Hand Touch

Hand Touch

Touch is a targeted version of come where we ask her to touch our palm with his nose. You can practice this at home with your dog.


Objective: Teach the dog to touch the palm of your hand with the tip of its nose.

Cue: touch.

  1. Remain in the same area of the enclosure with the dog on leash.

  2. You might need to work on your knees with smaller breeds

  3. Place your hand on the tip of the dog’s nose and R+.

  4. The goal is to CC the hand/nose behavior.

  5. Make sure not to block the air passage.

  6. Do not place your hand too quickly on the dog’s nose to avoid a fearful, retreat, or aggressive response.

  7. Make sure you allow the dog to pant during this exercise.

  8. You can place your hand on the dog’s chin as an alternative.

  9. Repeat step 2 an extra 10X.

  10. The goal is to make sure the behavior is understood 150% before you attempt step number four.

  11. Each dog is different; therefore, the number of repetitions will change.

  12. Place your hand approximately 1” (2cm) away from the dog’s nose and wait.

  13. If the dog leans in for the touch R+.

  14. If it doesn’t lean in, repeat step two for another 15X

  15. Try the hand 1” away to see if the dog understands the concept.

  16. If it touches the hand with its nose, R+ and move to step 5.

  17. If it does not touch your hand, do an extra 15X. Some dogs are slow learners.

  18. Assuming the dog now understands the touch concept, start to move your hand in all directions making sure you remain within 1” of the dog’s nose. R+ successes and ignore failures.

  19. Repeat the 1” touch behavior the same amount of times is initially took to condition the touch behavior in steps two and four.

  20. Slowly bring your hand further and further away from the dog to instigate movement into the touch behavior.

  21. Once you are at arm’s length, start to name the behavior.

  22. Each time the dog touches the hand, simultaneously say the word touch and R+.

  23. Say touch the same amount of time it took to CC the behavior in step two.

  24. Give the dog a 20 min break before you test the behavior.

  25. Take 10 treats or pieces of food and set them aside in your treat pouch set in your back. Make sure to set up the behavior in different areas of the enclosure.

  26. Show the dog your hands are empty.

  27. Place your hand out, say the dog’s name and ask touch. Make sure to avoid competing cues. Many dogs fail because the trainer is unaware of his cues.

  28. If the dog touches your hand within 15 Mississippies R+ 1 treat.

  29. If the dog Ø touch your hand within 15 sec, Ø R+ and Ø treat. Set the treat aside for later calculations of test results.

  30. Repeat 10X for a total of 10 touches.

  31. Make sure to give only ONE treat to the dog for each touch.

  32. At the end of the 10 trials, count the number of treats left, if any.

  33. Consider the behavior learned when the dog reaches 10/10 or no treats are left.

  34. If the test results in less than 10/10, go back to the naming phase, or step six.

  35. CC another 10-15X and offer at least a 30 min break between test periods.

  36. Ideally, conduct the tests one day apart.

  37. Put the behavior on maintenance and make sure to be as variable as possible in order to maintain motivation.