Teach Your Dog to High Five

My husband and I have done a pretty solid job of teaching Hunter a variety of tricks over the years. Since a puppy, he’s mastered sit, stay, down, roll over, paw (and other paw), spin, back up, wait, come, and move. He even knows how to give kisses on command. (Yes, it’s every bit as sweet as it sounds!) We’re now thiiis close to consistently checking off what we’ve deemed his who’s-a-good-boy pose in which he sits on his back legs with his two front paws up at his chest, occasionally waving one as if to say I am!

Hunter, however, also has us (OK, me more so than his daddy) well-trained. See the examples below.

dog giving high five to owner while sitting in dining room

What a beggar, right?! It all kind of started after we (OK, OK…I) started rewarding him with treats after he’d come in from going to the bathroom. Hunter scampers in, beelines straight for the dining room, parks his little bum just outside the kitchen, and–always with the most heart-melting expression–looks up at the top of the refrigerator where we keep his treats as if to say Please, Mama?  For an extra dose of irresistible sweetness, this little stinker often hands out a high five too. (This is what I mean when I say he’s got us well-trained.)

Training Your Dog to High Five

Can your dog high five? It’s actually a pretty simple trick that can be learned easily and incorporated into your pet portraits with these three steps.

  1. Have your dog sit. (If he hasn’t mastered that, I suggest teaching that first. It will make performing a high five much easier. Check out any of The Dog Stop locations throughout the greater Pittsburgh area to enroll in its training classes or to inquire about in-home services.)
  2. With a treat folded in your fist, bring your hand near his nose until he paws at your hand. Your dog should remain sitting; if he jumps or gets up to move, go back to step one and try again with him sitting. This may take a few tries, so be patient. Consistency is key and short breaks are a necessary part of learning.
  3. Once your dog is consistently pawing at your fist, you’re ready to open your hand for a high five. The goal is for him to paw your open hand. While it may take some time for him to connect pawing your open hand with receiving a reward, keep at it; say “high five” then praise and reward him when he touches you.

Slowly reduce the amount of a treat-based reward and replace it with affection and verbal praise upon a proper high five. With patient, consistent practice, your dog will learn to give a high five on command.

Does your dog know a few great tricks that he’d like to show off during your session? Does he have zero obedience skills? Either way, I’ve got you covered as neither is a requirement for a successful session! Choose your adventure below to begin.

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