How to Teach 'Shake Hands' & 'High 5'
This is mostly a fun lesson with few practical applications, but children in particular love to show their friends this little trick. And if their friends also practise this exercise with your dog, hopefully your dog will welcome them coming to visit you!
Teaching the Lesson
1. Sit your dog in front of you.
2. Place a piece of food in your clenched hand in front of the dog and about 5 centimetres above the floor. This will generally make your dog lift its foot to paw at your hand.
3. As the dog lifts its paw, say “shake” and instantly open your fist to release the food.
4. Repeat points 1 to 3 two or three times, gradually making your hand signal higher depending on the height of your dog.
Practising the lesson:
5. Stop using food as an inducement and change your hand signal to an open palm rather than a closed fist. Say “shake”. Reinforce your dog intermittently for responding to the hand and voice signal.
If you want to teach your dog to do a “high 5”, you can gradually lift your hand signal higher and make it more like a stop sign. Reinforce your dog intermittently for touching your hand with its paw.
If your dog does not paw at your hand you cannot reinforce the response.
A possible cause of this might be that your dog is not motivated by food. In this case, try the exercise when your dog is hungry.
Another possible cause could be that the dog has been punished for pawing. In this case, lift your dog's paw gently and reinforce him with food at the same time. Then wait until your dog lifts his paw spontaneously and instantly reinforce him.