Dog tricks are fun to teach and even more fun to show off. One of the most common dog tricks to teach your dog is Shake. This popular trick is easy to teach and easy to perform, so grab some treats and let's begin! Start by keeping a handful of treats in your right hand behind your back. You do not want your dog focusing on the hand with treats, so keep the treats out of sight. You first need to determine if your dog is "left-pawed" or "right-pawed" to make this trick go easier for you and your dog. Most dogs will prefer one paw over the other and that is the paw you want to start with. With your dog sitting in front of you, take a treat and hold it above your dog's head, but not so high that your dog will jump for it. You want your dog to remain seated, so the treat should be just above your dog's nose. Move the treat from side to side, as if making your dog rock left to right. As your dog moves from one side to another, he or she will lift one paw off the floor more than the other. This is the dominant paw you will use to teach Shake with.
Keeping the handful of treats behind your back, take your free hand and slide it down the back side of your dog's dominant leg starting as high as you can. Run your hand all the way down your dog's leg to his or her paw. Lift up your dog's paw and shake it until your dog looks at your hand shaking his or her paw. Once the dog is aware of what is happening, say "yes" and give your dog a treat. Repeat this until your dog starts to pick up his or her paw in anticipation of your touch. At this point, your dog is catching on so you can add the cue "Shake" to the trick. (Do not worry about saying the word "shake" before this point; you want your dog performing the trick first before giving it a name.) Slide your hand down your dog's leg and while you are shaking his or her paw, say "Shake," then "yes," then give your dog a treat. This will teach your dog that this new behavior is cued by the word "Shake." After practicing this new trick for a couple days, try holding your hand out and saying "Shake." If your dog puts his or her paw in your hand, shake it, say "yes" and then reward your dog with a couple treats. What a smart dog! Do not get discouraged if your dog does not shake on the first try. Simply practice for a couple more days and try again.
Teaching your dog High Five is very similar to Shake. In fact, if you have already taught your dog Shake, then High Five is just another step from there. Hold your hand out as if you were going to ask for Shake. When your dog puts his or her paw in your hand, turn your hand so that it is straight up in the High Five position with your dog's paw still touching your hand. If your dog is comfortable with this, say "yes" and reward your dog with treats. Practice until your dog will give you a High Five on its own, then add the cue "High Five" as you did with the trick Shake. Both tricks are similar, but be sure to practice each individually if you want your dog to remember both.
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