Dog Training Is Fun
In February we discussed how to teach your dog to hand target (to touch your hand with their nose), and this month we’re focusing on how to transfer that behavior to objects – like fixed targets, target sticks, or the balls used in the canine sport of Treibball! Object targeting can be a great tool for teaching your dog fancy behaviors (ringing a bell or tuning off a light switch) or teaching tricks such as spin, jump, somersault, or weave through your legs. You can also teach a dog to target his or her mat or bed and sit or lie down, a handy behavior to have while cooking dinner or greeting guests at the door.
Object targeting is also a part of the fun herding sport of Treibball. In Treibball, dogs use traditional obedience and herding skills to drive balls into a goal. The dog uses his nose or shoulder to push the balls in a specific order and the game stops when all eight balls are in the goal.
In play groups, once we have a consistent hand targeting behavior, we introduce object targeting. It’s a fun skill to work on a home, too. Here are the basics for getting it started:
- To warm up your dog start with hand targeting, moving your hand in a variety of locations about 3-5 inches from your dog’s muzzle and nose. Ask for a touch and click and treat every time your dog touches your hand.
- When your dog is touching your hand consistently, put tape or a sticky note on your hand and continue to ask for a touch, clicking and treating only when your dog touches the tape or sticky note.
- Work on this for 3-5 minutes several times a day for a day or two.
- Once your dog is consistently touching the tape or sticky note in your hand, you can transfer it to other objects, like doors, drawers, or your target stick.
- Alternatively, you can start object targeting by using a target stick. Check out our object targeting video on our YouTube page at http://youtu.be/LgtRkeWi3O0 to see how to get this started.