Easy Dog Tricks | What is Dog Target Training? (Early access for our Patreon community)

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Raising Your Pets, Dogs and Cats Naturally

Dog Tricks | Why Teach Canine Target Training

how to teach a dog to target
Dog Target Training

What is dog target training?

A “target” is anything that a dog must focus on and perform some action toward. One common dog targeting behavior is a nose-to-hand target. Or a paw-to-hand target. This is when a dog is rewarded for touching his nose or paw to the palm of your hand. Attention, or eye contact, is also a form of targeting.

What is target training used for?

Dog target training can be so beneficial in many dog training, dog tricks or behavior situations. In competition obedience, a dog is trained to move away from the handler on a “go out” in targeting. Dog agility competitors must have their dogs touch a contact target on various obstacles like the A-frame and dog walk.

What about dog target training with pet dogs?

Three of the best uses for dog target training is teaching your dog to walk by your side, go to their bed or place, and to keep their attention on you during distractions. Teaching your dog to target while walking by your side is a great way to focus your dog and reward good leash skills. It’s much easier than just expecting your dog to get it right. If you teach your dog to follow your hand or dog target stick with his nose, he will be in the right loose-leash position and ready for his reward.

There are many times when you might want to send your dog away from you. Maybe you have guests coming over and want to greet them at the door without your dog’s help. Wouldn’t it be nice to cue your dog to “go to bed” and have him find his special pillow or crate to curl up for a while? Finding and moving to a special place are forms of targeting.

You can use targeting to start a lot of “tricks,” too. You can teach a dog to spin in a circle or push doors closed by following a target with a nose, and you can teach a paw wave or pushing a lever with a paw-touch on a target.

A lot of dogs have a good time just finding and touching the target when it’s presented as a challenging game.

Training a dog to target.

Below are some helpful dog training videos on teaching your dog various forms of targeting. Don’t forget to subscribe to the channel while you’re there.

Teaching a dog to put his nose on your hand.

Teach your dog to foot target.

Teach a dog to shake paw.

Teach a dog to go to bed or place.

Teach a dog to spin in a circle.


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Easy Dog Tricks | What is Dog Target Training? (Early access for our Patreon community)