Phase 1: Using targets for stopped contacts
I mention on the criteria page that I don’t use a nose touch as part of my direct 2o2o training, but many people do and I am going to recommend that you do because a nose touch is a simple way to address other more complex training issues that can be difficult to resolve.
I also mentioned that I do use a Foot Touch as part of the run really fast and stop behavior and I use it to help reinforce driving into the 2o2o and holding orientation without turning to the side off the contact.
Even though both of these behaviors are optional (in that you do not need them for the actual 2o2o behavior itself) and whether you use them or not for contact training, they are good behaviors to incorporate into play and have other benefits.
The main problem with using a nose touch to build your 2o2o is in making sure your dog actually touches the target (its hard to see sometimes, especially in dirt and grass) and if your dog is rewarded for nearly touching, then what they are being rewarded for is just moving around in their 2o2o position.
The process of teaching a foot touch is virtually the same as teaching a nose touch. In fact sometimes you get it by accident!
The most important thing to know, is that the nose touch and foot touch need to be taught away from the equipment and before you get to phase 2.
Step 1: Teach a Nose Touch
Teaching a basic nose touch to your hand and then to a nose touch object (target plate) of some sort. This is a fun and simple behavior that is very useful in agility and real life (see the training tips section of my website for the top 10 uses of a nose touch). See the video at the bottom of this page for problem solving tips.
Step 2: Teach a Foot Touch
The process of teaching a foot touch is virtually the same as teaching a nose touch. In fact sometimes you get it by accident! This video shows the process from the perspective of the foot touch.
Nose Touch Problem Solving
In this video, I try to illustrate some of the common training mistakes that can come up, what to watch out for, the implications for competition and what you can do about them.