Hand Touch Training Challenge - Part 2
with Melissa Dallier of ACanineAffinity, Training Advocate

Hey everyone! Hope you had a fun time last week working on the first 5 steps of this challenge. Now that your dog knows the basics we can start working to make things a bit more challenging! These next steps can be worked on in order or you can choose which appeals to you most first, but I would recommend working on them all as this will help proof the behavior in various settings and environments.


Step 6 - Increasing distractions:


When I increase distractions for any behavior, I like to control the distractions so that I can track what was most vs least distracting for my dog. This helps me to know what we need to work on most. Starting outside in a park on a Saturday afternoon is likely introducing too many unpredictable variables and may be setting your dog up for failure. Below are some ways to increase the distraction levels while helping your dog still succeed with the Hand Touch behavior.


Turn on the TV

Open a Window

Practice when family is home going about their business

Practice in the front yard (on leash if needed)

Practice when your dog isn't expecting it

Practice in a park when fairly quiet

Practice in a park when busy

Practice in a pet store



Remember we need to add distractions SLOWLY - if your dog isn't responding, you are asking too much. Go back and reduce distraction! Increasing value of the reward may help your dog focus as well.


Step 7: Turning Touch into Recall


I use "Touch" as a recall cue for many of the dogs I work with. Many people accidentally poison their "come" cue and therefore their dogs don't respond as well as they would like. Replacing the cue with a new one can be a nice way to reset the expectations.


Here are a few ideas


Add Distance/Distraction



Treat Toss Recall: In a safe environment or with your dog on leash. toss a treat, wait for your dog to eat the treat and immediately ask for a "Touch" - Be ready to heavily reward your dog if/when they respond.


2 Person "Touch" : with 2 people, practice asking for "touch" at different distances to encourage your dog to go from person to person. Mark/Click as soon as your dog moves in your direction and again when the "Touch" is complete. This tells your dog they are on the right track moving towards you but you still want the "Hand Touch" to earn the reward!

___ If your dog has a hard time leaving one person, have that person turn away from the dog slightly to help indicate they are no longer the person rewarding the dog.


Step 8 : Walking Touch U Turn: While on a walk, occasionally ask your dog for a "Touch" to encourage a 180 turn in the opposite direction- This one can be tough as you are changing the dynamic of the behavior with both you and your dog moving together, so be patient! Try not to use the leash to pull your dog and if needed lure at first to help your dog understand what you want.


Happy Training!