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Hand Touch Training

Quick Training Tip: Hand Touch

Even though many of us choose to keep our pets elsewhere during house parties, a friendly pup adds a special something to any bash. It's very important to have a well-trained dog in these settings — tons of new people, food, and noise can detract those good manners. Try this training technique called a hand touch, which helps keeps dogs' attentions, no matter the environment. Learn how to teach it to your pet when you


  1. Start out with a tiny treat held between your thumb and index finger.
  2. Get your dog's attention so he sees and smells the treat while holding your hand out above and a little bit behind his head so he needs to sit and move his snout up — but not jump — to get the snack.
  3. Praise in a happy voice and repeat at different times and in different settings. Work your way up to a point where your pup will sit and touch his nose to your fingers whenever you stick your hand out, even without a treat in your hand. This is a great technique to refocus a pup's attention on you in public.
Image Source: Shutterstock
Join The Conversation
Milly-the-ninja Milly-the-ninja 9 years
good idea.
Just-Oh Just-Oh 9 years
A well-trained dog is always a joy to be around. These are great training tips!
aembry396 aembry396 9 years
My Min Pin loves doing this. Putting the treat above her head and back helps her sit down naturally while her eyes follow the treat. Now, she knows when she sees my hand above her head. But at parties with all the food that could be dropped or people to beg without my attention, she is a little more reluctant to sit unless she sees that treat! Stinky bug!
Pets Pets 9 years
Good tips, Aphrosette!
Aphrosette Aphrosette 9 years
btw mark is a different command similar idea but they touch their nose to a inanimate object to "mark" has a different purpose in agility but could be used in the same fashion as touch your hand for at home purposes
Aphrosette Aphrosette 9 years
the touch technique is useful in so many ways. We use it in Sammy's agility class to reposition him without having to fiddle with his body and hereby toning done his energy. He keeps his energy up by doing it himself. We also use it at home to get his attention, and to run some energy out. If you get a really good touch you SHOULD teach them a touch jump. (the article says not to jump, but my trainer would differ and heres why) Its a more difficult task to jump and have a successful touch so if and when your dog can do this you can have them jump after jump after jump and basically jump the jumps out of them before people come to visit. It gets them to calm down a bit and makes them less likely to jump on company. (And my short little cockapoo can jump to shoulder height and still touch my hand or mark his mark!
GigglyGirl GigglyGirl 9 years
This seems alot like the "watch me" exercise we learned in our petsmart class. For that you have a treat you hold it up between your eyes and say watch me. When puppy holds your gaze for a few seconds, he gets the treat. It's another way to get his attention on you instead of the other distractions.
Renees3 Renees3 9 years
This seems like a good idea. I really want to start teaching B-Bop more tricks and training him better. This sounds like a good start. Wonder if he'll learn in time for our Memorial Day BBQ!
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