Training a Trick

Training Dog TricksTeaching your dog a new trick is pure fun! Yes, treats are needed for this; the yummier the better. There are so many tricks and some tricks you need to take in steps. One simple trick that I like to have my clients work on is "hand touch".   This trick is easy and a great tool for keeping your dog engaged with you, when your walking by something the dog finds distracting, such as walking by another dog.

How to teach your dog to hand touch with her nose:

  • First, you will need yummy treats. What dog doesn't like cheese or moist dog food?
  • Then, hold an open hand in front of your dog's nose, just in front of your leg. Your dog should go to sniff your hand, and when her nose touches your hand, you mark the behavior with "yes"! And, then give the dog a treat with that hand.
  • Repeat this several times, using both hands.
  • Next, give the exercise a cue (name), such as "touch".
  • You then put your hand down in front, say touch and when your dog touches your hand with her nose, say, Yes! then give her a treat right after you marked the behavior by saying Yes!.
  • I would do this everyday approximately 15 times a day. After your dog has learned the command, then start generalizing it in different areas. Eventually you want to do this trick in an area that can be distracting.  
One troubleshoot method, if your dog isn't getting it, is to cheat with a piece of food in your open hand, held by your thumb. At first, your dog may not find this to be much fun, but once you get into a rhythm, doing it several times, you can put your hand in different spots, such as above her head, or between your legs.


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