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  • Liz MacHaffie

Hand Touch

Updated: May 7




The goal of this is to teach your dog to solidly touch his nose to your hand. This simple behavior is super helpful not only for behavior modification, but also for teaching a load of tricks!



Steps

  • Choose some low to medium value treats.

  • Sit in a chair with your treats in a bait bag or in one hand.

  • Rub a treat on the palm of your free hand.

  • With your hand held away from your dog, make a rigidly flat palm. Then, lower your hand to your dog’s nose-height with your fingers pointing downward or sideways.

  • As soon as your dog sniffs or makes nose contact with your hand, mark (click or “yes”) and treat from your other hand. Take your other hand away (to stop the “signal” for touch).

  • Repeat this several times, making sure your hand is in the same position each time. You may need to re-scent your hand a few times.

  • Once your dog is reliably touching your hand, you can add in his cue word! Say the word “touch” (or other word/phrase of your choice) before you move at all and then present your hand as normal.

  • When your dog responds to “touch” more than 80% of the time, you can begin making it harder by changing where your hand is presented.

  • Present your hand 6” to the right and left of where you started. (If your dog has a hard time, try a smaller distance from the original spot.)

  • Present 1’ away to the right and left.

  • Present your hand lower to the ground.

  • Use the other hand!

Continue until your dog can hand touch with you sitting or standing, touching your right or left hand, close to your body or stretched away from it.


You can also make this fun for your dog by making a game of it! See if you can get him to touch your right hand and then your left, a hand that's high and then a hand that's low!



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