The shelter environment is stressful for dogs, and for the people who work there, but the environment is especially stressful for cats. In addition to losing all familiar contacts and past comforts, they are subjected to a constant barrage of alarming stimuli, including noise, strange smells, intrusions from unknown humans, close confinement, and the often-frightening sight and smell of other unfamiliar cats. While you can’t always change the physical environment, you can change the mental environment at a shelter by providing low-cost training and enrichment activities.
What types of useful behaviors can you teach with targeting? In last week’s blog Teaching Your Dog to Hand Target, we explored the many useful applications of teaching your dog to target the palm of your hand with his nose. Once you have a solid hand target, you can build on it by teaching your dog to target other body parts, such as his cheek. Cheek targeting can be useful for husbandry care and veterinary visits, particularly when administering eye or ear drops.
Teach the “down” behavior with positive reinforcement.
Just a few ideas to get you started on teaching a new trick based on your dog’s hand targeting skill!
This video is an introduction to targeting, specifically nose targeting!
Mat training teaches a dog to target a specific location and chill out for awhile.
Training a hand target, adding a cue, and using touch as a way to move a dog out of a undesirable situation.
How to add a cue to a foot target to object behavior using an easy button.
A demonstration of how to shape foot targeting to an object.
A hand touch or hand target is one of the most useful foundation behaviors