Teaching a Paw Target




Teaching your dog a paw target is a really useful skill and is used for many advanced behaviours.

Start by placing a treat underneath a see through plastic lid from a food storage container. Your dog will be able to see the food but not reach it. This will prompt your dog to start problem solving and trying different ways to get to the food.

As soon as they paw at the lid, mark and reward them with the treat from underneath.

Repeat until your dog is really quick to offer paw contact each time.

Now offer the lid towards your dog, without the food underneath. Mark and reward as soon as your dog makes paw contact.

Practice holding the lid in different locations and at varying heights until your dog can target it reliably with their paw no matter where it is.

From here you can start to transfer to other objects, your hand and even a post it note – which is useful for teaching your dog to target objects away from you.

The more time you spend teaching this to your dog now, the easier it will be to build more advanced behaviours later.

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