Monday, 15 March 2010

Dog training methods - 3. Targeting

Targeting is where the dog learns to interact with an object. This can be a target stick like in the video. You can then use this object to lure the dog the same way you would with a piece of food.

Many trainers prefer this to luring as it is not bribing. To be honest if you follow the steps to fade out the food lure properly I do not see a difference in the learning of a dog who follows a lure or a target.

Where luring comes into its own is the fact you can have other parts of the dogs body interact with other targets. For example the paw cross is taught with a target the dog interacts with its paw with, then the dog learns to cross its paw and finally the target is faded out.

Because the dog is not forced into position with manipulation and it has to use its mind I find dogs are much happier and more attentive with this method. They learn faster.

Also sending a dog to its bed or on to a mat is an example of target training, the dog targets its whole body onto the mat.

This is the point where training methods get a little muddled up because in the video you can see the actual training the dog to touch the target is a capturing behaviour, and later for the shy dog it is using the luring method.

I doubt any trainer uses just one method, but a mixture of many.


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