The nose target, also called the hand target, is a useful and relevant trick for all dogs to know and a good tool to have for learning a lot of exercises. The trick is very simple to teach, since we simply want to teach the dog to touch the palm of our hand with their nose.
Most dogs learn the exercise quickly, but it requires patience on the part of the owner, just like anything else, when learning new things.
Learn how you can teach your dog a nose target further down in the post
Once you have taught your dog the nose target, it's only the imagination that sets the limits of what else you can teach the dog. The exercise can be used as an helpful tool in connection with learning several tricks. Among other things, you can use it to teach the dog to twist around itself, to walk around you and to weave between your legs. There are so many possibilities.
The nose target / hand target can also be used to train recalls. When the dog has a really strong nose target, you can start sticking a flat hand down when you call the dog, which it then has to go and touch. This way you also make sure that the dog comes ALL the way to you when you call on it.
If you likes to get nerdy with heel work, the hand target can also be a good tool for specifying how the dog should place its head in the position.
Do you want to teach the dog more tricks?
The nose target / hand target can also be transferred to other objects instead of the hand. It may be that you want to teach the dog to close drawers and doors or turn off the light? Or maybe you want to teach the dog to give you a kiss on the cheek? You can do this by teaching the dog to touch a post-it note in exactly the same way as you teach the dog to touch the hand with its nose. You can now place this post-it note elsewhere - for example on your cheek, or on the drawer you would like to teach the dog to close.
But how do you learn a the nose target?
You can teach your dog a this using these steps.
Step 1: Have the dog free in front of you. Start by presenting the nose target to the dog by holding a flat hand down in the dog's head height
Step 2: Wait for the dog to orient himself towards the hand. Here you need to be good and quick to mark just as soon as the dog shows a bit of interest in the hand. We would rather have the dog touch the hand, but if the dog is just looking at the hand to begin with, you should reward it. Remove the hand when rewarding the dog.
Step 3: Present the hand again and reward the dog when it again shows interest in the hand, and repeat this a few times.
Step 4: Once the dog has started to touch the hand more securely, you can set higher criteria for the dog by starting to hold the hand further away from the dog and in different directions. Also feel free to change the target hand so that it can touch on both hands.
Step 5: Continue the training until the dog is very confident in his touch and now start using the nose target as a tool to other exercises.
When working with new exercises where the dog has to take a lot of initiative and invite a lot of behavior, you have to train in short sessions. It can be mentally hard for the dog to use so much energy to offer behavior. Always remember to end the training successfully, so that the exercise and training is also fun next time.