Tool #1: Teaching a ‘Target’

Goal: To create a ‘target’ cue that you can use to manage your dog’s behavior and help develop new training behaviors.

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Resources: You will need a ball, a tug-toy that you can play tug with and a short, 9-inch stick.  You will also need a bowl filled with treats the size of your little fingernail and your training word (‘yes’).

Training Steps

Hold the palm of your hand toward your dog.  If your dog looks at your palm, touches it, smells it or just moves toward it, say ‘yes’ and give it a treat. Repeat this 10 times or until you see that your dog recognizes that it must touch your hand with its nose to get the ‘yes’ and a treat.

Once your dog is actively and consistently tapping your hand with its nose to get a treat, we want to attach the verbal cue ‘touch’ to its behavior.  Do this by saying ‘touch’ as your dog touches your hand with its nose.  Then say ‘yes’ and give it a treat. Repeat this 10 times.

The next step is to only say ‘yes’ and deliver a treat to your dog for touching your palm after you ask it to by saying ‘touch.’  Repeat this 10 times.

Put your hand down, then put your hand back up and say ‘touch.’ As your dog touches your hand, say ‘yes’ and give it a treat.  Your dog should now touch your hand on request. Repeat 20 times.

DogSmith Tips - You can now generalize this behavior to many different objects such as a tennis ball, a Frisbee, a stick, a toy or anything else you can think of.  See our other management cards on how this new cue can help you develop other behaviors.

If you are interested in receiving a copy of the DogSmith MTR  - Management cards, email or download them from our website. Interested in learning more about how to train a dog or open a dog training business.