In one short week, Casey has come an amazing distance. The dog training plan is coming along nicely. Focusing on creating a calm dog and on name recognition this past week has made all the difference in the world. He’s much better about not leash pulling, and he’s reached a point where he is responding to his name and returning to me when called. So, now that I have his attention more reliably, what’s the next step?
This week’s dog training plan will focus on refining what he already knows and on hand targeting and the basic commands of sit, stay, down, and leave it.
You may be asking what dog hand targeting is. Dogs are the only beings other than humans (found so far, anyway) that understand a human gesture. They instinctively watch our hand and arm motions and respond to them much as people do. Hand targeting is a way of telling your dog where you want them to be without having to say anything. You need this whenever your dog is off leash – whether he’s in a different room in your house or off leash outside somewhere.
Here is a video that demonstrates the first steps in training your dog in hand targeting. While she is a clicker trainer, you don’t need to use a clicker to make this work. Every time the dog touches your hand, you can quietly say “good” or make a clucking sound – whatever works for you. You just need a quiet sound that indicates approval made the instant your dog’s face touches your hand. Enjoy!