canine foundations

week 2 homework

Hand Target

A hand target cue for your dog can be a valuable tool: you can use it in greetings with strangers; it can become part of your Recall (eventually); it can help to maneuver your dog away from triggers or distractions; and it’s simply a fun, easy behavior that builds both your dog’s confidence and yours!

Step One (with a lure) - last week

Step Two (without a lure) - last week

Step Three (adding the verbal cue)

  • When your dog is easily and consistently (8 out of 10 times) reaching forward to touch your hand (physical cue) with their nose when it’s offered, you’re ready to add a verbal cue to the behavior!

  • Say your dog’s name.

  • Once you have your dog’s attention, say the verbal cue you’ve chosen: Touch, Here, Hand, Target, Umbrella, it can be anything!

  • Pause for a second, then offer your hand to your dog as you have in Steps One and Two and close to your dog's nose, so it's easy to be successful.

  • Click/treat the moment your dog touches your hand with their nose.

  • Keep practicing with your dog with both hands and in various positions and distances!

Hand Target - Adding Verbal Cue


We did some work with the Sit behavior in class - a behavior that's super useful and helpful for us to see in a variety of situations instead of other mischief!

If at any point, your dog doesn't offer the behavior or seems not to understand what you're asking for, avoid repeating your verbal cue and, instead, offer your physical cue or lure as hints to remind them what you'd like them to do!

Step One: Lure the Sit

  • Put a treat in your closed hand and place it right in front of your dog’s nose.

  • Slowly rock your hand back up and over your dog’s head, tipping their head back. As the head goes up and back, the butt usually goes down into the Sit.

  • Click/treat when the butt touches the floor; release your dog by moving to a new spot; and try again! (Keep in mind that, if your dog's butt doesn't touch the floor, you can start by clicking and treating for the things on the way to that seated position).

Sit - With Lure

Step Two: Transition to the physical cue (after 8-10 times successfully luring your dog with a treat in your hand)

  • With an empty hand this time, move your hand up and back over your dog's head (much like you did when luring the behavior).

  • Generally, your dog will follow this hand motion because it's really similar to the luring you were just doing. Click/treat when the butt touches the floor.

  • Move to a new spot and try again!

Sit - With Physical Cue

Step Three: Add the verbal cue (wait to use your verbal cue until you no longer need a treat to prompt the behavior)

  • Say your verbal cue (usually it's Sit in the case, but you can use whatever you'd like).

  • Pause for a small second, then give your physical cue (if you have time).

  • Click/treat when your dog's butt touches the floor.

  • Move to a new spot and try again!

Sit - With Verbal Cue

Recall (Coming When Called)
A strong and reliable Recall is a very important skill to teach your dog; when teaching and practicing a Recall cue with your dog, there are a few rules or guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Always use a happy, enthusiastic, fun tone of voice when calling - even when you’re mad and late for work or your dog has run into the road!

  • Throw a HUGE party every time your dog comes to you – let your dog know they’re the best dog in the whole world just for coming when called. This means we give one, two, maybe three treats; we give all the pets, all the praise; use the baby voice if that’s what your dog is into; chest scratches, ear scratches, belly rubs – your dog has earned it all!

  • Make hooking a finger under your dog’s collar or harness part of the party; this helps your dog see it as a totally normal thing that’s comfortable and just part of the party – instead of something to shy away from.

  • As with other behaviors we've been working on, start out in a very low-distraction environment (like your living room); this sets your dog up for success, which will strengthen the cue and the behavior!


With those rules/guidelines in mind, let’s begin working! The Recall cue can be divided up into a few bite-sized exercises that help put the whole behavior into easy pieces for you and your dog.


Step One: Name Game - last week


Step Two: Adding Distance to the Name Game

  • Say your dog’s name (1 time).

  • When your dog looks at you, click and, instead of just handing them the treat, your dog needs to come all the way to you for the reward. You may even take a few steps backward to encourage your dog to come to you to get the reward.

  • When your dog gets to you, throw your dog a little party, so your dog learns that racing to you gets lots of good stuff (good treats and several of them, pets, baby voice, a toy, ear scratches, belly rubs, etc.).

Name Game - With Distance

Recall Games
Recall games are designed to work on your skills being fun and exciting and interesting and, therefore, more attractive to your dog than other things in their environment!


Room Dash

  • Choose a safe spot to practice - between two rooms, two spots in the yard, etc. - where there won't be distractions (other people or other dogs or critters around).

  • Distract your dog by placing some food in one of the rooms or in one spot of the yard.

  • As they're eating the food, dash to the other room or around the corner of the house or yard and call your dog to you with your Recall cue. Make yourself scarce, but desirable by making fun noises and being something to chase! We're looking for your dog to hunt you down and actively start searching for you!

  • Throw a fun party when your dog gets to you - treats, food, toys, petting, praise, whatever your dog likes! (Make the party an experience; don't just hand the food over to your dog!)

Recall Games - Room Dash

Proximity Game

  • We're teaching your dog (or reminding them) that there is benefit in following us and hanging around us (being in our proximity)! The zone or bubble around you - about the length of your arm - is a great place to be!

  • Essentially, give treats for being next to you, in front of you, behind you, around you - anywhere within arm's reach.

  • You don't have to feed at every opportunity, but keep it fun - add a spin or moving through your legs, etc. and make it a fun experience to receive food near you!

  • Don't worry about if your dog disengages and moves away - you will have the opportunity to reward them for coming back and choosing you over everything else! Looking for a dog that wants to hang out with you and that you find it difficult to get away from!

Recall Games - Proximity Game


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