This is an extraordinarily simple task, yet it provides seemingly infinite benefits:
1) You’ll teach your dog that human hands are something to get excited about, minimizing the risk of a bite.
2) You’ll have a way to “call” your dog if he ever goes deaf.
3) You can use it to call your dog away from literally anything!
a) Use it to redirect your dog’s attention when he’s barking his head off at the mail carrier.
b) Use it to distract your dog from a stressor.
c) Get your dog away from another dog that seems “iffy.”
4) You can use it to combat boredom. Once your dog understands the task, you can make it really fun! You can use this to teach new and more difficult
5) Use it to get your dog into the “heel” position (or any position).
6) Use it to move your dog out of the way, instead of “manhandling.”
– Treats + treat bag
– A dog
– Your hand
Have your clicker ready in one hand. Present your other hand as a very flat palm. Simply wait until your dog touches your hand with his nose. You do not need to say anything. You do not need to prompt your dog in any way. Just wait. The instant your dog touches your hand, click! and treat. Repeat until your dog seems to understand the game.
Maintain the behavior by “surprising” your dog randomly when you’re not in training mode. Hold out your hand while you’re watching TV, taking a walk, doing yardwork, etc. After successfully training “touch,” perform the maintenance training 3-5 times per day for several weeks or months. When you feel like your dog is racing to touch your hand with enthusiasm every single time, you can bring the maintenance training down to 3-5 times per week if you like, but you might find yourself using the hand target as part of your daily life!