Saturday, 30 April 2011

Pet Classic Skills: High Five

Posted by Blog Administrator at 23:30
High-five is easy to teach if your dog already knows shake. Ever the fan of serious slang
when working with my dogs, I use the cue “gimme five.” If you’re more proper, you can use “high-
five.” Get your clicker and treats ready.
 
If your dog already knows shake, just hold your hand out palm up. This visual signal is associated with shake, and your dog will put her paw in your hand. When she does, click and treat. To get your hand from horizontal to vertical, gradually shift the angle of your hand, making sure to click and treat every time she gets it right. It shouldn’t take very long.  

 
You can also try it with your hand held vertically and have your dog lean back in the sit to hit it with her paw— although this is not a good choice for dogs with long backs or stiff joints. If your dog doesn’t know shake, start by holding out your hand in front of her.
 
Hold a treat if needed to make your hand more tempting. At first it may take her a while to figure out what you want, but eventually she will hit your hand with her paw to try and get the treat.
 
To start, hold your hand fairly close to the ground where it is easier for your dog to reach. As soon as her paw touches your hand, click and treat. Don’t give her the treat in your hand—give her one from a separate stash. This will make it easier to wean her off the food later on.
 
Once she gets confident, you can begin raising your hand. Then you can also start weaning her off the food in your hand. At first, hold only a tiny treat under your thumb and then no treat at all. When she consistently hits your hand with her paw at the height you want, you can begin using your cue word.
 
For really exciting occasions, you can also teach your dog to hit your hand with both paws—“gimme ten!”
 
To get your dog to use both paws at once, you will need to go back to the beginning. At first she might get frustrated because what worked before no longer works. But eventually she will get frustrated enough to pounce on your hand with both paws, at which point you click and treat. Always remember that patience is the golden rule!
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