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Hand targeting is a great way to focus your dog on any task.

Hand Targeting

By Anthony De Marinis, CDBC

Hand targeting or “touch”, is a great behavior to teach for a variety of reasons. A hand target is when you present your hand and the dog bumps his or her nose against your hand. Below is a video I created on how to teach hand targeting.


Hand Targeting Can Be Used For:

  • Getting a puppy or a nervous dog comfortable with hands and human touch.
  • Building confidence around people that a dog might be uncomfortable around.
  • Redirecting a dog’s behavior.
  • Confidence building to get a dog comfortable with objects that might be scary to them. These may include a brush, tools used at the vet, nail clippers, etc.
  • Teaching a recall.
  • Low-stress handling and cooperative care.
  • Teaching more advanced behaviors.
  • Modifying behaviors.


Hand targeting is a great foundation exercise for dogs of all ages. To learn how to teach a hand target take a look at this video I created with my puppy Journey.


How to Teach Hand Targeting:

Bonus Video: Targeting an Item:

Bonus Video: Low-Stress Body Handling:

Bonus Video: Targeting Objects


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About Anthony De Marinis, CDBC, CBATI, VSPDT, TTWC, VSA-DT

Anthony De Marinis is the owner of De Marinis Dog Training & Behavior on Long Island, NY. He provides private in-home training and behavior modification solutions using positive reinforcement-based methods. He also provides video consultations remotely as he has many clients across the United States. Anthony has 6 professional certifications which include: Certified Dog Behavior Consultant from the International Association for Animal Behavior Consultants, Certified Graduate of distinction from the Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training & Behavior, Certified Behavior Adjustment Trainer, Certified Victoria Stilwell Licensed Positively Dog Trainer, The Third Way Certified Trainer and is a Fear Free Certified Animal Trainer. Currently, Anthony has a young Australian Kelpie named Journey. They are learning about agility and nose work together. You can visit Anthony’s website and learn more about him and his services at:


Anthony De Marinis specializes in working with dogs with behavior issues, specifically with aggressive behavior. He provides comprehensive in-home behavior consultations and dog training services in most of Nassau County and western Suffolk County on Long Island, NY. (Online Virtual Consultations for aggression and behavior modification are also available for clients who are local and out of state.) Anthony is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant from the International Association for Animal Behavior Consultants, Accredited Dog Trainer by the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, Licensed Family Dog Mediator (LFDM), and a Fear Free Certified Training Professional (FFCP). Anthony currently has an interest in training and behavior modification in Working & Sport bred dogs. He is also learning about and currently competing in agility and sheep herding with his own dogs. Anthony has two Australian Kelpies, Journey and Quest.

September 19, 2019