Touch

Dog Pet

You can use Touch to get your dog to move instead of moving them yourself. When we do it for them, they don't need to think. They can be checked out and focused on other things while you do all the work.

LEVEL 1

Touch the palm of your hand with their nose from an inch away

  1. Hold your fist against your chest.

  2. Say the cue "Touch" and sweep your hand down in front of your dog's face - no more than an inch or two away from them.

  3. The movement of your hand will draw your dog to it.

  4. When their nose touches the palm of your hand, say "Good!"

  5. Get a treat from your bag and give it to them.

Success Criteria

Your dog touches the palm of your hand 5 times

LEVEL 2

Increase Distance your dog has to move to touch your hand

  1. Repeat Level 1, gradually increasing the distance away from your dog that you sweep your hand.

Success Criteria

Your dog will reliably touch the palm of your hand wherever you present it.

LEVEL 3

Use touch to move your dog

  1. Begin using the Touch cue to move your dog onto or off of objects (rug, dog bed, couch, scales, doorways, etc.).

Success Criteria

Congratulations! You now have an easy way to move your dog without physically moving them.

Touch is useful for getting your dog to move without physically moving them. When we always physically move our dogs, either by picking them up or pushing/pulling, they don't learn to pay attention and do things for themselves when you ask them to. It requires no thought or effort from your dog for you to move them. Your dog can be totally oblivious to you while you move them around. We see this a lot with dogs who are "put" into a Sit position by pressing on their hips. The dog is focused on anything BUT their handler and not following a cue to Sit. The handler is doing all the work.

 

It is also good for building confidence in insecure dogs. If a dog does something themselves, they feel better about it than if it is forced on them. Some dogs are nervous about the scales at the vet clinic. If they step onto it on their own power, they will be much less nervous about it than if they are picked up and sat on it or pushed/pulled onto it. 

Touch can also be used in place of "Come". It's an exercise many dogs really enjoy. If they are enthusiastic about Touch but not Come, then it can be used to get your dog back should they get loose. I like to use Touch to get my dog to me in close quarters instead of Come, and save my Come cue for when they can get a good running start.