Puppies and Dogs For Sale in UK

Target Training

You may have come across the term ‘target training’ as a dog owner and not really understood what it is all about, you have probably conjured up visions of your dog complete with archery bow aiming at a target board!

Basically the target can be anything that you have asked your dog to completely focus on and then carry out an action towards. Many trainers will advise to begin by encouraging your dog to simply touch your palm with their nose.

When you think about it though you and your dog are actually doing your own target training much earlier than this, when you complete recall training with your dog you are asking them to focus on you and to return to a particular point, you.

So you are teaching your dog to target you. If you have ever watched any dog agility shows you would have noticed an obstacle called the ‘A-Frame’ it looks like a big triangle. The frame has two coloured areas on either end known as ‘contact points’ the idea is that as the dog enters and leaves the frame he/she must come into contact with each point.

This displays control by the handler and this is taught through target training.

So what can our regular pet pooches gain from target training? Well they can be taught to walk by their owner’s side for a start, it has been proven that if a dog has received some basic target training and knows what is expected they can be taught to follow their target tool, such as a target stick or a hand, and end up in the location they are guided to.

Many so called doggy tricks can be taught via targeting, your dog can be taught how to turn around in a circle by following the end of a target stick or your hand, they could learn how to wave a paw to say hello or goodbye and they could also learn the art of opening and closing doors.

Many assistant dogs such as the hearing dogs for the deaf are taught through a target training programme. They learn how to touch their owner’s arm if the doorbell rings and then how to touch their leg if the phone rings. Guide dogs will also learn certain procedures through target training as will assistant dogs for the disabled.

Is it easy to target train your dog? Actually it could not be easier to be honest because dogs are naturally curious animals. If you hold your palm out to your dog the chances are that he/she will immediately sniff at it and there you have it, you and your dog have just completed the initial stages of target training!

Reward your dog the second that their nose makes contact with your palm. You can then progress to the paw touch by placing a doggy treat in your hand, closing your fist and putting your hand palm downwards low to the ground. Your dog will naturally paw at your hand to obtain the treat, reward your dog with the treat when they paw your hand. This is only the basics of target training and if you would like to learn more one of the best places to begin is by asking at a local training school.

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