It’s the simple things, sometimes, that make a big impression.
If you’d like a little help around the house, use nose targeting to really up your dog’s “around the house” value. If your dog is good at the basic nose touch, and you’re gone on to a little more advanced targeting, you’re ready for the big leagues. You’re ready to “real life” this behavior. I say real life because that’s how I refer to behaviors that are actually helpful in real life, not just in a training session.
When you real life a behavior, you take it out of the training room and you put it to use in a helpful way in your real life.
Here’s how you’re going to real life nose targeting.
- Put a large target on a slightly open cabinet door. Targets can be clean margarine lids or even a couple pieces of painter’s tape.
- Click and treat your dog when he touches the target with his nose, whether the cabinet door closes or not.
- If you think the noise of the cabinet door closing will startle your dog, you can catch the door before it closes (be quick!), or put a towel between the cabinet and the door to help soften the noise.
- After the dog is reliably touching the target on the open door, refine your criterion so that you’re clicking only when the door actually moves. Always click and reinforce, of course.
- Continue to systematically raise your criterion so that the dog eventually earns the click for actually shutting the cabinet door.
- When the behavior is solid, meaning when you’re ready to be $100 that the dog will do the behavior, go ahead and put that behavior on cue.
- Invite your friends over and show off your dog’s brilliance!