Thursday, May 10, 2012

The "Touch" Cue

Teaching the cue "Touch" can come in very handy in many situations that you may not even realize.  I find that it helps when teaching "Heel" and when you need your dog to walk onto or over to something. Potty training is also a place where the "Touch" cue can come in handy. It also happens to be one of the easiest cues to teach.

To start put your clicker in the hand that you will not be using.  (Now I start by teaching them to "Touch" a stick and then move to cue to my hand.  I find it easier to start that way because a stick is something hard to resist investigating) Hold the stick (one with a blunt end) out in front of  your dog's nose, when he bumps it (from sniffing or trying to chew) click, and treat.  Now your dog will try to figure out what is has to do to get that treat again.  Give him time, if you need to move the stick around a bit to keep his interest feel free.  Move the stick away and put it back out saying "Touch" whenever he bumps it (no teeth) with his nose click and treat him.  After a dozen time or less he should have it down.  

Give him a break after the treats and play a game with him for a few minutes.  Then hold up your hand (like a stop sign) and say "Touch"  he might look for the stick, but he should try giving your hand a bump, when he does, click and treat with lots of praise!  Repeat and then alternate with the stick and your hand.

To use it when on a walk simply put your hand (or if you have a small dog, use the stick) down at your side and tell your dog "Touch".  Remember to click and treat for the first little while and you will build a very positive feeling in your dog when he is at your side (translation: "being next to my owner, not in front, is wonderful!).  It is also nice to keep him focused on you and not whatever cat has happened to walk down that sidewalk as well.

(a "just because puppies are so cute" picture)

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