We’ll admit, when we first learned “touch”, the importance was baffling. Why would we want our dog to touch their nose to our hand? However, now, it is by far one of our favorite cues to teach a dog. Not only does it reinforce a nice, gentle mouth but it’s great to move a dog once he or she gets really good at it. No one wants to tug their dog around by collar, not fun for anyone.
Start with the treats in the left hand or on a mantel. Hold your right hand flat in front of your dog’s face, super close. When he or she touches his nose to your hand, say “yes” and reward with the opposite. Now put the treats into right hand and hold your left hand out for your dog to “touch”. Again, say nothing but “yes” the first couple of repetitions to make darn sure your dog can actually do it.
If you have taught “shake” and this confuses your dog, use two fingers for “touch” instead of a flat palm. Once you know your dog can do this, say “touch” before introducing your hand. Repeat a few times but keep your hand close so your dog does not have to walk THEN “touch”, too many things at once will set your furry BFF up for failure.
Fantastic uses for “touch”:
- For larger breed dogs, you can use it to start your “let’s go”. It’s a lovely way to prevent the cannonball behavior many dogs have learned on leash.
- For shy dogs, tell friends and neighbors to hold their hand out and you cue “touch”. It prevents unneccessary hands over a less than exuberant dog’s head.
- Moving on and off furniture, into and out of the car and out of the room.
- GREAT confidence booster! It’s fairly easy for most dogs and if they learn they can do something right, well…their little shy selves will blossom.
- Only after you have practiced it a lot, can you redirect a stare or barking. Turning around AND “touching” is not fair if your pup has not practiced without such big and scary distractions.
- Older dogs can still use their brains! “Sit” and “down” can often hurt but “touch” does not require creaky hips and knees to move around much.
Now, start working on this awesome cue and you’ll see how much fun you can have with it!