I’ve talked a lot about the benefits of teaching your dog to target your hand.
After your dog has a solid hand target (nose touch to your hand), you’re ready to take this skill to the next level where it can be really useful!
Here are some advanced uses for targeting. Here it is — the fun stuff!
Using targeting, your dog can:
- push a drawer closed
- push a basket across the floor
- tip a cup over
- play soccer
- close the refrigerator door
- close the door after he comes indoors
- signal you that someone’s at the door
- alert a person that blood sugar levels have changed drastically
The uses for targeting are endless — use your imagination!
Make the move from basic targeting to advanced targeting.
First, transfer the touches to another object.
Using just your hand as the target limits the uses of targeting. It’s important to teach your dog to target another object, like a piece of paper or tape. I like to use a sticky note — it’s a good size and the sticky part helps you hold the paper. Simply hold the target in your hand, and cue your dog to touch the target with his nose. Click and treat your dog for all correct nose touches to the target you’re holding in your hand.
Gradually begin to move the target toward the end of your hand (toward the end of your fingers) so that the dog is reaching for the target more than your hand. You may need to make tiny approximations so the dog easily understands that he’s now getting clicked for touching the new object, instead of getting clicked for touching your hand.
Then move the target to a different surface.
In the video, I’ve moved the target ever so slightly — from my hand to my leg. It’s still at nose-height for Levi, which makes it easy for him to be successful. Occasionally I have to help Levi a little bit — you’ll see me point to the paper stuck to my leg to give Levi a little hint. If I’m relying on hints, then that tells me I’ve moved too quickly. But if he needs just one or two hints before he’s got the idea, then I can keep right on going. Remember to click and treat for every successful nose touch to the target that is now stuck somewhere other than your hand!
In an upcoming video, we’ll show you how to transfer this new skill to something fun like closing cabinets!
Talk back! How could you use targeting with your dog? Something fun? A cool trick? Helpful tasks? Let us know — leave a comment!