This task is usually performed by a Mobility service dog . You can teach this to your dog to enhance communication and to get him mentally stimulated. Is a very fun trick to teach !
1. Clicker conditioning
Is very important to pair your the treats with the sound of the clicker. In that way your dog knows he is doing good and you can mark the right movements. Is easier for the dog to understand complex behaviors if you pair it and use it the right way
– Take your dog to a place with no distractions. Start walking backwards, once your dog starts moving towards you click one time and give him a treat. Is very important that you click only one time and then reward. You can also use the clicker as a continuation marker as i am doing in the video.
– Do this 4-5 times and end the session . Work on this 2-3 times a day
– After 2 or 3 sessions make him do a trick that he knows already. When he does it click and reward . You can switch on movements, tricks , lure your dog with food anywhere you want . The sky is the limit . We want him to get used to offering different behaviors.
-Once you have done this exercise for a few days and it’s clear your dog knows the clicker and absolutely loves it you can start working on touch
2. The ‘TOUCH’ command
You will need to print a target for this exercise. It should be a circle that is a little bigger than your dogs nose. It can be black, blue or yellow. We like to use colors that dogs can identify.
-Start by throwing the target on the floor . Once your dog gets curious and puts his nose in the target click and reward .
-use your feet to move the target or pick it up and throw it again . Once he touches it again click and reward . Do a few sessions . Reward constantly and then move the target to different places . You can place it on your hand or on your leg .
3. Generalizing Touch
– This is a very important step because this is what usually takes more time and humans get frustrated with. You want the dog to do it in different areas of the house with different distractions and paste the target in a lot of places. If he doesn’t get it go back to the last step and keep him motivated. Once your dog is repeatedly touching the target you can start adding the word ‘touch’. Don’t click when your dog mouths the target only when he touches it.
4. Working with the light switch
Cut a hole in the middle of the target so that the light switch sticks out . Place it in your hand and hold it. Say touch and then wait for the dog to put his nose on the target . Click and reward. Repeat this exercise. Do short sessions . End on a good note and practice this for a few days . Once he touches the light switch hard enough that he “turns it” throw a handful of treats on the floor and end the session. This is called a “jack pot” and will leave your dog wanting more and possibly trying that approach on the next session. Once he is doing this you can cut the target shorter and fade away from it
4. Generalizing ‘LIGHT SWITCH’
-When your dog is turning the light switch on and of low to the ground you can start adding the word ‘turn’ or the phrase that you want . As long as he is doing it repeatedly and consistently.
– Now is time for the last step . Move your light switch to the wall and try it there. Once he is having some success move the light switch slowly up until it reaches the regular height