Teaching a dog to target an object such as your hand is a great way to get your dog focused on you, increase his confidence, and have a lot of fun in the process! I teach my dogs to target my open palm at a very close distance, then when I'm teaching them a basic recall...I say the dog's name, HERE, and hold my hand out to the side. It works every time! Sometimes when the dogs are preoccupied by what they are doing a simple voice command doesn't work (in other words...I need to practice with them more), but once I hold my hand out and say HERE one more time, they dash to me as quick as can be and tap their nose on my palm. It works like a charm.
Hand targeting is great for multi-dog households as well. You can teach dog #1 to target your right hand and dog #2 to target your left hand. When each dog taps it's nose to your open palm, say his name, click, & treat. This gives you the ability to get the dogs to come to you each to their own hand so there is no worry of the dogs fighting over what is in your hand because they will only go to the hand that has been designated 'their hand'. This is also a great way to teach dogs to mind their manners and not reach over to steal a treat or toy being offered to another dog in the house.
You can get fancy and have the dog target a piece of paper (to start) with their nose. Then you can tape the paper to the wall next to a light switch and have the dog continue to target the piece of paper on the wall. Then make the piece of paper smaller and tape it to the light switch. Before you know it you can add a command to the task and your dog can turn the lights on and off. You could use the same methods to get the dog to retrieve the phone when it rings, ring a bell to go outside, open a door, etc.
Dog Training Philosophy
- I train dogs using positive reinforcement training to modify unwanted behaviors. I step outside the traditional training box and use therapeutic-grade essential oils to assist in my behavior modification regime when it comes to dogs plagued with fear and anxiety as well as aggression. My philosophy is to heal the dog's mind, body and spirit, not just to rid the dog of unacceptable behaviors. I specialize in shelter dog rehab, reactive rover, and fearful fidos.