Hand Targets – Layer 1

Objective:  To teach your dog to touch your hand with his nose. The benefits are many, including:

  • Focus in times of stress or uncertainty
  • Keeping your dog still without manipulation or restraints
  • Moving your dog without physically touching them
  • Teaching tricks


Optional Videos:

Step by Step Instructions Comments
Make a fist and present two fingers. The shape of your hand will become a visual cue.  When your dog sees your hand in this shape, she will touch it with her nose
Hold your fingers close to (approx 1 inch in front of) your dog’s nose. Keep your target hand still.  We want our dog to move toward our hand. Focus Point is:  Hold target hand still
When your dog sniffs or orients toward your hand, mark with a ‘Yes’
Feed your dog her treat from the same hand that she touched
Repeat the above steps four more times
Get five more treats and repeat the exercise one more time. Say ‘All done’ and take a break.
Troubleshooting:  My dog is licking or nipping my hand
Mark just before your dog’s nose reaches your hand.  Do this for a while and then test the value.  If your dog touches his nose to your hand, mark ‘Yes’.  If not, continue marking as his nose approaches your hand.
Troubleshooting:  What if my dog ignores my hand?
If your dog ignores your hand for a count of 2 seconds, put your hand behind your back and present it again.  You can also try wiggling your fingers, or move your hand and bringing it back into position. Mark ‘Yes’ when your dog’s nose approaches your hand
When to Advance  
When your dog is touching your hand with her nose


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