Hand Touch!

Today I have a guest blogger!  Dae Grodin of Dog-Abilities has written a blog on the topic of “hand touches” as a foundation obedience behavior.  Thank you, Dae, for taking the time to explain your ideas and to provide a variety of video resources to back it up!

Hand Touch by Dae Grodin:

In dog training, when we think about basic obedience or foundation behaviors, most people think of sit, down, come, stay, leave it, and loose leash walking. However, many people do not think about nor know about hand touch/targeting.  Let’s take a look at this valuable behavior!

What is “hand touch?”

Hand touch is where you place your hand down and your dog touches it with its nose. That’s it, it’s that simple! In this tutorial, Donna Hill shows you the start of teaching a hand touch. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vs8p4oxphrI

Often times when I show this behavior to clients and class students, their first questions are, “why do I need to teach hand touch to my dog?” and “How is it important to me?”

I love those questions because they’re so easy to answer!  The cool thing about this particular behavior is that there are many applications for it, and it’s easy to teach. Here are some examples of how you can use hand touch, though this is far from an exhaustive list.

Recall: (root dog training)  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MZbVNUMWR0 – puppy coming to hand touch.

Working with a shy dog:  (Dog-Abilities) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sav4zFB5tYY-Edie

Vet husbandry skills: (Nando Brown)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iez6NDgvWJw-  (starts at 2:33-3:35 – sustained hand touch)

I absolutely love teaching this behavior and want my dogs to become targeting machines. I find that you are not only teaching your dogs useful skills, but hand touches can also becomes a fun game for your dog. I hope you give it a try with your dog. It will be well worth the effort.

Dae Grodin of Dog-Abilities, based in the Northern KY and Cincinnati areas

Thanks Dae!  Hope to see you again soon :).


About dfenzi

I'm a professional dog trainer who specializes in building relationship in dog handler teams who compete in dog sports. My personal passions are Competitive Obedience and no force (motivational) dog training. I travel throughout the world teaching seminars on topics related to Dog Obedience and Building Drives and Motivation. I own Fenzi Dog Sports Academy, a comprehensive online school for motivational training of performance sport dogs.
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One Response to Hand Touch!

  1. Lynnda Lenzen says:

    Once a dog had a solid Nose Touch you can hold a closed hand with a treat at nose leve and ask the dog to touch your other hand that is a step away (like 12″). Dog learns that To Get the Treat s/he must Step Awsy From the Treat.
    And for the dog just learning behaviors, ask for two hand touches before a reward.


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