A hand target or a "Touch" cue is when your dog touches their nose to your open outheld hand. This move is a fantastic way to direct and move your dog around without having to manhandle them and also acts as a great precursor for a recall and walking to heel - all very useful skills!
To begin, hold out your open hand, and as soon as your dog's nose touches it, mark the behaviour with your marker word or a clicker and reinforce (give them a little bit of something tasty).
When they get the knack of it, you can start using it from a distance to turn it into a recall. Gradually increasing the distance between you, hold out your hand and wait for them to come to you and touch your palm with their nose.
Holding your open hand by your side or hip, this is a great way to get your dog into position for walking to heel, as you guide them round to standing or sitting beside you with their focus on you. Once they're by your side, you can use your hand target or "Touch" to keep them there. By walking with your hand open and following your palm with their nose, they will walk snugly by your side.
It can also come in handy to move your dog without having to drag or pull them around. For example, holding your hand above the scales at the vets, your dog will hop on and off in pursuit of your palm!
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