Educating Fido 

Training Dogs and the People Who Love Them

A Puppy Blog

Put a Nose on It

Posted on October 21, 2012 at 2:50 AM

In an earlier blog, I showed a video of how I trained Halle to target her nose to a person’s fist as a way to say “hello” politely without jumping. Hand targeting is a very useful skill for many reasons. It helps with long-distance recalls and acts as the perfect way to say “come on over here,” for casual call-overs and short distances.

Here are some great reasons to train your dog to target your hand?


  • Use it  as a fun, interactive, distraction. Is your puppy focusing too much on the kids running down the street and not enough on you? Playing a hand targeting game can often interrupt unwanted behaviors. Since dogs enjoy moving rather than sitting still, hand targeting is a lot more interesting to a dog than a sit/stay.
  • Come to me. Puppies love to play chase and they usually like to be the one chased. They are masters at staying just far enough away that you can’t catch them. That’s what makes the game of chase so exciting (for the dog). Now that your puppy knows how to hand target, you can use that fun “touch my hand” game as a great recall tool.
  • Move it. If your puppy puts on the breaks, instead of struggling by pulling on the leash to get them to move, use hand target to move your pup from one place to another. I use hand targeting to get Halle to come inside
  • Paws Up. You can also teach your puppy to put his/her front paws on something so that you can lift them up. I taught Halle to put her front paws on the tailgate of my SUV by targeting my hand. .
  • Stay close. Wouldn’t it be great to have your puppy stay close to you in a crowd? Teach your puppy how to follow your moving hand and you can guide your puppy through the crowd like a carrot on a stick.
  • If your dog doesn’t want to get in the car you can begin by training targeting. Once your dog is touching their nose to your hand, you can move closer to the car in small increments.

 Keep training sessions short, simple and fun! Always leave 'em wanting more. Remember, if you’re not having fun, your dog probably isn’t either. So relax and enjoy the wonder and magic of communicating with your puppy. Your puppy will love you for it.

Sniff on! Train on!

Susie & Halle

Certified Professional Dog Trainer-KA #2102473

National Association of Canine Scent Work Associate Nose Work Instructor

Canine Life and Social Skills Instructor #650449

Canine Life and Social Skills Evaluator #E750153

AKC Canine Good Citizenship Evaluator #51179

TAGteach Primary Certification

Licensed "Be a Tree" Presenter”

Member of Association of Pet Dog Trainers #76263

Member of the Pet Professional Guild



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1 Comment

Reply Jude LeMoine
1:07 PM on October 21, 2012 
I'm loving these vids. Great work, Susie