This week, as part of our brain training series, we decided to try something fun and show you how we learnt one of our favourite tricks, high five!
Teaching your pug to high-five is a great brain-training activity for them, and for you too!
It didn’t take too long for Hugo and Holly to learn this one and they love showing it off! They know it guarantees fuss, lots of praise and best of all the possibility of some treats!
If you’ve read any of our other training posts then you know we like to have our treat bag and treats ready before we begin and, although you don’t necessarily need a bag for this one, it can be helpful keeping the treats from being gobbled up in one go if you accidentally drop them!!
Start off sitting or kneeling on the floor with your dog, if you have your treat bag on they’ll hopefully know that means training time and they’ll wait patiently for you to begin! If not then attract their attention using a small treat, if necessary, and get them to sit in front of you.
Place a small treat in your hand and hold it close to the floor near your dogs paw. You want your dog to ‘paw’ at your hand so move your hand around a little if they need encouragement to do this. This bit might take a while and you might need to show them that you have a treat in your hand a few times before they try to get it from you! Once they touch your hand with their paw reward with the treat and some calm ‘good girl/good boy’ praise. Practice this by repeating until they get the hang of it, but for about 5 minutes maximum. Your dog is learning something brand new and it’s hard work for them so avoid over doing it or you’ll both become tired and frustrated!
Once they start touching your hand with their paw you can move on to the next stage! If you’re moving on later in the day, or the next day, be sure to start by spending a minute or so on what you learnt in the previous session just to refresh their memory.
Again start by sitting or kneeling on the floor and this time put the treat in your other hand and place your high-five hand out in front of you but with the palm up. (I have the treat in the same hand in the photos but just because I have the camera in the other hand!!) Place your hand on the floor and then slowly, over two or three attempts, move it just above the floor. Your dog should put their paw on your hand and you can reward them with the treat.
If they don’t, then keep your hand palm up and move it closer to their paw, moving it around a little to entice them to paw at you. Once they put their paw on your hand reward them with the treat.
Keep trying this exercise and raise your hand a little every time. If they get stuck or don’t know what to do then just drop your hand back down a little until they understanding what you’re asking them to do again and move on by raising your hand just a tiny bit each time. It seems simple to us but it’s quite hard work understanding someone when you don’t speak the same language so be patient!
Now we’ll move on by changing our hand position from palm up into high-five and saying high-five. If you’re starting this in a separate session then don’t forget to repeat a little of what you did in the last one again to refresh their memory!
When you put your hand in the high-five position your dog should still know you’re asking them to touch their paw to you and when they do it this time, say high-five (so they associate the words with the action) and then reward them immediately. Keep your hand quite low to start with and slowly move it higher until it’s in the right position to suit your dog and once they’ve got the basics of it just keep practising by putting your hand up and saying high-five!
Over time they’ll get very good at this one and once they are you’ll find you don’t need to give so many treat based rewards, just a stroke and some happy praise will be enough!
One tip to remember whilst learning this (yes you’re learning too, not just your dog!) try not to grab or hold your dog’s paw while it’s in the air, just touch gently. Imagine if you were hopping on one leg and someone grabbed your other leg, uncomfortable right, and you’d want to put it down to balance properly which is exactly what your dog will want to do! Holding on to their paw can cause them to pull it away and not complete the trick!
Be patient, be gentle and be kind! Your dog wants to please you and they want to do what you’re asking, they just need enough time to learn to understand you!
Let us know how you get on in the comments section below and we’d love to see your photos!
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