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I'm trying to teach my dogs to target objects. The first round was a bit of a flop. They'll target my fingers easily enough. I can hold an open hand out and they'll immediately touch my fingertips with their noses. Objects are not as easy. I started with a sticky note on my fingers, and that went well enough. Every time the nose touched it, I clicked, treated, praised, and there was much rejoicing. Then I stuck the sticky to the wall next to us, and it seemingly disappeared as far as my dogs were concerned. After a few tries to interest them in it, I dropped back to a familiar command to keep their spirits and confidence up.

I watched a cool video from Kikopup that described a means to interest a dog in an object by starting with a treat under the object. I'm going to try that out tonight when I get home. When researching targeting, I saw listing for target sticks and some articles on using them for training. I'm curious how others here teach targeting objects to their dogs, what's worked and what hasn't, and if anyone uses targeting sticks. I actually have something I could use as a targeting stick, but I'm wondering what gain is to be had from training with them. So, advice on targeting and targeting sticks, please!
 

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Going from a sticky note on your hand to a sticky note on a wall might be too big a jump for them. What about the sticky note, on your hand, and your hand against the wall? Then with the sticky note half on wall and half on hand?

I use to rub hot dog juice on stuff I wanted her to touch. She would get clicked when she movedher nose to the sticky note to sniff the yummy scent.

I have used a target stick I made. It was a short (2-3ft) piece of PVC with a tennis ball on the end. It worked OK, was kind of cumbersome. I am planning on making another one that's smaller. A target stick is useful when you want to teach certain behaviors that require the dog to move. Like teaching the dog to go around to heel position, you can use a target stick to lure them around you. Or teaching a dog to "go out", having the dog run away from you and then when they hear a command (sit or down), they turn around and preform that command at a distance. I have seen people teach fronts and heel position with them too.

I haven't used a target stick for those behaviors personally though. But, it is another way to train. I know people who have small dogs like to use them so they are not constantly bending over which, in turn, can accidentally turn into a cue.
 

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Could it be that you are lumping (expecting too much behavior before you mark it?) I would be clicking for a single quick glance at the note on the wall, a single step in that direction, etc. Another possibility is putting your hand near the note and gradually fading it. But my first instinct would be to split the behavior very fine and click for ANYTHING that is getting the dog closer to the goal.
 

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I have used a target stick I made. It was a short (2-3ft) piece of PVC with a tennis ball on the end. It worked OK, was kind of cumbersome. I am planning on making another one that's smaller. A target stick is useful when you want to teach certain behaviors that require the dog to move. Like teaching the dog to go around to heel position, you can use a target stick to lure them around you. Or teaching a dog to "go out", having the dog run away from you and then when they hear a command (sit or down), they turn around and preform that command at a distance. I have seen people teach fronts and heel position with them too.

I haven't used a target stick for those behaviors personally though. But, it is another way to train. I know people who have small dogs like to use them so they are not constantly bending over which, in turn, can accidentally turn into a cue.
On target sticks - Karen Pryor (clickertraining.com) has some nifty new one called the "lollypop" They are a clear plexiglass handle with a colored plexi ball on the end that is really much more interesting than the clear stick. Gets the dogs targeting the right place almost immediately. A friend bought me one - I think they are $8. I also have a couple with clickers built in (handy when you only have two hands) and you can make a neat one by getting a telescoping antenna, and putting a rubber toy cat ball on the small end. It's usefull to put a ball or at least some yellow or blue tape on the end so the dog learns to target specifically and not just anywhere along the length of the stick. In the beginning, I'll take touches anywhere on the stick, but pretty soon I only pay for touches on or near the ball/tape
 

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I'll have to look those up Pawz. I was always tempted to just buy one but when I was looking for one awhile back they were like $15. For just a stick with a ball on the end I figured I could make my own. I like the idea of a built in clicker though. Juggling everything sure does create a scene, especially when we are practicing in public!
 

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A target stick is useful when you want to teach certain behaviors that require the dog to move. Like teaching the dog to go around to heel position, you can use a target stick to lure them around you.
Also can be used to teach heeling (in motion) with small breed dogs


Or teaching a dog to "go out", having the dog run away from you and then when they hear a command (sit or down), they turn around and preform that command at a distance.
I believe you're referring to a post-it note or margarine lid here, which can also be used to teach broad jump, and drop on recall. Tip: an empty CD jewel case works well too, due to it's 'transparency' and ability to partially blend into flooring surface or background. Use the cheap kind, the extra thin ones that come without the solid black inner piece.

Remember to fade post-it note / target stick / margarine lid / jewel case A.S.A.P., same as with any lure.
 

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I'm trying to teach my dogs to target objects. The first round was a bit of a flop. They'll target my fingers easily enough. I can hold an open hand out and they'll immediately touch my fingertips with their noses. Objects are not as easy. I started with a sticky note on my fingers, and that went well enough. Every time the nose touched it, I clicked, treated, praised, and there was much rejoicing. Then I stuck the sticky to the wall next to us, and it seemingly disappeared as far as my dogs were concerned. After a few tries to interest them in it, I dropped back to a familiar command to keep their spirits and confidence up.
Try transferring the behavior.

If they'll target your fingers, point at the object you want them to target, with your finger on the target object. They'll likely try to touch your finger and at the same time touch the object. Keep this up for some sessions, then try just giving the target cue on the object. See how it goes.

Target sticks can work like extensions of your fingers. If they target the stick, you can then touch the stick to an object and do the same thing. Target sticks are more mobile and easier to put in your dog's vision. You can get dogs attracted to them like magnets if you get the target behavior strong enough, which can be useful in lots of situations.
 
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