Sunday 16 June 2024
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How to Train a Dog for Hand Targets?

How to Train a Dog for Hand Targets?

Hand targeting is a very useful skill for dogs. The dog greets everyone politely, closes the door behind, and tells the owner to take a potty break. Hand aiming can help boost a dog’s confidence and speed up understanding complex behaviors. Hand aiming is a great tool for teaching good core behavior, reliable recall, and manipulating the dog without pushing, pulling, or coaxing. Hand training by professional dog training services in Jacksonville can teach a pet dog more complex behaviors, such as getting in a car, getting off a couch, getting on a grooming table or scale, and over jumps.

How to train a dog for hand targets?

There are some common problems when teaching dogs to hand aim, but one can help avoid these problems. For example, some dogs have no interest in learning this skill, while others try to bite the target.

  • Simple and easy to get started

To teach good hand aiming, make the dog as obedient as possible. Check to see if the dog already had playtime or exercise that day and if they have only eaten one meal.

Keep 20-30 delicious, bite-sized, high-quality treats nearby or in the treat bag, and grab the clicker on seeing them. This amount of snacks is enough for one training session. Then, turn the palm towards the dog with the fingers pointing toward the floor. Hold hands close to the dog’s face, a few inches from the nose. When the pet reaches forward to sniff the hand, treat the dog while moving the hand away.

  • Move the hand to the aim.

If the dog does well on the previous steps, try adding exercise. Instead of giving it to the dog, start throwing the reward treats. Throw it far enough away. If the dog is fine, moving around a bit, and is purposely coming up and touching the hand, the trainer can add some exercises. Start by just standing instead of sitting. Ensure the dog can comfortably touch the hand target while the trainer is in this new body position.

  • Add verbal cues to hand targeting.

It’s a good idea to add verbal cues to the hand aim, especially if the trainer wants the dog to give it even when not facing toward the front. If the trainer is certain the dog will try to touch the hand target every time it reaches out, add verbal cues during the practice session. To teach the dog to respond quickly and consistently to new verbal cues, it is important that the pet dog hears the cues well and is given plenty of opportunities to succeed.


With experienced Dog training services in Jacksonville, dogs can benefit greatly from learning to interact with specific objects on command. Since the hands are always close when interacting with a dog, teaching this behavior can help pets fight nervousness. It helps the owners do certain things relatively easily when stuck. Hand aiming is also great if the trainer wants the dog to interact with certain objects less fearfully.