How to Teach a Dog to High Five

People can’t seem to get enough of dogs doing human-like things, and high fives are a hands-down favorite. Teaching your dog how to high five, or “give paw,” won’t stop their problem behaviors or save the world. But with a trick this cute, who cares?

Instead, try these steps. Start with your dog in a sitting position so they can more easily lift their paw.

1.Place a treat in your hand and make a tight fist. Hold it at nose level and wait for your dog to grow impatient and paw at your hand. The moment they do, mark it with a click or a “Yes!” then reward them out of your other hand. Repeat this five times.
2.Place a treat in your hand and make a tight fist and hold it at nose level. Before your dog has lifted their paw, say “High Five!.” The moment they lift their paw and touch your hand, mark it with a click or a “Yes!” then reward them out of your other hand. Repeat this five times.
3.Next, we want to start reshaping the position of your hand into a true “high five.” With no treat in your hand, hold your flat hand up to your pup with your palm facing their nose. Say “High Five!” then click/”Yes!” when they touch your hand with their paw. Reward and repeat.

If your dog is having trouble at this stage, it might be because they don’t understand that the game works the same way even when your hand is flat, open, and empty.

Before you repeat step three, try each of the following five times.

Hold your empty fist in front of your dog. Say “High Five!” then click/”Yes!” and reward.
Hold your hand as if you were holding a baseball. Say “High Five!” then click/”Yes!” and reward.

I’ve just got one final nugget of wisdom: Once your dog is consistently high-fiving, begin to slowly reduce the frequency of your treats.

Start by rewarding them with food once every other high-five, then every third high-five. If your dog begins to struggle with the game, you know you’ve decreased the food too quickly.

That’s it! Told you it’d be easy.

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