Nose targeting is probably the most versatile foundation behavior you can teach your dog.
You can use a nose target to start teaching a dog loose leash walking, to follow you through narrow spaces, use it as a recall away from things, get him to jump up on things, the starting point of take and give and a hand-delivered retrieve, teaching directions, the start of a chin rest, a nose nudge for a medical alert, push and pull behaviors, flipping light switches, pointing, getting help, going around objects and teaching a tight heel position for use in crowded environments.
It is also the beginning of teaching your dog the concept of body targeting which is useful for awareness of where there body is in space, position your dog around you and teaching forward pressure when you walk with a mobility harness. Examples of body targeting are paw targets, shoulder targets, back end targets (pivoting, backing up), stepping into body harnesses, bum targets (to back into a wall in a tight space) and many more!
Yet, in most live basic obedience classes, it is seldom taught. If it is, the instructors don’t show you the potential uses of the behavior or why you need to keep generalizing it and how to develop it into other behaviors.
We get the nose target behavior by capturing it initially, then continue shaping it in small increments to become the other behaviors.
Let’s start with the two most common parts: nose target to hand and nose target to stick.