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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Aspen will touch her nose to my hand but not to a target. Ideas on how to teach this? I hold the target to her and she tries to look around it :eyeroll:
 

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What are you using? A target stick/"lollypop" target? Something else?

In general, if a dog doesn't investigate the target (and later on actually touch when cued) remove it, wait, and then represent it. With nose targets, I normally just lift up to my shoulder.

Some people have luck with initially rubbing something smelly on the target to help prompt the nose touch, but from what I've seen you want to be spot on timing wise. There's a couple dogs who we regularly take classes with who are now convinced that ''touch'' means ''lick''. :p

Depending on the type of target there are other tricks you can use too. ;)
 

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My girl had a similar problem- she kept trying to target with her feet when I wanted her to use her nose. Also, I trained her in hand touches before I introduced the target, and so when I put it on my hand she did sometimes try to get my fingers instead of the target. Between using her feet and trying to get to my hand she kept knocking it down every time she tried to touch it and was more focused on my hand underneath it than the target itself.

I found kneeling in front of her and putting the target on my lap to be very helpful, and then moving to throwing it out in front of me a few inches, and then just placing it on the floor, and then asking her to go walk over to target it. Because I will be using the target for agility (which I think is your goal too? I seem to remember you starting her in agility classes?) I don't need or want any connection between the target and my hand.

I don't like to lure her, but she is a dog that gets easily frustrated when she isn't rewarded for too long. When I explained this to my trainer she suggested rubbing a very stinky treat (I have very smelly fish flavored Stella and Chewy Treats I use for this) on the target to make it more interesting. When it was in my lap as well as when I asked her to go walk over to it, the stinky treat was very helpful- it was technically a lure but she was rewarded separately vs getting the treat herself so I felt better about it. When I was throwing it, the movement was enough to make her want to go investigate.

ETA: I should add I used one of those circular yellow silicone "target matts" for this, although a ball or one of those target sticks could be used this way. I didn't suggest removing and re-presenting because it sounds like she just isn't interested in the target and just thinks she's supposed to touch you fingers?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
@kmes I'm using a plastic container lid. This is something I kind of touched on (no pun intended haha) early on in her obedience training. I just used my hands and basically used it as a way to keep her attention on me through the session. I haven't done it in a long time. In our first agility class last week, the trainer had us use the plastic lid and Aspen would just look at me haha. Maybe I've instilled a "leave it" too much. I have been rewarding for any progress towards it. If she looks at it, treat. If she starts to move towards it, treat. Hopefully, that will get us there?
@Moonstream - thank you! Good tips!
 

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@kmes I'm using a plastic container lid. This is something I kind of touched on (no pun intended haha) early on in her obedience training. I just used my hands and basically used it as a way to keep her attention on me through the session. I haven't done it in a long time. In our first agility class last week, the trainer had us use the plastic lid and Aspen would just look at me haha. Maybe I've instilled a "leave it" too much. I have been rewarding for any progress towards it. If she looks at it, treat. If she starts to move towards it, treat. Hopefully, that will get us there?
@Moonstream - thank you! Good tips!
Have you tried pointing or tapping the lid? That might help to direct his attention. You might need to build the behaviour in layers. If he looks at the lid, click and treat, do that a couple times then if he makes a move towards it, or dips his head towards, click and treat, then keep building until he investigates with his nose

EDIT: Turns out I didn't read through your entire response. I've had to do the slow build with Tucker on a couple behaviours. I find that it works really well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Update: I worked on this last night with MUCH more success. I used a small bowl first. Naturally, she wanted to investigate because she thought it contained something good :) I let her put her nose in a few times and treated each time. Then I turned the bowl around so she was touching the bottom. Then I changed items- using my phone then the plastic lid.
 
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