Positive Pet Training #3 – Turn it off, like a light bulb


Onyxx and Mr. N both know the “touch” trick where they bump their nose against my fingers. Well Mr. N does, Onyxx tries to lick my hand half the time. It’s the building block for tricks that involve targeting.

Mr. N and I are currently working on weaving through my legs. I move my hand in the direction I want him to move until he does a figure eight through my legs. I’m currently having some difficult in fading out the hand cues so any advice would be welcome!

I apologize for the lack of video but I can’t film it by myself and our place is currently in shambles due to cleaning our carpet this weekend.

Closing doors is a trick that can be taught utilizing targeting. If I knew about targeting at the time, teaching Mr. N might have been easier! Basically, you attach a post-it note or something similar to the door and you teach your dog to target the post-it with his nose and eventually close the door. Instead, I shaped the trick by clicking for any interaction with the door until he understood that I wanted him to push the door with his nose. Mr. N would have preferred targeting. He likes clear instructions.

Other potential tricks include: teaching your dog to “play” piano, ringing a bell to signal the need to go to the bathroom, and turning off lights.

Thank you for joining Cascadian Nomads,Dachshund Nola & Tenacious Little Terrier for the first Monday Positive Pet Training Blog Hop. Each month, bloggers and readers share and learn about positive pet training techniques, tools, frustrations and triumphs. Please join us next month, Monday, April 7th, with posts and stories about positive based training with any pets.




24 Responses

  1. Cascadian Nomads Bethany

    March 3, 2014 4:18 pm

    Fading hands is tough! I had a freestyle instructor explain it best- "your hands are always with you!" This instructor was a big fan of target sticks for just that reason. Anyways, my advice when fading any target tool (hands, stick, post-it, mat) is that you kind of start over- click and reward ANY movement in the correct direction. If your dog really knows the behavior and is ready for the target fade, then they'll figure out/remember the behavior you want quickly. If not, you may have to go back and move more slowly towards not using the target.

  2. Nola

    March 4, 2014 1:38 am

    Fading is tough, which is why I use capturing or shaping as much as possible over luring. I don't use the touch cue to much to teach other cues since it's easy for me to fade a lure than fade the touch. I'd honestly go back and reteach it without the touch.
    I've been working on and off teaching Nola to weave through my legs, but it kills my back!

  3. Nola

    March 4, 2014 1:43 am

    PS: Nola is standing on a piano bench to reach the light switch. 🙂 She can also stand on the window seat in the living room and reach the switch.

  4. Snoopy@snoopysdogblog

    March 4, 2014 3:23 pm

    There's no end to your skills!

    I can't offer any advice, sorry – Mum was laughing at me this morning though as I 'accidentally' crashed my head into the blinds in order to wake her up! Tee Hee

    I hope you're having a fun day,

    Your pal Snoopy 🙂

  5. tubby3pug

    March 4, 2014 4:32 pm

    These are great applications for targeting. Bob and weaskey are both good st touch but I have not applied it to much other then jumping on command spinning and touching toys
    Retro rover

  6. kalikukur

    March 5, 2014 9:42 am

    We had quite a few problems fading the hand target from our pivot training. I later realized that I probably just wanted to fade it too early. It works well enough now. 🙂

  7. weliveinaflat

    March 5, 2014 4:05 pm

    I'm trying to get Donna to do the leg weaving thing. And if I am not wrong, I will need to get her started on touching a sticker on my fingers so that we can transfer the behaviour to doors, but yup, looking at doors next! ; )

    Considering the height of our light switches, it would be hard for little dogs to reach them. Do you expect Mr N to jump up and touch it or do you plan to have things for him to climb to be able too switch on lights? Just asking cos I have no idea! 😛

  8. Lessons From A Paralyzed Dog

    February 18, 2016 6:06 pm

    Mr. N you are such a smart dog. This trick looks like great fun for a dog. We are working on twirling, but closing a door would be more useful, especially if my hands are full. Do you think a dog can learn to close the dryer door? HA!

  9. Rosa Doodle

    February 18, 2016 11:32 pm

    I love this post. I actually posted one on targeting today too. Grace, our puppy learned this skill so quickly and now we are able to build from it and learn lots of new things. Dogs love to learn don't they? I think they are the happiest when they are engaged.

  10. Talent Hounds

    February 19, 2016 3:01 am

    I keep messing up the leg weaving LOL. Especially as we try to walk. Kilo loves hands and lure. He just does not respond to only verbal or small signals- he gets too confused. We do a lot of targeting. He closes cupboards, turns on and off lights etc So fun

  11. Denise Gruzensky

    February 19, 2016 4:51 am

    Wow, this is so cool, I had no idea when I was training Harley to target with a Giraffe provided by our trainer that it had so many applications!! 🙂 Ok Shasta, here it comes!! 😉

  12. Cathy Armato

    February 19, 2016 6:13 am

    Mr. N is doing great! You should probably use a target stick vs. Your hand for the weave trick. Phoebe had her first training class last night & she learned Touch, which is basically targeting. My Husky, Icy, is really good with touch.
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  13. Cathy Armato

    February 19, 2016 6:14 am

    Mr. N is doing great! You should probably use a target stick vs. Your hand for the weave trick. Phoebe had her first training class last night & she learned Touch, which is basically targeting. My Husky, Icy, is really good with touch.
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them


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