One of the things I use almost every day with my own dogs, as well as with the service dogs I raise and train, is hand targeting.
What’s hand targeting? Glad you asked! We talked about it here and explained what it was and how to teach it.
Since that article was posted, you’ve had time to teach your dog to target his nose to your hand and now it’s time to talk about how and when you might use hand targeting with your own dog.
Here’s how you might use hand targeting to help you move your dog around without having to resort to dragging him around by the leash.
Imagine for a second someone dragging you around by your hoodie. Without any warning, you just start moving in another direction and you’re not sure why or where you’re being dragged. That’s what I imagine it’s like for our dogs when we tug on the leash to change direction or make them move.
Instead of tugging on the leash, teach your dog how to target your hand. It’s dead simple and has many uses. Use hand targeting instead of leash tugs and your dog will be happy to comply. It’s kind of like someone saying, “Hey, come over this way” as opposed to dragging you around by your hoodie. It’s a lot nicer and you’ll get a lot more cooperation from your dog this way.
Your turn: How do you use targeting with your dog? Has it ever saved the day for you or your dog? Leave a comment and let me know!
Tegan Whalan says
I loooove hand targeting. My main use is for a recall – my dogs have such a strong reinforcement history with targeting, that they’ll do it in any environment, any distraction, and from a far distance if necessary. I also use hand targets as reinforcement if I am in an obedience/dancing ring and am not able to use food or toys.
Laurie Luck says
Yes! We use a hand target for recalls, too! Thanks for mentioning that — it’s a great use for targeting! Thanks for stopping in and taking the time to comment. Come back soon!