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Touch Command for Dogs

Shaggy brown and white dog sitting between the legs of a person with it's paw in the person's hand

Dog commands are one of the most important things for dog training because they provide a mode of communication. Different commands can be used for fulfilling different purposes. However, the touch command for dogs can make a huge difference in the life of any canine. This is because it can help control several obnoxious feelings, like fear and excitement.

Why Do We Use Touch Command for Dogs?

According to Preventive Vet, the following are some reasons why you may use the touch command to train your dog.

Prevent Dog from Pulling On Leash –The touch command allows you to control the leash pulling behavior of your pup. It can also be helpful to bring your dog into the heel position if he/she started to pull.

Prevent Dog from Jumping Up on People –Providing training of touch to your dog teaches him/her appropriate behavior while greeting your guests. It’s quite common for dogs to get over-excited or nervous while meeting new people.

Alternate of “Come” Command – This command is the most suitable alternative if your dog is having a difficulty in learning the ‘come’ command.

Putting on Harnesses – Many dogs don’t like to wear harnesses, and it can be quite a problem for the owners. The touch command is an effective solution for this situation because it makes it easier to put a harness on your pup.

Teach Your Dog the Touch Command

long haired mix colored dog laying in grass with one ear pointed up

Once we know that the touch command for dogs has numerous benefits, it’s time to learn how it’s done. That Mutt discusses how you can teach this amazing command to your canine companion. Read on to learn about all the steps of the touch command.

Resist your hand and Say Touch

Hold a treat between your fingers to attract your dog’s attention. Now, make your dog sit or stand in front of you by moving the treat. Then, hold out your hand and say “touch.” This act will naturally instigate your dog to put his/her nose towards your hand.

Reward the Dog with Treats

Close up of brown dog with brown eyes receiving a heart shaped treat

Always reward your dog with a treat whenever he/she touches your hand but don’t let him/her take the treat. Instead, feed him/her a treat with your other hand. This way your dog will learn to touch your hand and then wait for a treat. This is because the ultimate goal of this training is to touch your hand, not the treat.

Change Your Hand’s Position

When your dog is quickly touching your hand at a single spot, change the position of your hand and say “touch”. If your pooch obeys your command, reward him/her with a treat (from the other hand).

Use Only a Word “Touch”

Woman holding hand, palm toward the dog, to the nose of a Shiba Inu

Generally, dogs take 2 or 3 repetitions to figure out that he/she needs to touch the nose to your hand to get a treat. After that, hold out your hand without a treat and say “touch”. If the dog responds well to it, provide him/her with a treat from your other hand.

Use an Object to Teach a “Touch”

In this step, you will instruct the dog to touch his/her nose to an object, such as a book. Starting with an open hand and holding out a book or another object, choose a spot. You can post some notes on an object to make your dog understand where he/she needs to touch. Say the command and provide him/her with a treat on successful completion.

You can also extend this concept to teach the ‘go touch’ command. For this purpose, you will change the position of the object (or increase the distance) and say “go touch”. If your furry friend completes the task, give him/her a treat.

Introduce different objects to your dog as this will make him/her perform more complex tasks, like ringing a bell or greeting the visitors.     

3 Different Trainings with the Touch Command

Man holding hand out to German Shepherd in kitchen setting.

AKC suggests that the touch command can be used for several different purposes. Some of the most popular of these trainings are discussed below.

Trick Training

You can teach a plethora of tricks to your dog with the touch command. For example, humble spin is a cool trick that can be conveniently taught to a pooch. In this trick, you will simply move your hand in a circle corresponding to the ground and ask your dog to touch it.

Similarly, you can use a target object to train your dog to perform many actions. For instance, you can teach your dog to flip a light switch or close a door. When your pup gets used to any of these tricks, the owner can perform the trick by using a verbal or hand signal. This type of touch training is much needed in dog sports, especially for agility and similar games.

Obedience Training

Variety if dogs with their owners, outdoors in a training session.

You can teach your dog to be obedient by using the touch command while he/she is sitting. In this training, your dog needs to lie down to get the target. Nose targeting can also help with good manners, which is also an important part of this training. You can also use touch commands to teach different behaviors of obedience, like ringing the bell (instead of barking).

Helping Anxious Dogs

An anxious dog might shiver at the sight of a visitor and may start crying, in extreme cases. The touch command allows you to help these canines by redirecting their attention whenever they feel uncomfortable. Just like the “Watch Me” command, nose targeting helps you to control the concentration of your pooch. If you’ve trained the touch command as a fun game, your dog will always be happy to do it.

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