Dog Agility – Training your Dog to Nose Touch a Target

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 26,866
    Karen VanHoy, owner and trainer at Paws @ Play, teaches you how to train your dog to touch a target with its nose.

    Karen VanHoy: Hi! I am Karen VanHoy and I am Captain of the Santa Barbara Flyers. Today we are going to talk about dog agility and this is a touch -- having your dog do a nose touch to a target, and let's get started.

    So what you will need is a clicker, lots of little treats that do not crumble and you will lot -- some kind of a small plate, you can use it out of a yogurt container, a butter top or cottage cheese, this is what the dog is going to be touching.

    Now you will notice, I am going to take her off of our leash and I am going to use this, I am not going to give it a name right now. For the beginning dogs, I am probably going to kneel down and she is going to accidentally, probably touch this target. I want to make sure I have my clicker and my food ready. Sit. Good girl. When the nose touches the target, you give her food. Sit. You will notice I am not saying any word to it right now. Good girl. She knows where the food came from because she hears the click. Sit. Zing sit. Good girl.

    Now you can start to put the name to the target, which is more than likely you just the touch. Zing sit. Sit, wait, touch. Good girl. Good girl. Now that she has that, you are going to repeat that many-many times before for the dog has it, on both sides of your hand. Zing sit. Wait. Now I am going to place it on the ground, not very far away for a small dog. I might still kneel and I am going to say touch. Good girl. Good girl. She is touching it again. Your dog may or may not do this.

    Okay, so now what we are going to do is, we are going to simulate a little bit of an obstacle which is called the touch board. Not a choke chain and not a prong collar but a flat buckle collar, I can slip my hand under here. I want to have her stand on here, put two feet on and two feet off. I put the target down here. New dogs you need to put your hand underneath their little tummy here because rear end will go off. So she is going to look at the target. Good girl. Good girl. So I am going to stand up take my hand out, her release word, okay.

    You will notice that I am getting her all raised up, but I have got my hand in her collar. Ready because I want her to be pulling forward. Ready, okay, go touch. Good girl. Good girl. Touch. Try to get them with their nose still down. That's why you don't have to necessarily place the cookie in their mouth, you can drop it.

    Okay, well, this is the segment where we use the whole piece of the equipment, which is right now what I am using is the dog walk. So we back chained on the touch board, first we started on the ground then we went on the touch board. Now we actually have a real piece of equipment. Now I am going to back chain the whole way on this, you would do it on both sides, you still have a clicker, you still have treats and I still have the touch plate on the ground.

    So a quick little review would be to put your dog's feet up, then when you say touch, they have to touch that touch plate. Touch, good. The click goes and there we go. Release them off, okay.

    After you have done that a few times on both sides, again you are going to barely have their feet off of the end where they have to take a step and get to the under the touch plate. Ready, okay touch. Good girl. Good girl. Okay, come. So this is called back-chaining.

    Now I would want to take my dog, have them hop-up. Now there a little bit further up here. Okay, touch. Yes. Good girl. Good girl.

    Okay, so now after you have done that, many-many times, back-chaining each little piece. If you don't have this success from back here. Again, you want to finish on a good note. Bring the dog up. Don't work too long. And on a good note, that your dog has done it on both sides.

    Okay, so the next segment here is going to be teaching your dog, play drive with a toy or with a toy that is a food bag also.