and Affirmation
The next step is another preparation step. You’ll need to decide on the command and affirmation you’ll be using throughout the training period.
For a little more detail, the command is the thing you’ll say just before you want your pet to perform a dog high five. Then, the affirmation is the thing you’ll say after you teach a dog to give a high five.
Eventually, the dog will understand the affirmation comes with a bit of a serotonin kick and you’ll no longer need to use those treat rewards we mentioned earlier.
For example, you could say “High Five” for the command and use a clicker or say “Yes” for the affirmation. That said, it’s important to keep your voice commands short and clear. Remember to use the same commands each time to avoid any confusion!
Never Grab Their Paw When You teach a Dog to Give a High Five
One thing to be aware of when you teach a dog to give a double high five (or a regular high five if you’re not there yet) is to never touch or grab their paw.
This could actually cause your dog to become anxious. So, it’s important to keep training to those 4-minute chunks we mentioned, this will stop your dog from becoming bored with a dog high five. But you can have up to 3 training sessions in a day as long as your dog says they’re up to it (don’t force it, otherwise they’ll create negative links!).
Hold the Treat in a Fist and Let them Paw at You
As you begin to teach a dog to give a high five, the first real step would be to sit or kneel in front of your dog and make sure they are sat and alert.
Hold the treat in the palm of your hand and let your dog sniff to explore. This way they know the treat is there and the aim of the game is to get it!
Then, when you’re sure your dog is aware of the treat, hold it slightly out of reach (and in a fist) so your dog begins to paw at your hand. This means they’re holding attention and still aware the treat is there.
Provide Them the Treat and the Affirmation
It might sound strange when we say this as they’ve not yet performed a dog high five. But give them the treat and the affirmation straight away when they paw on command.
Doing this lets them know they will eventually get the treat and it is associated with a specific action or sound. And, while they may have not perfected their high five, they have performed the first and basic action of the lesson.
Don’t worry, we’ll let you know how it evolves into the high five later on. Just don’t expect them to be able to do an elaborate playground handshake in the next few lessons.
Continue Practicing the Dog High Five While Slowly Lifting Your Fist
Next up is quite unsurprising. You have to continue the training. But remember to stick to 4 minutes per training session and only 3 training sessions per day.
However, as you continue to practice, it’s not just about repeating the exact same thing over and over. It’s about introducing very small changes in each practice with the aim of going from the closed-fist paw to the dog high five.
To do this, you want to be lifting your hand higher each time. It might take a couple of days for your dog to react to your command every time but stick with it and you’ll both be a star of the party when training is over.
Eventually Practice Without the Treat
Finally, you’ll surely want to begin to teach a dog to give a high five without needing a treat to prompt them.
So, once your dog is responding correctly, try practicing without a treat. First, hold your hand in a fist like there is a treat. Then, as they continue to perform the high five command without the treat there, you can start to hold your palm flat in the air as you would with a normal high five!
So, there you go; a fool-proof guide for a dog high five. Of course, these are the general steps to many other dog tricks out there, especially when it comes to steps 1-3. So, as soon as you’re ready to teach a dog to give a double high five, you know where to start!
That said, naturally after all the training, your pooch will be tired. So, it’s important to let them have the ultimate treat when they’ve fully learned the trick. For example, a new Hiputee bed would be a great reward. That way, they can dream about the perfect high five in style and comfort.
Find out which bed would work best for you and your pup right here or take a look at our other article that guides you in more detail; “How to Choose the Best Pad for Your Pooch”.