Training your dog to tap objects with his nose is a foundational command that can lead to many more complex and useful commands. The ‘touch’ command has many uses. It can:
Using targeting, you can teach your dog skills like ringing a bell to let you know he wants to go outside or how to say ‘hello’ to visitors with his nose.
For many dogs, this command is easy to learn with consistent praise and treats and you may be able to teach him this trick within a few days. Whether you have an adult dog or are training a young puppy, teaching your dog to ‘touch’ can offer a range of benefits.
To train your dog to target with his nose, you will need treats to reward the action you want to encourage. If you are doing clicker training with your dog, or want to begin using this method, training this command works well with a clicker.
In most cases, you can start out teaching your dog the ‘touch’ command using just your hand. However, you can also use a yellow or blue Post-it note or a target stick if you prefer. These tools are especially helpful if you want to teach your dog to touch things farther away from you.
The first step is to find a location where your dog doesn’t have too many distractions. Distractions for your dog may include loud noises, toys, or other people or animals. You want your dog to be able to focus his attention on you and the training.
Make sure before you begin that you choose a specific word to indicate the command, such as “touch” or “touch it.” Changing the command word during training can confuse your dog. There are a few possible methods for teaching your dog this command.