Balance Item on Nose

THIS TRICK CAN be taught to a dog while they are either seated, standing, or lying down — which you choose is personal preference. Typically, dogs are taught to be seated while learning to balance something on their nose because it is the most stable position for them. Stand in front of your dog and make sure their full attention is on you.

Tell them to sit, and hold a treat in front of their face. Lower the treat right in front of their face, and place it on the top, flat part of their nose. If they begin to thrash their head around before you can balance it, gently grasp the bottom of their jaw to keep their head steady enough to hold the treat.

Usually, they will flip their head to eat the treat as soon as you release their jaw, so you can hold onto it for a few seconds to let them know they’re not allowed to eat the treat without your command.

Once a few seconds have passed, take the treat off their nose and reward them, letting them know that they did well. If you are using the clicker method, once you remove the treat from their nose, click and reward. Do this a few times, holding the dog’s chin and removing the treat, until you leave the treat on top for them to get.

Try it without holding their jaw — if they move their head to eat the treat before they’re told, quickly take it away and try again. Repeat these steps until the dog learns to hold the treat on their nose without your aid. Begin to use a verbal cue, such as “okay,” “get it,” or “eat it.”

Practice this a few times every day until your dog understands to remain motionless while you place the treat on their nose, and that they are not allowed to eat it without your permission. Experiment with times — see how long you can hold the dog there before they move their face to get the treat.

The ultimate goal is to get the dog to sit there for as long as possible without moving before you give them the verbal cue. Next, you can work on teaching them to flip the treat into their mouths on their own!