Thursday, August 2, 2012

The "Touch" Command

The "Touch" command is one our favorite exercises to do with our pups.  No only it is a mind stimulating exercise, but you can use this fun game to help you communicate with your dog(s).  Even Deaf dogs can benefit form this. Teaching the "touch command" helps your dog focus on a target and associate that target with something positive.  We use the touch command to guide the dogs on & off the couch, into their crates, heel by our side, sit by our side, go to a mark, go over an agility jump, we use it as a recall, for k9 nose work, to get them into and out of a car and we even use it for our dog reactive dogs just to name a few things you can do with this exercise. 

We first teach our pups to target our hand with their nose, than we teach the dogs to target objects like their toys, leashes and even other dogs. They will understand when they hit the target with their nose they will get rewarded for it. They start to associate things that may have at one time made them shy away or made them "reactive" towards it with something positive and therefor their behaviors will start changing to more of a positive behavior that is very manageable and more tolerable.

Below we are going to show you the basics to the touch command. After your pup picks up the idea of the command then the sky is the limit C:

First you will need to start out with a hungry pup. Try to teach this exercise before meals and with as little distraction as possible. If you  have more then one dog, put the other pup away some place that he/she can not disrupt this training session.

Hungry pup - CHECK!

Next you will need a treat bag ( we get our from Valley Dog ), you will also need a clicker and a food roll. (also available at Valley Dog) We like to use the food rolls because they are a high value treat that can be cut up into small pieces (shown below) and stored for later training sessions. You want to pick a treat that is soft so your pups can eat it fast and still stay focused on the task at hand. You also want the treats to be higher value then their every day dog food.
Food Roll, Clicker & Treat Bag - CHECK
Cut up treats! - CHECK

Once you have your treats cut up and your pup in a nice calm setting (put him/her on a leash if they tend to take off). You are ready to start.

Get yourself set up first. Place the treat bag where the treats will be easy for you to grab & place the clicker in your hand you use most. Take a piece of treat and put it between your fingers of the hand with OUT the clicker



Once you get that in a comfortable position, show your pup the treat. Don't say a word at this point, just show them the treat. As SOON as your pups nose or mouth touches your hand CLICK. Take the treat OUT of that hand and feed it to your pup with the clicker hand. Do this about 5 - 6 times.

Again:
Place treat between finger of hand with OUT clicker, show your pup the treat, as SOON as you feel your pups nose or mouth CLICK, switch the treat to your other hand and give it to your pup....

Note:
Make sure your pup comes to you and you don't shove your hand in your pups face. Also start off close to your pup so you set him up for success.


as soon as he touches your hand CLICK

take the treat with the other hand & feed the treat to your pup
Now that you have done that several times and your pup is going toward your hand as you drop it by your side. The next step is to remove the treat from your hand, hold your hand down, say "TOUCH" and wait till your pup touches your hand with his nose. When he does, IMMEDIATELY click and then offer him the treat.

Offer hand with out treat and say TOUCH to your pup!

Do this a few times. Start moving your hand in different areas, but keep it close to you when 1st learning this exercise. If your pup is doing really well end it on a great note and try it again later on. Try to keep the training sessions short at 1st and try to end them when you pup is still interested in learning.


As your pup get's better and better. Start giving him more of a challenge. Start raising your hand higher, over to the side, behind you, put your pup at a sit from across the room and say TOUCH and watch him come FLYING into your hand! 



When your pup understands the touch you can start adding more challenges to this exercise.
And remember HAVE FUN!!!!

Check out this Video of Johnny Royal doing his touch exercise and how we use it to also work on his "heel".. or "get to my side"  - CLICK HERE

** If you are doing this with a deaf dog, obviously you will not be using the clicker or your voice. Instead you can use a small key chain flash light as the "marker", flash the light at your dog when you feel his/her nose hit your hand and then follow the rest of the steps above :)





14 comments:

  1. I'm so glad you wrote this post! I've been trying to teach my pit bull, Hurley, "touch" for months now. He just sits there and stares at me like, "Ha! No. I will not touch. What a ridiculous trick. Where's my treat? I can smell it." I never thought to put the treat between my fingers. That seems so obvious.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right now you’re probably reading this message because you’re desperate to finally learn how to not only train your dog quickly and effectively, but you also don’t want to have to spend a huge chunk of cash on professional dog trainers or read yet another dog training book that doesn’t get you results.

      Don’t worry, you’re NOT alone in your frustration!

      Find out here: How To Teach A Dog?

      Best rgs

      Delete
  2. When you progress to touching objects, do you just use the object's name? Like "touch leash"? Just wondering how you make the progression from your hand to objects. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great tutorial -- and he is *so darn cute*. :D

    ReplyDelete
  4. The "touch" has been my saving grace with my Manchester Terrier when HE decides he doesn't want to be 'caught'. I use it sparingly though.

    ReplyDelete
  5. What would you recommend for a dog that is terrified of clickers? I did training classes with my Yorkie and they did the whole click-and-treat approach, and he was petrified of the click. I haven't been able to identify another novel sound such as the clicker to use for training. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can always just use a marker word, such as "Yes!".

      Delete
  6. I have a dog that is skittish of loud noises & at 1st, a clicker was no exception. The 1st couple of times, I wrapped the clicker in a cloth to muffle the sound until she got the idea. The setting was in my own house & not group training though.

    ReplyDelete
  7. My dog hates the sound of the clicker, so I just use the same command words over and over. Sometimes I get tired of hearing my own voice, but I'm really glad my dog responds well to the repetition lol. "Touch" games really come in handy when we can't do other games (like when it rains). Great Post :-D

    ReplyDelete
  8. If you have pups that are a bit nervous when it comes to the sound of the clicker you can try a different clicker like "Karen Pryor Clickers" they have a softer sounds. The box clickers tend to be a bit louder.

    Also use a higher value treat, like small pieces of liver.
    Click and quickly toss a treat, immediately click and toss another treat. your speed may have to pick up in the beginning so the dog focuses where the treat is and not the sound of the clicker. A busy dog cant "get into trouble" or in other words have time to focus on something other then the food.. like the clicker. Make sure the clicker is behind your back as well.

    C:

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is very helpful. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Great post - this is exactly how we have been teaching our dogs 'touch' and it works fabulous. This is such a great cue for many different scenarios. Glad I found your blog through Your Pit Bull and You. Keep up the awesome work.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Right now you’re probably reading this message because you’re desperate to finally learn how to not only train your dog quickly and effectively, but you also don’t want to have to spend a huge chunk of cash on professional dog trainers or read yet another dog training book that doesn’t get you results.

    Don’t worry, you’re NOT alone in your frustration!

    Find out here: How To Teach A Dog?

    Best rgs

    ReplyDelete