Step-by-Step Guide to Teaching Your Dog “High Five”

Are you tired of the same old tricks with your dog and looking for something fun and exciting to spice up your training sessions?

Does your dog seem to have boundless energy that you’re struggling to channel into something productive? You’re in luck – we have just what you’re looking for!

In this post, we’re going to explore the world of the High Five Trick and how it can transform your dog’s skills while adding a dose of entertainment to your day.

woman and white dog giving high five each other outside

Why Is Teaching Your Dog to High Five a Great Idea?

Teaching your dog the High Five Trick is not only an entertaining way to impress your friends, but it also fosters a stronger bond between you and your furry buddy.

This trick helps to improve your dog’s focus and obedience, while also providing mental stimulation that keeps their mind sharp.

Plus, it’s a fun way to show off your dog’s intelligence and dexterity, making them the star of the show at your next gathering.

Setting up for Success: The Training Environment

To ensure a smooth learning experience for your dog, it’s essential to create a conducive training environment.

Choose a quiet, comfortable space where your dog can focus without distractions. Make sure the area is spacious enough for your dog to move freely and safely.

Keep a stash of your dog’s favorite treats handy, as positive reinforcement will play a crucial role in helping them master this new trick.

Last but not least, remember to bring your patience and enthusiasm to each training session, as your dog will feed off your energy and excitement.

With the stage set, you’re ready to embark on this high-fiving adventure with your best friend!

Step-By-Step Guide to Teaching the High Five Trick

1. Start with a Sit Command

Before diving into the High Five Trick, it’s essential to ensure your dog has a solid foundation in basic commands, particularly the “sit” command. Have your dog sit in front of you, ready to focus on the task at hand.

2. Introduce the Target Hand

Present your palm, facing your dog, at about their chest level. This will be the target hand they’ll be aiming to touch with their paw. To keep the training consistent, choose one hand and stick to it throughout the training process.

3. Encourage Paw Lifting

To prompt your dog to lift their paw, gently tap or touch the back of their leg. Alternatively, you can hold a treat in your target hand, close your fingers around it, and let your dog sniff it to pique their interest.

As soon as they lift their paw, mark the behavior with a clicker or a verbal cue, like “yes,” and reward them with a treat.

4. Add the High Five Command

Once your dog is consistently lifting their paw to touch your hand, it’s time to introduce the High Five command. Say “high five” in a cheerful and encouraging tone right before they touch your hand with their paw. This will help them associate the action with the command.

5. Gradually Raise Your Hand

As your dog becomes more comfortable with the trick, gradually raise your hand higher to encourage a more pronounced high five. Make sure to continue marking and rewarding the behavior as they progress.

6. Practice with Repetition

Consistency and repetition are key in reinforcing the High Five Trick. Practice multiple short sessions daily, but be mindful not to push your dog too hard or overexert them.

Remember to keep the training sessions short, enjoyable, and rewarding for both you and your dog.

7. Celebrate Success

Finally, don’t forget to celebrate your dog’s achievements with plenty of praise, treats, and affection. Positive reinforcement goes a long way in building their confidence and reinforcing the behavior, making the High Five Trick a reliable and entertaining addition to your dog’s repertoire.

black and white dog giving high five to the camera

Addressing Common Challenges in Training

1. Lack of Focus

If your dog seems disinterested or easily distracted during training, it might be helpful to move the sessions to a quieter environment or try shorter, more frequent training sessions. Use high-value treats or a favorite toy to keep your dog engaged and motivated.

2. Paw Lifting Inconsistency

Some dogs may struggle to consistently lift their paw for the High Five Trick. In this case, try using a clicker to mark the exact moment they lift their paw, followed by a treat reward. This helps create a stronger connection between the action and the positive reinforcement.

3. Overexcitement of the dog

Excitable dogs may have a hard time controlling their energy during training sessions. To address this, work on basic obedience commands like “sit” and “stay” before and during your High Five training sessions. This helps establish a calm, focused atmosphere and encourages better self-control.

4. Fear or Discomfort while attempting “High Five

If your dog appears fearful or uncomfortable while attempting the High Five Trick, it’s crucial to be patient and understanding. Never force your dog to perform a trick they’re not comfortable with.

Instead, take a step back and work on building their confidence through praise, gentle encouragement, and positive reinforcement.

5. Timing Issues

If you’re struggling to get the timing right with your verbal cues or clicker, consider seeking advice from a professional dog trainer or enrolling in a group training class. This can provide valuable guidance and support to help you both succeed.

Reinforcing the Trick: Practice Makes Perfect

Just like any skill, the key to mastering the High Five Trick lies in consistent practice and patience. 

Remember that your dog’s learning curve may be different from others, so it’s essential to maintain a positive, supportive attitude throughout the process.

Take it from my personal experience with my dog, Sam, who initially struggled with the trick. I found that mixing up the training sessions with other activities, like fetch or a simple walk, not only helped Sam stay engaged but also gave us both a much-needed break.

One day, during a family gathering, I asked Sam to show off his High Five Trick. To everyone’s delight, Sam nailed it with perfect timing and enthusiasm. It was a heartwarming moment that showcased the bond we had built through our training sessions.

So, keep up the practice, celebrate your dog’s progress, and cherish the memories you create together during this fun and rewarding journey. In the meantine, check our other guides on trick training.

This simple video from Chewy with Breinna demonstrating how to easily do it:


Can I train my dog to high five with both paws?

To train your dog to high five with both paws, start by mastering the trick with one paw first, and then switch to the other paw by presenting your other hand as the target and repeating the training steps.

How can I transition from shake or paw to high five?

You can transition from shake or paw to high five by gradually raising your target hand higher while using the “high five” command, encouraging your dog to reach up with their paw instead of a simple handshake motion.

What’s the best way to practice this trick without overworking my dog?

The best way to practice the High Five Trick without exhausting your dog is to conduct short, frequent training sessions and incorporate breaks with other activities like playtime or walks to keep them engaged and relaxed.

Can this trick be taught to dogs with limited mobility?

This trick can be adapted for dogs with limited mobility by modifying the height of your target hand and ensuring it’s within a comfortable range for your dog. Always prioritize your dog’s comfort and safety during training sessions.

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