Touch nose to hand
• Teach the dog to touch his nose to your hand. This behavior will serve as a foundation skill for other behaviors.
Lay the Foundation:
1. Hold your hand still directly in front of your dog’s nose – an inch away at most. CT for any movement towards or nose-bop against your hand. Remove your hand after each click, then treat. Repeat until your dog is confidently nose-bopping your hand.
2. Hold your hand 1 inch to the left, the right, above and below your dog’s nose. Click the instant his nose touches your hand. Remove your hand, and then give him his treat.
3. Add the verbal cue “touch” as you present your hand.
4. Gradually increase the distance your dog has to move to bop your hand to 3 and then 6 inches. In front, to the left, the right, above and below his nose.
• Click while your dog’s nose is touching your hand. A late click will teach your dog to move away from your hand instead.
• If your dog is hesitant to approach your hand, then you may be presenting your hand too far away from his nose. Move closer.
• Some dogs may start licking your hand. If you don’t mind this behavior then don’t worry about it. If you do mind, then start clicking just before her nose reaches your hand. Yes, timing gets to be really important here. Then take your hand away before she has time to lick it. She will soon realize that she can earn the treat without having to bring out her tongue.
Follow your hand
• Teach the dog follow your hand. This will allow you to guide your dog into different positions or places if you need to. The emphasis here is on your dog following your movement, rather than actually touching your hand.
1. Begin with a warm-up from Level 1 using the cue “touch” as you present your hand.
2. Start to present your hand slightly further away each time; click for any movement your dog makes to follow the target.
3. As your dog is reliably moving towards your hand, start to increase the distance and vary the position and direction in which you hold your hand. Work it so that your dog can follow your hand from three feet away from his nose.
• This cue is very useful for teaching your dog to move into places that he might otherwise not go. For example, moving your dog onto the weighing scale at the veterinarian, or moving him into or out of your car, or off the couch at home.
Touch nose to object
• Teach the dog bop his nose against an object. This will also serve as a foundation behavior for other skills.
1. Hold a target object (such as a target stick, a post-it note, a coaster or other prop) close to your dog’s nose – an inch away at most. CT for any movement towards or nose-bop against the target. Remove the target after each click, then treat. Repeat until your dog is confidently nose-bopping the object.
2. Hold your target 1 inch to the left, the right, above and below your dog’s nose. Click the instant his nose touches the target. Remove the target, then give him his treat.
3. Add the verbal cue “target” as you present the object.
4. Gradually increase the distance your dog has to move to bop the target. You want to build up to a distance of 2 – 3 feet.
5. Start asking your dog to follow the target over, under or around an obstacle or your body.
For example, you could ask him to crawl underneath your bent legs while you’re sitting in a chair.
• This behavior is fun and versatile for both you and your dog. You could use it to teach your dog tricks such as opening or closing a door, ringing the doggie door-bell so that you can let him go outside to potty, fetching you a beer from the refrigerator, teaching tricks such as roll over, play dead, spin and twirl.
• Come to the Tricks class to find out the real power of targeting.