Dog training the touch command

touch command

The touch command is probably one of the most underutilized training tools available to us as trainers and owners.

Its benefits are gaining our dogs attention and having your dog focus to a target, which will come into play during obedience training for the heel command.

You could consider it as a “sub-command” blended into any other routine when your dog needs to be focused on us, particularly in distracting environments.

It’s easy to teach to any dog, since they generally enjoy doing it anyway, but solidifying it makes it a valuable reinforcement training technique.


  • We need the dog to focus on a hand without the treat in it. We still reward with a tasty treat and praise for proper performance, but the treat arrives from our other hand and not the target touch hand. This simply ensures the dog knows the target, not the reward hand as it’s not used as a lure.

  • Hold you target hand about 5 inches from your dog’s nose and say the touch command.

  • When the dog responds correctly to the command, reward and praise. Repeat several times, and slowly increase the distance away from the nose, rewarding and praising for each correct execution.

  • When the dog responds reliably to the "touch" command incorporate it with a small walk around the room.

  • You’ll find that during the indoor small walks, your dog will generally walk by your side in anticipation of the command. This is exactly how we later keep the dog in position when obedience training the heel command. :)

Below are two videos. The first is training the "touch" command, and the second will show you how it’s use can help in the heel command.

Best wishes from dog care basics

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