Tuesday, January 6, 2009

10. More Targeting

Here are some other types of targeting.

Upright Stick Target on the floor (perhaps stood upright in a handful of playdough) gives the dog a destination to move away from you while you teach him to move around behind you to follow you down a narrow aisle.

This pup shows how it works. The gadget on the left is a Treat and Train which dispenses a treat when the dog touches the tip of the stick and tone is sounded at that moment. Very expensive, I might add.

Spot Targeting (such as a margarine lid or tape) placed at a location, can be used to send your dog and put him in a down or wait for further instructions. Use a larger ice cream lid for greater distances to allow him to see it better. Over time, you can cut the size down in small steps and then remove it completely. Placing a spot on a desk gives him a target to place money for a clerk. Or pick up money from the same clerk. Or placing a spot at the bottom of a stairway shows him where he needs to stop before assisting you up the stairs or one placed in a car shows him where you want him to jump into and lie down.

This dog does a great paw touch on a spot that the trainer moves around. She realizes that her dog is not a successful as she should be when she starts throwing the spot at a distance and moves the spot closer so her dog can be successful. After a few repetitions, she moves it further away to test if her dog understands it. She does. Also notice that her timing of the click is exactly when the dog’s paw hits the target. Perfect! This combination of good timing and early success results in a an eager dog that wants to learn with her!

This behavior could easily be extended to teach a paw touch of a light button placed on the floor, or the base of a touch sensitive lamp.

Spots and tape are handy because they can be transferred over to another larger object or person. Simply put a piece of tape on the new object, point to the spot of tape a few times, then let him nose touch it on his own and c/t that. Do that several times and he will be targeting the new object and you can remove the tape. This works well for teaching him to push doors and drawers closed etc. If you are concerned that tape may lift paint, try using green painters tape or even a square of Post it Note.

Mat Targeting becomes a quiet place to lay out of the way or where to stay while he is drying off or you are eating. You can also use mats to teach your dog his place (under a desk or in a corner?) while you are working. Place it under you on a bench or picnic table and he is out of sight but very nearby when you need him.

Other Objects:
Even an object such as a chair or another person (by name) can be a target that you send him to get help from another person or a telephone on a low desk to let you know when it is ringing.
Laser targeting. You can use a laser pointer as a target and turn the light off when the dog reaches the target. This can be useful to target the attention of deaf dogs. It would be wise to avoid the use of laser pointers with with dogs obsessive compulsive tendancies(any of the herding breeds) as it can quickly develop into a bad distracting habit of chasing lights.