The Magic Hand Game For Focus And Concentration

The Magic Hand game involves placing food in the palm of your hand and gently pushing individual treats through your fingers for your dog to catch.  

    1. Focus and concentration win the day! The more your dog develops the ability to focus and concentrate, the more likely she will succeed in learning tasks involving moving with you.
    2. Being close to you is the best place to be! Being in close proximity to you is a high-value location (or at least it should be)! Once your dog has associated that being at your side is a location with benefits, it follows that loose-leash walking, recall, and off-leash reliability will be that much easier to teach.
    3. The Magic Hand game encourages the dog to place his focus upwards and to follow your hand in anticipation of what comes next.
    4. The game teaches your dog the concept of moving with you. Done correctly, it pays for the dog to take a step forward when you step forward, left, right or even backward!

    The Magic Hand game can be especially beneficial for dogs that struggle with confidence and focus.

    If you prefer to watch and learn, please take a look at our most recent (and free of charge) DVD in which we demonstrate this game, and others, that can help with off-leash reliability with your dog here.

    The Rules of The Game:

    Step 1: Begin without your dog. Hold a small handful of food (must be a non-sticky type) and practice allowing one to two pieces to dribble through your fingers with control as if being doled out to your waiting dog’s mouth.

    If you can do this well without a dog then try it on the other side as most handlers find one side easier than the other. It's important that you can perform this exercise on both sides of your body.

    Step 2: Start with the dog on a lead, at your side with the dog positioned under your hand and let a bit of the food dribble down. Don't worry if your dog doesn’t try to catch them just yet. He will soon figure out where the magic is coming from!

    As he catches on, watch for his head lifting in anticipation. At that point let the food drop.

    Step 3: By this step, your dog should now be actively trying to catch the food in mid-air and orienting upwards towards your hand.

    Step 4: Begin to make minor adjustments with your body with your hand in the same position and watch to see if your dog follows.  Keep your movements subtle and slow. These subtle adjustments are the foundation steps for success and they are FUNdamental!

    Step 5: Take this show on the road. Try the game in one new place per day, standing still. Once you are certain you have established focus, only then add subtle movement.

We are certain that you will find many more uses for the Magic Hand game. Remember, always keep it fun!



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Positively Expert: absoluteDogs

Tom is a veterinarian, clinical behaviourist and companion and sports dog trainer, providing a unique perspective on all things dog.


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