Training Dogs to Touch
Touch in its simplest form can be a fun game between you and your dog. It is getting them to touch their nose to your hand ( it can actually be any part of their body to an object). You can use it to break up a long walk with a game by simply having them touch your hand while you guys are walking. During the time I have taught touch in my classes I would say 9 of 10 dogs enjoy this!
On a large scale touch can be a step in the process of having your dog ring a bell to go outside, hit a switch for lights, or so on. It is always fun and a good idea to think ahead to what your end goal is and to start to take steps to get there.
- In your leash hand hold 5 pea size treats ready to use and a single treat to lure in the other hand.
- With the dog in front of you show him the treat then place the lure in between your thumb and pointer finger. ( See picture for better description). Hold your hand with palm out and fingers pointing to the ground.
- He should go to your hand to sniff or "take" the treat. As soon as you feel the nose touch your hand you bridge and give him the treat in your hand.
- Continue step 3 for about 10 times. When he repeats this with out hesitation it is time to pair the behavior with a verbal Sd. Place the treat in between your fingers, but this time say the word "touch" first and then show your hand to the dog. When he touches your hand bridge and treat.
- Monitor how quickly your dog responds while you are using the word "touch". If he seems eager and goes straight to your hand, now is the time to try with out luring with a treat. Again have your treats ready in your leash hand so when you bridge you can treat right away. Using the other hand hold it out and say the word "touch". Two things may happen. One he goes right to your hand to sniff, if he does this bridge and treat right away. Second he may be hesitant because there is no treat waiting in your hand. Hold it for a moment to give him a chance to think about it. When he makes contact with your hand bridge and treat. If he still does not go to your hand don't worry and start again with step four for a few more sessions.
- Now that our dog understands what "touch" is you can raise the bar and start moving your hand to different locations or swich from left to right. I suggest one new place at a time until you see the confidence in your dog when you say the word touch.
- Make this game fun for the both of you!
Just a note
Keep in mind when working new behaviors keep the lessons short and sweet. Between 5-10 minutes at a time and always end at a good note! As progression happens and you hit a new mile stone you can *JACK-POT and give a few small treats one at a time to let them know that they did a great job!
*Jack-pot-Giving multiple treats one after the other. Giving a handful at once will seem like 1 treat. Treats back to back is a greater reward for our pooch.
What is the next behavior you would like to read about
Learn about "bridging"
- Priming your BRIDGE word
How to start using a bridge word