Hand targeting is an excellent behaviour to teach all dogs. It is a foundation behaviour for many service dogs. It can lead them to target a location, a button to open the door, a shoelace to pull, a zipper to unzip, a drawer to close, a door to open, and so much more. How does this help a non-service dog? It can double as an awesome recall and you can use it to move your dog from point A to point B (e.g. off the couch, onto their bed, into the car, away from the counter, onto the vet’s scale, etc). How useful is that?
Ideas for cues: “Touch”, “boop”, “target”, “props”, “bump”
Caution: It’s important that your dog bonks your hand with their nose rather than you bonking your dog’s nose with your hand. If your dog finds this exercise aversive and avoids your hand, get in touch with us or practice your dog’s recall with a word instead. Some dogs are hand shy – they need help in the handling department before they feel comfortable doing this behaviour.
Need a refresher on how to effectively train a behaviour? Click here.