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November already?! Happy third month of Trick Club!

This month we're going back to basics with a super useful trick from the AKC Novice List: Touch It (hand or target stick)

This isn't just a fun foundation for future tricks; it's an excellent tool for building a great recall in any environment. Just reach out a hand and your poodle will come running!

Here's a basic guide to get you started: How to Teach a Dog to Touch: Target Training Dogs

And here's a good video:


Note: You may find it beneficial to use one hand as the target and the other hand to deliver the food reward.

For those of you who've already nailed this trick, tell us how you did it and then set a goal to apply it in a new way. Maybe you'd like your poodle to ring a bell? Or roll a soccer ball? Or close the door for you when you're already cozy in bed? So many possibilities....

As always, please share your progress. (We love pics and video!) And be sure to share any setbacks, too. We can all learn from each other.

If you're just finding out about Trick Club now, check out Trick Club: September and Trick Club: October. And imagine how nice it'll be to have a whole year of tricks under your belt...and your poodle's belt, too!

Happy training :)

Robin & Peggy
 

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I love this command! I've branched it off into two separate commands, touch (with a ruler) and nose boop (with a hand or object). Enzo loves to nose boop. To teach him, I just held the end of the ruler (for touch) and my hand (for nose boop) and clicked and treated when he booped it. I want to try to teach Enzo to touch or ring different things (for example, a bell for outside, a different one for play, etc) if he wants something.
 

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Galen learned it pretty easily, because I introduced it to him when he was in his land shark phase. All I had to do was dangle something - anything!- in front of him, and he would lunge at it. The harder part was persuading him not to sink his teeth in. I did that with clicker training. A touch from his nose or muzzle got a click and treat; a touch by the teeth did not. There were a few painful days where I sat there with him chewing on my hand.
 

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Oh boy. We've been really slacking this month, and I suspect December might be even worse.

But we've made some progress on my personal goal, which is actually to undo some of Peggy's "touch" training. She learned this particular command in puppy class, at about 12 weeks old, so it's solid. Maybe too solid. Lol. If she sees an outstretched hand, she's gonna boop it! Which means when someone innocently gestures while talking (or even worse, holds their hand above their head) helloooo, flying poodle!

So I've been practising raising my hand, then releasing a treat when her bum hits the floor. Eventually I want any raised hand—but especially above the head—to be an automatic cue to sit, while only an open palm at hip level or lower should mean touch.

I think this will cut down on airborne poodles.
 

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In my slacking way, we've been working on this too. They learned Touch with the potty bells and touched with nose or paw. They've generalized out pretty well but I never bothered to make a distinction for them.

That's what we've been working on, not very successfully, but we're going to keep at it.
 

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This one's really easy to incorporate during hand-feeding time and 4 trick rotation (touch, sit, down, stay). Dad (me) is still learning how to be a better furdad to teach furbaby. It's a new skillset for her and I.

Basil went from 0/5 to 3/5 from the beginning to the end of the month on this. We started off slow; I would lure her onto my bed in the evening and sometimes demonstrate touch with my nose to my palm and then pretend to eat a treat. In the last 2 days she's started to pick up where she's thinking about it when I hand feed her chicken. Her making progress gives me hope for future tricks & obedience as we both level up together.
 

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Touch is how I taught Annie to use potty bells. She was a potty bells abuser, so that ended quickly! Also how I taught spin and I use it for heeling a bit. Paw targets are how I taught her to flick off floor lights and press a talking button thingy and to cross her legs. Hmmm..... It's been a while, but it would be fun to put the Christmas tree on the floor light switch so Annie can turn them on and off.

This month we have been working at touch as a distance offleash recall thing. Everytime I decide she is too far off leash, I stop. She runs back to me, and I now require a touch to my hand with her nose before we keep walking (I grab her collar at the same time, then release, sometimes with a treat, although continuing walking is enough of a reward most of the time). The idea is for me standing still to be an implicit recall AND give me an opportunity for a collar grab.

Being Annie, she has now decided she doesn't understand the word touch in non offleash running situations. I may need to get out the clicker and work on it again!
 
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