Hand Targeting - the uses and benefits
Touch! Hand targeting is one of the easiest and sometimes the most reliable behaviour you can teach your dog.
Hand targeting works great for all dogs and it’s helpful for different situations.
How to use Touch! Hand targeting
Move your dog into a position beside you or in front of you.
Redirect their attention – excellent if your dog does not know leave it or know leave it well. Use touch to get your dog back to you and leave the item. If your dog is distracted by joggers or other dogs use Touch to get your dog facing you so you can offer a second command/cue that will keep them focused on you.
Keep your dog’s nose on your hand while they are being handled at the vet or groomer being handled.
A recall (come when called) when your dog has selective hearing
Targeting can be used to teach dogs to push draws, doors and cupboards closed.
A cute trick used to teach kiss where your dog boops their nose on the cheek of your face
How to teach Touch
Step 1: Hold your hand out flat, palm facing the dog. Drop your hand right down in front of your dog’s nose so he can’t miss it 3-6 inches. Mark with a clicker or YES! and treat the instant you feel whiskers, nose, or even tongue on your hand.
Tip: If your dog is not responding to your hand or is too distracted move to a room that is very quiet, put your dog on leash and keep them close. Put a treat (a lure) in-between your ring and middle finger and close your fingers to secure to threat. Present your open palm to your dog when they sniff the treat or try to eat it mark and release the treat. If you use a lure repeat 2-5x few times and then use it without he lure and go to step one.
Step 2: When your dog is successfully tapping his nose to your palm when it’s right in front of him, begin to present your palm slightly to the right or left. Then present a little higher or a little lower.
Tip: If the dog doesn’t move toward the hand within 2 seconds, pull your hand away and put it behind your back. Get your dog’s attention and the present the hand again, closer to his face.
Step 3: When your dog is good at tapping his nose to your hand no matter if it’s high, low, to the right or to the left, then present your hand again and pull your hand forward a few inches as your dog reaches toward your hand. Name it Touch! Each time they touch your hand.
Step 4: Begin to move your hand further so the dog must take several steps to follow your hand. If you have a friend to train with call touch back and forth and get further and further apart in different rooms.