Need to make a little extra money? Thinking of breaking your dog into show biz?
Whether your dog is star material or not, teaching him to perform tricks is a great way to spend time having fun with him. And teaching a fun trick like how to play patty cake will be entertaining for friends and family, even if he does not become a big Hollywood celebrity someday. A dog that can perform fun tricks like patty cake is especially suited to performing at children's hospitals and seniors homes, bringing joy to people who would not usually get to interact with a pet. Your dog will seem oh so clever and an interactive trick will give people a chance to participate with the dog. This kind of activity may help patients who need motivation to perform coordination exercises--your dog playing pattycake might be just perfect for that!
"Patty cake, patty cake, baker's man, bake me, a cake, as fast, as you can." This verse makes 8 counts, which is the usual number of times you will want to teach your dog to play patty cake for. To play patty cake, your dog will sit in front of you and raise first one paw to touch your outstretched opposite hand, then put that paw down and raise the other to reach across their body and touch your other hand, diagonally, for approximately 8 counts. You can go longer if you want.
A dog that has learned to perform 'high five' is already part way to performing this behavior, you will just need to teach your dog to raise their other, non-dominant, paw to perform the same trick, and then to start touching opposite diagonal hands instead of the mirror hand usually used for the 'high five' trick. Most dogs enjoy this trick and it should be fun and involve lots of rewards without punishment.
Keep training sessions short, especially for young dogs, and always end on a positive note. You will need lots of treats! Some people like to use a clicker to help shape the paw raising and touching behavior. A dog that already knows 'shake a paw' or 'high five' may pick this trick up faster than others, as the behavior is already part way there. Remember to have fun!