Dogs love to put things in their mouth: balls, sticks, toys, you name it! Teaching a dog to fetch an object is a fun way to play with your furry friend, but the game is not necessarily innate to a dog-in-training. Before a dog can properly fetch and return objects, they need to learn to “touch” or hand target – the act of gently touching a human’s hand with their noses. Follow the instruction below to teach your dog!
Show your hand to your dog. Your hand should be open with your palm facing their face.
Give the command “TOUCH.”
When your dog touches your hand with their nose, acknowledge with praise. Give your dog a small treat for positive reinforcement. Make sure that your dog actually touches your hand – leaning towards your hand and sniffing is not the same as touching!
As your dog learns to associate an open hand with the ‘touch’ trick, advance their training by moving your hand to different positions.
Teaching your dog to “touch” is a fun way to mentally stimulate their playful brains during training. As is always possible, this command may not come easily for your canine friend. If they struggle, stay patient, and keep trying! Always remember to praise and treat for following instructions as positive reinforcement encourages repetitive good behavior. Good luck!