Trainers who compete in obedience competitions consider hand targets, as well as targeting in general, a foundational skill. It's one of the first things they teach their dogs. Similarly, agility competitors also teach their pups hand targets early on in their training programs.

Yet, it's a skill that's hardly ever mentioned in a basic or even intermediate dog training class.

While it's never safe to assume that what makes sense for a dog that competes in formal competitions necessarily makes sense for a family pet, it's worth pausing and asking: Why aren't hand targets more widely taught?

The simple answer we could come up with is because most people don't realize how valuable they are, and considering how easy they are to learn, teaching them is a no-brainer.

Obedience competitors like hand targets because they're an easy way to get your pup into very precise positions. Agility competitors appreciate that too, but they also like how hand targets keep a dog's arousal high which is useful when racing around an agility course.

We think you'll like hand targets because they're a great way to lure your pup that doesn't require treats. Plus, they're an easy thing for your dog to do when you need to get her attention or just need an easy win.

If that sounds good to you, then you'll want to check out this Hand Targets course.

Let's get started!

What your dog will learn

  • A hand cue that means "touch your nose to my palm"
  • How to jump to reach a hand target
  • How to run to touch a hand target from a distance

What you will learn

  • A process for teaching your dog to touch targets with his nose
  • Why Harper prefers not to use a verbal cue for hand targets
  • How to use hand targets with your recall, as a rainy day indoor exercise game, and for silently getting your pup's attention