How to Train Your Dog to Deliver to Your Hand

How to Train Your Dog to Deliver to Your Hand
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon1-2 Weeks
Fun training category iconFun

Introduction

Delivering a game bird to the hand is what a well-trained gundog is expected to do. But this command is also deceptively useful for regular pet dogs, for a variety of reasons.

For one thing, imagine a game of "Fetch" where you never have to bend down to the ground. With the ball beautifully presented and released into your hand, it saves strain on your back.

There are also huge safety advantages to teaching a delivery to hand. You only have to think about the dog who's got hold of your Jimmy Choo shoe and is about to play chase with your prized possession. The dog that is trained to give an object into the hand, will come to you and deliver his ill-gotten gains without a whimper...in return for praise end a treat, so everyone's a winner.

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Defining Tasks

Delivering to your hand literally means what it says. The dog delivers an object he's holding in his mouth, into your waiting hand. In the context of a gundog, he's also trained to retrieve a game bird, carry it back with a soft mouth, and the final step is to drop the bird into your waiting hand.

This guide looks at the final part of that chain of events, the delivery. But this is arguably the most useful component in the context of a well-behaved pet dog, as it protects your possessions, keeps him safe, and facilitates an epic game of "Fetch".

If you are struggling with a dog that keeps running away with the toy in his mouth, then avoid giving chase. When you run after the dog, this is ace-fun in the dog's mind and he is teaching you to play rather than the lesson being on him. Instead, ignore him, or better still, walk away. This sends out a powerful message that the game is over and will have him running back to you in no time.

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Getting Started

To get started it helps to work in a corridor. This encourages the dog to return to you, rather than running off with his toy booty. The training sessions should always be the equivalent of a game to the dog. Look for an enthusiastically wagging tail, and if he starts to lose interest then bring the session to a close.

You can even teach this command during a game, rather than during specific training sessions. You will need:

  • Treats
  • A waist bag in which to keep the treats
  • A toy, such as a frisbee or ball
  • Two identical favorite toys
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The Exchange Delivery Method

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Exchange Delivery method for How to Train Your Dog to Deliver to Your Hand
1

Two identical toys

Start with two identical toys. The idea is that the dog who is reluctant to hand over a toy can be tempted into doing so for another toy that looks the same but is more 'exciting' (because he doesn't have it).

2

Toss one toy

Keeping one toy out of sight, toss the other for the dog to chase

3

Dog retrieves toy

Encourage the dog to chase after the toy and fetch it back.

4

Hold out a hand

Hold out a hand to accept the toy. If he yields the toy to the hand then give him your chosen cue word, along with lots of praise and a treat. If he refuses and holds onto it, then reveal the identical toy.

5

Offer the identical toy

Jiggle the second toy around so it looks exciting. The dog then thinks the second toy is a more interesting option than the first, which he then drops into your waiting hand. Give the cue word, lots of praise, and throw the second toy for him to chase.

The Treat & Toy Delivery Method

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Treat & Toy Delivery method for How to Train Your Dog to Deliver to Your Hand
1

Work in a corridor

Make this into a game but try playing in a corridor, so the dog has fewer options to get distracted. This way when you toss the toy, the dog has fewer options and is more likely to run straight back to you.

2

Toss a toy

Toss a toy for the dog to chase, as you would for a game of fetch. If the dog stops to play with the toy, walk away from him as if ending the game. This should have him chasing after you.

3

Hold a treat

The dog has returned with toy in mouth. You want him to give the toy to your hand, so if he drops the toy have him pick it up again. Show the dog the treat so that he lifts his head to your hand while still holding the toy.

4

Dog waits

Have the dog wait with the toy in his mouth, pressed up against the hand holding the treat.

5

Give the treat

Once the dog has demonstrated he is actively presenting the toy to your hand, give him the treat and accept the toy.

The Target the Hand Method

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Target the Hand method for How to Train Your Dog to Deliver to Your Hand
1

Smell the palm

Make the hand attractive to the dog by rubbing it with a treat. Offer out the palm for the dog to sniff.

2

Reward a nose touch

When the dog touches his nose to the palm, give a cue word, such as 'Hand', praise and reward him. The idea is to teach the dog that 'Hand' means touch the palm.

3

Introduce a toy

Now introduce a toy for the dog to play with and eventually release to your hand. Play with the toy so that the dog excitedly mouths it.

4

Reward toy-to-hand

Now ask the dog to touch the toy to your palm, by using your 'Hand' command. If the dog does this, then praise him and give a treat. If he drops the toy before touching the palm, then no reward. He has to learn that he only gets the reward if the toy is released on your word.

5

Reward the release

When the dog is regularly presenting the toy to your palm, give a release word such as "Give", and reward him with a treat.

By Amy Caldwell

Published: 10/16/2017, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Frankie

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English Pointer

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15 Weeks

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Question

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i have been trying to teach my dog how to retreive a toy but as soon as i throw it to him he gets scared and loses interest and hide behind me and as soon as i leave he run to it and start play with it i tried to encourage him with treats but he loses interest in treats as well it's so strange to me as i never experienced something simillar

May 29, 2022

Frankie's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Soubhi, I would start by using a stuffing free stuffed toy. Move the toy around pup like it's a squirrel or something fun pup is chasing. Get pup excited so that they are trying to chase and grab it. When pup lets go for a second, toss the toy away from you and pup a couple of inches while happily saying "Fetch". When pup runs after it to grab it, as soon as pup picks it up, excitedly call pup "Frankie Come!" and run away from pup, so pup chases after you. If pup drops the toy on the way, run over to the toy and pick it up and move it around like a pretend squirrel again to get pup to grab it again. Once pup grabs it, run away again to get pup to chase after you with the toy. When pup arrives with the toy, have another toy you can fold up and hide in your pocket, like a stuffingless animal, with you; pull that from your pocket while commanding pup to "Drop It", to get the first toy from pup. Pick up the toy they dropped and stick that in your pocket, and repeat the entire game with the new toy again. This game is a lot of fun for pup but you are also practicing getting pup to fetch a toy, bring it to you, and drop it. Zak George from training revolution on youtube also has a lot of fetch videos if you need to visualize the training as well. Avoid throwing the toy toward or at pup at first - since pup probably thinks you are trying to hit them. You want pup to learn what the game of fetch is first, so that when you throw a toy toward their direction later while saying fetch, pup then understands that it's a game and not you being angry with them. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

May 30, 2022

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Chico

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Belgian Malinois

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15 Weeks

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This is fun to see our pet learning how to talk back to us, saying yes or no, to lead the right direction, to bring things, find the lost thing, protect children from any danger in road, easily obey in verbal commands and know how to navigate the way around properly and behavely outside the house. Is this all appropriate for a dog to train? Thanks a lot!

Jan. 31, 2021

Chico's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Richmond, All of those things are things that can be taught to an intelligent, willing to please dog with the right instincts to channel into those activities. Saying yes and no is generally just a fun trick though, where pup is taught to respond to certain cues, like a particular question, with a yes or no indicator. I wouldn't expect pup to actually answer yes or no intelligibility based on what they want, like a person would, but learning to read a dog's body language can help you interpret what they want. Just know that many of those commands and tasks will take a lot of time and dedication to teach. Often the first three years of a dog's life with consistent training. Putting the time in to teach pup how to work with and understand you is great fun though! And can really pay off with a dog you can enjoy, involve in your family life, take more places, and trust to work with you. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Feb. 2, 2021


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