The ‘touch’ cue is easy to teach and it is a great tool to learn the clicker training method. It is also very useful for future training. Learning this cue teaches the trainer the timing of the click and teaches the dog the clicker game. The idea is to get the dog to touch the palm of your hand with its nose.
- Prepare in advance a clicker and some highly reinforcing treats.
- Hold the treats and the clicker in one hand – leaving your other hand free.
- Hold the free hand in front of your dog’s nose with the palm turned towards him/her. The dog is likely to sniff the hand and touch it with its nose – click and treat.
- Repeat numerous times until the dog does it willingly and deliberately.
- When the dog does it well, start saying the word ‘touch’ just as the dog is going to touch the hand. Click and treat right after.
- Gradually, say the word ‘touch’ earlier in the process until you actually say the cue before the dog moves his/her head.
- When your dog is doing this exercise well, start putting your hand in different locations: the sides of the head, on top, at the bottom, etc. Gradually, increase the distance between your hand and the dog, getting him to move a little to touch it.