First start by getting your dog comfortable with having their attention focused on you. To do this, hold open your hand at your companions nose level with palm facing them...
When they sniff or lick your hand and contact is made with skin, signal a click for positive reinforcement and give them a treat from your other hand.
Make sure their nose touches your skin and click the instant contact is made.
When your dog does the initial first sniff, they are instinctively saying to you "What is this?"
This is just their attempt to satisfy their own natural curiosity. Be sure you’re ready to catch that first curious sniff with a click and treat!
This exercise is training your dog to focus his attention on your hand and associating it as a source for reward. How you move forward with rewarding your dog after working with them on this simple exercise can either lead to very good behaviors to develop or very bad...
Clicking too soon can teach them to stop before they touch you allowing there attention to break.
Clicking too late, will teach them that moving their nose away from you is the way to earn a treat.
If your dog doesn’t sniff your target hand, make your hand more enticing by rubbing a small trace of food like the moister of sandwich meat or hot dog.
If after a few repetitions and your dog begins to ignore your hand going directly to the source of the treat. Take a few steps back and hide your treat hand behind your back. Then offer him the target hand and wait till he responds. Be ready for the Click and Treat when contact is made!
REPEAT these steps until they deliberately bump your hand with their nose and have them focused.
From there you are now able to hold their attention and your relationship opens for communicating more complex tricks and training.
Target training is a useful tool that it can not only be applied to your hand but also other locations and objects.
Target spaces and objects can be used to keep your dog both cal and focused in the perfect state for training lessons.
Congratulations!!! Your pup has now learned an important skill that will assist them in their journey to becoming a more intelligent and better behaved companion.