Tuesday, January 6, 2009

11. Even More Targeting

Targeting with Other Parts of His Body
You can also teach your dog to target different parts of his body. His nose and paw are obvious ones, but his back paws, a chin, his shoulders or any part of his body are possible. It might make your job easier to cut his nails, have him wipe his feet, dry off hard-to-reach parts of his body or other uses you can think of.

Here is a link to a page that shows a video of little brown dog targeting several different locations of his body. Scroll down the page and look on the right side to click on Stamp's picture.

I have added this one to show the process of teaching a back foot target. Anything is possible if you are creative in your teaching! (or get ideas from a search on www.Youtube.com) This behavior takes longer to teach as it is not as natural to the dog as lifting his front foot. It took Jessie about 8 training sessions to start lifting her leg on cue suing this process. A front paw target took one session!

Targeting Parts of YOUR Body
Teaching your dog to target various parts of your body may also be helpful. If he puts with his right shoulder on your right knee when he is standing sideways in front of you as you are sitting, he is in perfect position across in front of you to assist you to stand up.

Paw Targeting your knee as you sit is a handy behavior for a sound alert dog for deaf and hard of hearing. The dog approaches you and places his paw on your knee to alert you that someone called your name, then another target is used to train him to go to the source of the sound so you know it came from.

Watch this hearing dog’s paw as he alerts his trainer of the timer going off nearby. Add some distance from the timer and you have another paw targeting behavior!

Targeting is a FOUNDATION Skill
So you can see why teaching your dog to target is a very important foundation skill for service dogs. It is worth spending much time in the beginning to make sure your dog has a firm understanding of all of the variations of it. As you gain experience training your dog, you’ll come with all sorts of creative ways to use targeting. Please share them with us!