Introduction to Targeting




One of the ways to effectively build behaviour with your dog is through targeting. This can be a nose target, where your dog follows your hand or another object closely with their nose. Or you can teach your dog to target using another part of their body such as their paw or rear feet.

You need to spend time teaching your dog that moving towards the target gets rewarded. Mark and reward your dog every time they move close and as they start to associate good things happening they will seek out the target more quickly. You can then start to move the target and get them to follow. This can then be used to guide your dog into moving in particular ways or into different positions.

It’s a great way to quickly build new behaviour without your dog becoming fixated on the rewards, which are out of sight while you’re training. You can also use targeting to encourage your dog to move from one location to another or step onto the scales at the vets.

As with all skills, progress at your dog’s pace and don’t be afraid to make things easier if they are struggling at any stage.

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