How To Teach Your Dog To Balance A Treat On Its Nose

Deanna asked:

Hey, do you know how to do the trick ‘treat on nose’ if so tell me?!


We’ve taught each of our dogs to do this fun trick.

Here’s how we did it…

Like most dog tricks, the younger your dog is when you start teaching this trick, the better.

Nevertheless, a dog of any age can learn this trick after just a few lessons.

Some people teach their dogs to do this while the dog is seated. Others find it easier to get the dog to cooperate when the dog is lying down. Either way works okay, but we’ve had better luck while the dog is sitting.


How To Do The ‘Balance On The Nose’ Trick:

teaching-jersey-to-balance-treat.jpg #1  Have your dog in the "sit" or "lie down" position, and make sure that his attention is fully on you.

#2  Place a very small piece of your dog’s favorite dog treat on the middle (flat part) of his nose.

#3  IMMEDIATELY say, "OK!" and let him get the treat. Then, IMMEDIATELY give lots of praise… a crazy amount of praise is required here!

Why? Because to your dog, it will feel weird to have something sitting on top of his nose, so he’ll ignore whatever you say and get the treat anyway. Saying "OK!" shows that’s exactly what you wanted to happen, and he was following your orders! And the overly enthusiastic praise shows your dog he did the right thing.

#4  Afterwards, give your dog a separate treat — as a reward for getting the treat from his nose, on command.

#5  Do steps 1 thru 4 over and over again, several times in a row. The most important thing: Each time you do it, increase the amount of time between when you put the treat on your dog’s nose and when you say "OK!".

The tricky part is being able to tell the millisecond before your dog will just get it on his own — out of irritation if nothing else. The longer you can increase the time before saying "OK!", the more your dog is "getting it".

Your dog’s own attention span will determine how many times in a row you try this in one sitting.

For some dogs, it will only take a couple of times before they realize what you’re asking and what they’re doing. Other dogs may tire of this "game" — in which case, you should stop the training and come back to it several hours later.

lip-licking-a-job-well-done.jpg The most important thing is to keep practicing steps 1 thru 4 two or three times a day, and for several days in a row.

Never reprimand, or act discouraged when/if your dog does it "wrong". Every little itty bitty ounce of improvement is worth a billion times more praise and enthusiasm each time.

…it worked for us.

Here are videos showing this dog trick in action!

Lynnette Walczak

Lynnette Walczak

I like to help people find unique ways to do things in order to save time & money -- so I frequently write about "outside the box" ideas that most wouldn't think of. As a lifelong dog owner, I often share my best tips for living with and training dogs. I worked in Higher Ed several years until switching gears to pursue things I was more passionate about. I've worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo -- to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. You can always find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun websites).

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  • Anonymous

    I used your article to teach my dog this trick. I manage to get him to stay still and keep the treat onhis nose for as long as I want but when I tell him ok he simply lets it drop to the floor and then its it. How do I ge thim to snap it off his nose?


  • Ryan

    My beagle won’t sit still long enough for me to get it to sit on his nose. He’s VERY treat motivated, which usually makes it very easy to train him tricks. However, he gets so focused on the treat that he won’t let me get it on top of his nose. He’ll just stand up, move back and look up at it with such excitement that the nose is never in one spot long enough for it to sit there.

    After a few attempts he tends to get frustrated, take a step backwards so I can’t reach him, and barks at me :-)

    I’m wondering now about trying with a treat he doesn’t like as much… but he likes all food so much, that’s difficult!