Brown Veterinary Service

Training: Hand Target (the “touch” cue)

For this exercise, you will be teaching your dog to touch your hand with his nose on cue.  This can be a useful behavior for getting your dog’s attention, moving him around (getting off of furniture, etc.) or helping him focus when there are distractions.  Most dogs seem to enjoy learning to do this, so it can also be a fun game to play 🙂

To introduce this behavior, start by holding your treats in one hand – leave the other hand empty.  Hold your empty hand out flat towards your dog.  Most dogs will naturally move forward to sniff the hand (especially if it smells like treats) – click (or say “yes!”) to mark this movement and reward from your other hand.

Once your dog begins to catch on, make things harder by varying the position of your hand.  Ask your dog to take a few steps to reach your hand; turn to the left, turn to the right; hold it higher or lower than his head.  Eventually, you can even ask your dog to jump in the air to touch the hand.