One of the fun basic tricks I taught my dogs early on was to wave back at someone when they wave at them. It is a funny little thing to watch, and it was really basic to teach. I will note that to make this easy to teach your dog should already be able to high five you. If your dog can’t high five, that’s no problem, you can teach your dog how here.
Teach your dog to wave
Ok so let’s jump straight into this one. Pick a verbal cue that you want to use for this trick, like “Hello”, “Goodbye”, “Good Night” or just “Wave”. Pick up some of your dogs favourite dog treats, or what ever you use for training and you are ready to begin.
Start with your dog sitting in front of you. Offer your hand in the same way you would for a high five. As your dog goes to make contact with your hand, pull it away so they don’t touch you and reward with a treat. Repeat that step a few times but each time bring your high five hand closer to you and slowly start waving at your dog. If this confuses them bring your hand a little closer until they start to offer you a high five again.
The goal is to bring your hand further away from your dog and still have them raise their paw at you. If your dog already has a solid high five, you will be moving back pretty quickly after you start.
Once your dog is raising their paw to you when you wave at them and use your verbal cue, try changing your position. If you are sitting or kneeling, try standing up. It’s possible that your dog will forget everything you just taught them simply from you changing your position, if so, don’t stand all the way up, bend over a little and work on repeating the trick until you can stand upright.
Once you have got those steps down, take it a step further. Instead of your dog offering a static paw pointing at you, get them to wave it at you. How you want to attempt this is by using your verbal cue once, but repeat the hand gesture for a wave immediately after they start to lower their paw. If they are watching your hand signals this should trigger them to raise their paw again, repeat once they start to lower it again. The effect you will have at this point is likely to look like a wave in slow motion. Once your dog figures out that you are asking for more than just a raised paw the paw wave should start to get a little quicker, especially if they get their treat sooner as a result!
Remember to be consistent with your cue and your hand signal. Your dog will be observing both of those together, changing one or both of these can send you backwards in your training.
It’s a really simple trick that just advances from another trick. I love taking something that my dogs already know and tweaking it a little, it’s an easy train but a fun challenge.
Don’t worry, your dog will still High Five if you ask them to.
Give it a go and report your progress back in the comments below. Good Luck!