Teaching “TOUCH” or Hand Targeting
The touch cue is a FUN and EASY behavior to teach your dog with so many uses!
- It can help you with loose leash walking.
- I can help you call your dog to come to you.
- It is also great for training new behaviors and tricks.
- You can use it to teach your dog to SPIN or weave in between your legs
- It is also useful for times when your dog is curious, but slightly cautious about a new object.
- It’s a great exercise for shy dogs to help build confidence with strangers and being handled.
- Service dogs are trained to turn light switches on and off are first taught to touch/target a sticky note.
How To Teach Touch:
- Hold your hand open or two fingers close to your dog’s nose.
- When your dog touches your hand with their nose, say “YES!” (Or click) and reward your dog with a treat from the opposite hand.
- Make sure you mark (“YES!” or click) the touch precisely when your dog touches your hand.
- Timing must be precise!
- Use a specific hand gesture to invite your dog to touch your hand, otherwise your dog might always attempt to touch your hand. (We don’t want to create “un-invited” touches, only when we play the game.)
Once your dog has repeated the touch exercise several times, and is doing it reliably, add the verbal cue “TOUCH.”
- Start slowly raising the criteria by changing your hand position, body position, position of your dog, and from different distances, etc.
- You can also switch hands for touch. (Left and Right)
- You can use a target such as a plastic container top, a sticky knote or a target stick
If your dog is succeeding, make it a little harder each time. If your dog is having a difficult time, make it easier.
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT TARGETING READ:
How to Teach Your Pet to Target
How (and why) to Teach Your Dog to Touch Your Hand
Target Training Tips from 4 Paws University
Helping Shy Dogs Blossom with Target Training
Six Ways I Messed Up My Dog’s Hand Targeting!
Teaching a Puppy to Hand Target
Teaching Your Dog Hand Targeting