- Treat pouch
TRAINING ENVIRONMENT: Start in the least distracting (most boring) place in your home.
RECOMMENDED TREAT POSITION: Start by giving the treat to your dog. After your dog starts to get the game toss the treat away from you to encourage him to touch from farther away.
- Place a treat right between two of your fingers on one hand.
- Hold your hand vertically about three inches in front of your dog’s nose (closer if your dog is very small).
- When your dog sniffs your hand for the treat, click.
- Pull a treat out of your pocket with your other hand and give it to your dog.
- After three repetitions, remove the treat from between your fingers and repeat the exercise.
- DO NOT:
- Move your hand closer to your dog. We want him coming to you, and you might inadvertently bop him on the nose, which doesn’t feel good.
- Hold your hand more than three or four inches away from your dog. That comes later. Right now, we are just trying to get the behavior started.
- PUPPIES: Do five repetitions and take a break. Do this two or three times each day.
- DOGS: Do at least ten repetitions, three times each day.
- A repetition is one hand touch.
AT THE END OF THIS STEP:
Your dog will touch your hand with his nose from about 3 inches away.
My dog won’t touch my hand.
- Consider if you are moving your hand toward your dog when you practice. You need to make sure your dog comes to you and you don’t go to him.
- Go back to using the treat between your fingers for a few more repetitions.
- Put your hand closer to your dog’s nose and hold it still.
- Consider if the treats you are using are some your dog really likes.
- Consider making the environment easier (less distraction).
- Does your dog have a history with hands that might make this difficult? Rescues that have been abused can often have issues with seeing the palm of your hand. Try hand feeding your dog for a few weeks to get rid of this fear.
- Does the presentation of the palm make him think you’re doing something else? If you have consistently used an open palm in this position for something else, even if you were not trying to train it, your dog might associate it with a different cue or trick. We might need to consider adding a target to your hand (like your cell phone or keys – something you would have with you all the time), or having your dog target the back of your hand.