Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tuesday Training: Building the Foundations for Tricks

Most of the tricks I will be attempting to teach to Monday are based on a few foundation behaviors. The first foundation behavior I needed to refresh was targeting. Monday LOVES, and I mean LOVES, to target. The first target I am focusing on with Monday is her mouth/nose. You can do targeting with all parts of the body (like feet, sides, butt, shoulder, etc.) but for right now I am focusing on her mouth/nose.

First I started with hand targeting - teaching your dog to touch their nose to your hand. We have this behavior pretty well built as I have used in on and off with her for a few years. But if you are new to the idea, here are few things to do to get started:

  • Start with your hands behind your back (and your dog standing/sitting in front of you) and present your hand (pick one to start with) about 2 inches in front of their nose
  • Usually, your dog will move forward and sniff your hand (especially if your hand has a high reinforcement history!). The instant you feel their nose touch, click (or say yes or whatever you want to use as a mark).
  • Then give your dog a treat from the OTHER HAND. :)
  • Repeat. When your dog touches your hand 9 out of 10 times in a row (or 100%!), start to present your hand in different places but still relatively close to your dog.
  • Once your dog is reliably touching your hand when you hold it out, you can add a cue like touch, target, or whatever you decide :). Remember to say the cue first, then extend your palm toward your dog.

Here is Monday doing some intermediate hand targeting.

Monday is actually a pretty mouthy dog <think land shark lol>, so I wanted to get away from using my hand as a target. The less I have her touching my body with her mouth, the better :). So I moved from having her target my hand to having her targeting a stick.

Targeting is hard work.

Monday is almost ready to show off her trick for this month, you'll have to check it out next week!

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