Target training for dogs: what is it, and how to do it?

Target training for dogs involves your four-legged friend touching a target with a body part such as the paw or the nose. The versatile training offers different possibilities and is suitable for almost every dog, whether puppies or seniors, whether small or large.

During target training, your dog learns to touch a target you have specified with paws, nose, chin, forehead, and almost any conceivable body part. For example, this can be your hand and a specific target object that you are pointing at. The best known is probably the classic paw giving, an essential exercise in target training and is explained in more detail below. Most dogs have great fun completing the task while improving their talent with the activities.

Target training with the dog: basics

The basic exercises in target training with the dog are, in particular, the paw target (giving a paw), nose target, body target, and look target:

● Paw target: The primary point of paw-giving is that the dog touches your hand with his paw as soon as you offer it to him. The exercise, like the others, can be extended as desired. For example, the dog should touch an object with its paw or place its hind feet on something.

● Nose Target: The nose target works almost like the paw target, but the touch is made with the dog’s nose. For example, the woof should poke your hand with its nose.

● Body target: In addition to paws and nose, all other parts of the body can theoretically be used, such as the dog’s forehead or chin.

● Looktarget: This form of target training does not require physical contact. The look target is all about the dog looking at the target and not touching it.

Target training for beginners: Giving paws made easy

Paw giving—arguably the simplest target training exercise—requires a few treats and a little patience. To teach your dog the trick:

  1. Show him the dog treat and hide it in your fist. Your dog will now try to get to the excellent piece.
  2. If he bumps a paw into your fist at any point, give him the treat.
  3. Repeat this until your dog understands the connection between treats and paw touches.

In the next step, always say a specific command when your dog gets the treat by giving it its paws. This is how you condition your four-legged friend on order – such as “paw,” “high five,” or “paw.” Repeat this until your dog understands the connections and gradually leaves out the treats—only practice giving paws when your dog is sitting on its hindquarters and has its front feet accessible.

Target training with a target stick

A widespread tool for target training is the target stick. The bar is held about half a meter away from your dog at nose level. Now, please wait until the wand arouses the interest of your animal partner and he comes closer. If your dog nudges the stick with his nose, immediately give him a treat or, if you’re using a clicker, click. Repeat this until your sofa wolf understands the connection between nose poke (nose target) and pleasures. If he bumps into the target stick over time, you can try holding the target stick against particular objects even after you have stopped giving the treats. Your dog should now nudge the touched objects with its nose and then be given treats in return, which you should, of course, set down again after a specific time.

Necessary: When target training with the dog, you should never lose patience. Your dog must enjoy the task – compulsion and impatience are counterproductive. Be patient, and please never overwhelm your dog.

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