Training your Dog with the Magical Connection of your Hand-touch

By Beverley Courtney

Holding hands is our way of showing affection to our loved ones. Our hands should always build trust – you never want to see a child or a pet flinching away from a hand!

I’d like to show you a quick and easy way to instil confidence in your dog – while getting her to fit in with what you want!

It’s the Hand-touch.

And you can use it to ask your dog’s permission to handle her, to put on her harness, to fall in beside you when you’re walking, to teach her tricks, to bring you the thing she’s carrying – once you have the hand-touch in your toolbox you’ll find ever more uses for it!

How to teach it? Oh, so easy!

  • Have a supply of small but tasty treats. Cheese or hot dogs [cut into pea-sized pieces] are always popular. 
  • Place a treat in the palm of your hand and hold it out to your dog at her nose-level to eat. 
  • Repeat a few times till she’s keen to engage in this hand-feeding game.
  • Now, with the same rhythm you’ve just built up over several repetitions, offer her your hand without a treat in it.
  • She’ll smoosh her nose into your hand, look surprised to find nothing, then you instantly give her the treat with your other hand. 
  • No need to say anything much, except the odd “good girl,” or “yay!”
  • Repeat several times, until she’s pressing her nose to the palm of your hand, and even holding it there for a moment, before you give the treat.
  • Keep this light, quick, and FUN!
  • Once you’ve done a few sessions to consolidate the learning, you can move your hand slowly as your dog touches her nose to it – now you can have her follow your hand!

So how could you use this new hand-touch?

  • Loop your harness over your wrist, offer your hand, and while she’s touching your palm, you can drop the harness over her head.
  • Have her follow your hand to get through a narrow gap without tripping you over, or to guide her away from a clamouring child or a glaring dog when you’re out. 
  • Make contact for reassurance – like sports teamies do, whether they’ve won or lost the point. 
  • Ask for a hand-touch to give you permission to start grooming your dog, or checking her feet. If she doesn’t want it done, she’ll turn away from your hand. Time for you to find out how to make grooming more of a two-way thing, and comfortable!
  • Teach the Stand and the Down – just by getting your dog to follow your hand with her nose. 

Now, what can you come up with?

Authored By: Beverley Courtney
You can find Beverley Courtney at www.brilliantfamilydog.com. Specialising in puppies and Growly Dogs (reactive, aggressive, anxious, dogs), she is passionate about changing the way people interact with their pets. Beverley has written 9 dog-friendly how-to books and has online programs for teaching and coaching you to fast transformations in your life with your dog.

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