Targeting Issues

Discussion in 'Dog Tricks' started by Evie, Jun 28, 2012.

  1. Evie Experienced Member

    Okies, so.

    Evie learnt how to target with her nose and with her paw when she was like 10 weeks old. That's all easy peasy and was learnt in like 10 seconds flat. I remember when teaching to nose target I initially touched the object (or my hand) onto her nose, then clicked and treated. Then started holding my hand a little away from her nose so that she had to move to touch it.

    ANYWAY, I tried using this same method to teach Evie to target with the TOP of her head (there is a reason for this which i will explain later). Only problem is that Evie's convinced that I must want her to hold perfectly still while i touch the top of her head.... :rolleyes:

    I've tried to move my hand slightly away so that she has to move to touch my hand, but instead she stands like a statue with her eyes looking at me saying "uh, why aren't you clicking?!"

    Any ideas as to how i can teach this?

    Oh by the way, I want to teach her this trick to help her with her shyness. She will happily bow, give both paws, lay down, high five, sit, roll over, target peoples hands..... she will happily do all these things for strangers if they ask her to (so long as i'm standing next to her). So I was hoping to teach her that being touched on the head is a 'trick' lol so that I can trick her into being petted on command :p

    I've heard a lot of people use target sticks? Perhaps one of these would help? (Is there anything special about a target stick or will any old stick do lol?) But yea, essentially I want her to target hands with her head, not a stick or other object.

  2. SD&B Experienced Member

    Only brainstorming here, but could you lure her to move her head with a treat and then, as soon as the target is touched, click and treat? You could also use a target stick to lure her head up if she will follow that and click and treat for the touch. (You have to teach target stick first.) I think I would try just holding my hand over her head and then luring with a treat to get her to touch it, with a resultant c/t.

    The special thing about a target stick is that it has a discrete area at the end that the dog should touch with its nose. It's nice when the discrete area is something very easy to discern, such as a small ball on the end. You can use any old stick, as long as you make sure it has that special area at the end. You can take a dowel and color the end (maybe about an inch?). It's not as nice as the target sticks you buy and is harder for you to tell when they touch it, but it will do.
    Evie likes this.
  3. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    What an interesting way to try to desensitize a shy dog to allowing his head to be touched! Getting a shy dog to touch his head to YOUR hand on cue, might not be the same in the dog's mind, as having an unknown human touch his head............ but, might work, who knows? For *some* shy dogs, this *might* be "asking too much" of the shy dog...thing is, with shy dogs, most of us try to avoid ever forcing them to have unwanted contact.

    *My* dog almost always has trouble with "head" tricks, btw, almost always. He rarely gets the concept easily, but, that's just buddy.:rolleyes:

    Not all dogs like having their HEADS touched, though, but, it's worth a try. And usually, when an unknown human touches a dog's head, the human is now both staring at, and leaning over the dog, which is also not popular with many shy dogs.

    One other thing you might try, is that video i saw about how to teach a dog to balance a treat on his nose. I can't find it right now, but, just this week, someone posted a great step-by-step video of how to teach that trick,
    and you could just modify it ---to instead of having person place treat on dog's nose,
    to having an unknown human lean over a dog and touch the dog's head....*might* help a shy dog, (?) who knows.....
  4. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    i will try to find that video i saw, it was great, if i find it, i'll post it here,
    otherwise, maybe someone else knows where that video went? on how to place a treat on a dog's nose?

    ah, here it is, not sure at all, if this will help you, as the dog is passive in this trick,
    and you are striving for having dog come forward to push his head onto a hand....

    the more i think about it, the more i think that video won't help you teach what you are trying to teach....sorry.:oops:
    Evie likes this.
  5. SD&B Experienced Member

    Tigerlily, I just noticed you drew glasses on Buddy. How funny! And cute!
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  6. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    <----has no camera right now, but, does have Microsoft Paint program!! i do what i can:cool: to fit in around here, even without a camera right now!! It's not easy being a cameraless dog owner!!:ROFLMAO:

    oh look SD&B!! Your dog must shop for sunglasses where my dog shops?
    LOL....i made his match his collar..

    SD&B dog w sunglasses.png

    ah, maybe wider sticks are better....

    SD&B dog w sunglasses2.png
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  7. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Evie, sorry for derail of your thread, so here is peace offering of your very cute dog:

    Evie w sunglasses.png
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  8. Dogster Honored Member

    OMD, Tigerlily....:rolleyes::ROFLMAO: You're gonna do this for everyone who doesn't already have a pic of their dog in sunglasses, right??? LOL :LOL:

    EVERYONE ELSE: BEWARE!!!!!!:confused::ROFLMAO:
    tigerlily46514 and Anneke like this.
  9. JazzyandVeronica Experienced Member

    Have you thought about exploring Bridge and Target training?

    There's ALLOT you can do with it and I am just starting to play with it; but I did teach my dog to target the top of her head to my hand just through the process of teaching her her body parts.

    here's an interesting reference:
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  10. Evie Experienced Member

    Lol tigerlilly, I'm going to have to get a pic of Evie wearing sunnies in real life now :p
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  11. jackienmutts Honored Member

    Don't want to throw a wet blanket on your idea, as it may help her - but as Tigerlily pointed out above, many many dogs don't like having their heads petted. In fact, it's a rude behavior. I walk lots of dogs ( a couple reactive, one overcoming shyness) and whenever anyone asks to pet them (esp kids) I always insist (and even with my own, even tho there's not problems) that they pet under the neck and chest. I know people often reach for dogs' heads without thinking, and most dogs get used to it. But do they like it? Watch them. Most just deal with it. Most will do a slight head duck, eyes will shift, ears will also shift. She may just not like stuff happening on the top of her head - but once again, will try to go along with it to appease you. Just something to think about.

    Tigerlily - you and those glasses!!! OMG!!!! I just sit here and laffffff!!!!!! :ROFLMAO: :LOL::cool:
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  12. Evie Experienced Member

    Well aware that most dogs dont like being petted on their heads. Evie can be touched absolutely anywhere by me and the 6 people she likes.... as for everyone else, well they're not allowed to touch her anywhere EXCEPT when she gives them her paws, or targets with her nose as a trick. I'm not really expecting it to work, but hey, i'll give it a go. And if I manage to teach her to target with her head (for me) then I might be able to get her to target with other parts of her body which she MIGHT let others do with her too.


    Can only try. I've given up every other way of making my shy dog less shy.
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  13. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    //"Can only try. I've given up every other way of making my shy dog less shy."//

    well, Evie, i think you ARE doing something right, as Evie is not aggressive:mad: to humans, right, so that's something! You have managed Evie's issues well enough that Evie did not feel need to develop some almost reflexive growl or bites to unknown humans next to her, the way some shy dogs do.
    Some shy dogs do escalate to actual aggression to unknown humans, and feel exxxxxtremely threatened by the mere presence of unknown humans.

    I get your idea, and it's worth a try i guess, but, it might be Evie is just never gonna like having her head touched, but, so long as you don't force Evie into this, it seems an interesting idea.

    I think you can continue to explore and try to always be continuously bringing Evie's shyness down another notch,
    and down yet another notch. there are many levels of shyness, from XXXtreme to barely noticeable, and i always believe all dogs with issues can be helped to become better and better and better!!

    Some ppl with shy dogs report much success in helping their dogs develop better attitudes about unknown humans by having unknown humans offer the dog treats and rewards. Some shy dogs would need reward dropped, but some shy dogs could tolerate having reward handed to them.

    Tx_cowgirl's shy dog, Zeke, is tennis-ball obsessed. Tx has most cleverly planted idea in Zeke's mind, that strangers often have tennis balls,:LOL: (by handing strangers tennis balls to offer to Zeke,)
    and this is helping Zeke's love of tennis balls cause a curiousity (will THIS stranger have a tennis ball?) override his shyness more and more.

    I think there ARE many things, many methods, many approaches, to helping find the key for Evie to become better and better!! Never give up, although i understand the feeling, we can't give up, cuz, dogs can always get better,

    and better.

    plus, i do sort of think,
    that for those of us who love a dog with issues,
    it is an ongoing thing,---->keeping their issues reduced...
    Dogster likes this.
  14. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Evie, not sure this concept will translate well from working with d.a. dogs to working with shy dogs,
    with each and every doggie pal i have helped Buddy accept or even love,
    that process, that event,
    has helped reduce his gangsta behavior another notch.

    so everytime you help Evie learn to accept a new person,
    and then this other new person, and then this here new person,
    slowly, at subthreshold levels, of course,
    so that in Evie's mind---it was a positive experience,
    ----well, every time you succeed in helping Evie accept yet another new person----you are probably helping Evie reduce her overall shyness a bit more,
    and a bit more.
    Dogster likes this.
  15. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    btw, of course, sometimes i forget a lot of you fabulous dog trainers on DTA are actual children, and teenagers,
    and of course, children should not interact with strangers without their parents around, of course. I mean strangers to Evie, like a classmate or relative of yours that Evie does not yet know,
    not strangers to you.
    Safety first of course, i don't mean to have any children dog-trainers out there think, "Well, guess i need to go find strangers to help my shy dog":eek:
    ----------not my point!
    Dogster likes this.
  16. sara Moderator

    I don't even know what to say, tigerlily LOL

    Oliver hates people he doesn't know too. And I have totally given up on him doing tricks involving strange people, as he then thinks he HAS to approach, and will be even more aggressive. I decided to teach him just to stay away from people, and that they wont aproach him. I have him do alot of tricks with me near strangers, to make him more comfortable just being around strangers, without him feeling stressed, fearful or aggressive.

    He's alot less nervous around strangers, as long as they dont look at his face now.
    Dogster likes this.
  17. Evie Experienced Member

    It's ok, I don't fall into that category ;)

    As for trying to get her to accept new people; one at a time, slowly but surely.... yeah, not going to happen. I've tried.

    Example #1. My horses live on a private property, owned by two lovely people. These people have known Evie since day one. Evie has seen them nearly EVERY DAY since I've owned her. She WILL play with them. She WILL take treats from them (She will play and take treats from ANYONE), but they CAN NOT touch her. Ever. They even babysat her one day when I had a house inspection (so Evie didn't have to deal with a stranger in her house while I wasn't home). She was more than happy to be with them, and stay near them on the farm while they were doing things, but they STILL can't touch her, not even when her best friend Tammy (lab x kepie same age as Evie) is around. (Tammy is relevant because Evie is more happy to be around people when there are other dogs around)

    Example #2. My partners parents. They don't live anywhere near us so Evie has only met them 3-4 times before. They stayed with us for 4 nights a few weeks ago and Evie STILL doesnt like them. Once again, she'll play with them, she'll SOMETIMES tolerate being petted by them - sometimes. But she still doesnt like them. She still got extremely worried when ever she was in the same room as them and I wasn't around.

    Example #3. Lovely people in pet shop. There's a pet shop which Evie and I have been visiting since day 1. Lovely people, they actually understand the concept of shy dog and encouraged me to bring Evie in regularly to help desensitise her to strange people. Now Evie gets super excited to walk into the pet shop, will walk around behind the counter to greet the people (Because they always give her treats lol) but they still can't touch her. Actually earlier this week, Evie's favourite pet shop attendant managed to get a small scratch of Evie's chest (for like 2 seconds) without Evie minding TOO much and Evie even managed to lick her hand after all the treats were gone. This was a super big step for her, but when we went in a couple of days after, same person was there... we were back to square one. It's so strange. These people have always been friendly towards her, they always get down to her level to greet her, never look at her face at all. She'll do all of her tricks for them... yet she still doesnt like them.

    Conclusion. Evie likes people so long as they never EVER EVER! have any intentions on touching her. Ever. She even played Frisbee with a random 3 yr old boy in the park the other day.. (and she hates kids because they ALWAYS try and touch her) But i guess frisbee is fun enough that it's worth the risk of being touched.

    Last thing I want to say, before I end up writing an essay; Evie does bark at SOME people. Eg. going through the drive-through (at like KFC or w/e) with her in the car = Evie barking. Usually people only get the barking response if they have tried to pat her in a non-Evie-accepted way. eg. they put there hand out for her to sniff without bending down to her level = Evie barking.
    tigerlily46514 likes this.
  18. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    wow, i so understand a perplexing and persistent issue in a dog! do i ever. Although my dog's issue is not the same as yours, i recognize the persistence with which Evie's attitude about she does not want to be touched.
    You may have to accept this in Evie, and be proud of yourself, that you managed to raise such a shy dog without Evie feeling the need to growl or bite unknown humans, as some shy dogs do.

    //"As for trying to get her to accept new people; one at a time, slowly but surely.... yeah, not going to happen. I've tried."//

    If you are interested, in trying to reduce that, i wonder what would happen, if you tried this:

    now since i am assuming that Evie allows YOU to touch her,(?)
    that YOU doing the exercises would not be that helpful,(?)
    but, i wonder if you had a dog-savvy pal, or someone at your vet's office, someone Evie does not yet allow to touch her, to try these Kikopup exercises, i wonder if it would work or not? the dog shown at minute 3:20 sounds a bit like your Evie.

    If you do decide to have a dog-savvy pal attempt these exercises, under your supervision,
    it might be great idea to have YOU practice the moves with Evie first...

    see, like i said, i am not sure if it translates over to shy dogs, the way it translates over to da dogs, but, every dog i have desenstized Buddy to accept,
    has seemed to lower Buddy's overall reactivity. It does NOT "cure" Buddy, but, it just turns dowwwwn a bit more
    and a bit more. Tx_cowgirl has had some amazing breakthroughs with her shy dog recently, which stunned her. Her Zeke is still a shy dog, but, he is making progress and she is helping him turn his shyness doowwwwwnnnn a notch.

    that said, i only offer those remarks as you sound interested in exploring things you could try to help Evie,
    but, it's a perfectly fine option to just accept Evie, especially since you have done such a great job that Evie isn't biting anyone, to just accept Evie has these limits.
    Evie and Dogster like this.
  19. Evie Experienced Member

    Definitely interested in trying new ways to make Evie less shy, but yes, as you said; at least she's not aggressive in her shyness. We were at the pet shop today and she was all calm and happy after receiving her treats .... until a kid came running over and cornered her trying to pat her. Evie is very agile and got out of the way very quickly without turning to aggression, but it was a real reminder of just how easily things can turn bad. I was standing at the counter, she was on lead, and I didn't even see the kid coming until it was too late. Funnily enough, I see Evie in that position so my reaction is to drop the lead so that she can escape :rolleyes:. Not sure all people would see that as a good thing but it works for her.

    Funny thing is, that just 10 minutes before that she was PLAYING with kids at the park (with her frisbee). Personal space isn't such a big issue when you're busy playing...
    Dogster likes this.
  20. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    //" Funnily enough, I see Evie in that position so my reaction is to drop the lead so that she can escape :rolleyes:."//

    If possible, a body block by you,
    even putting your hand out like a crossing guard to the kid,
    between kid and Evie, would have been safer. Evie could have even run out the door if someone was coming in right at that moment.

    If kid pursued offleash Evie around the store, and re-cornered Evie, Evie might bite someone someday,
    and the nightmare of dog biting a kid can involve legal things, and medical bills.
    ANY dog can be bite, if perfect storm of wrong events occurs, ANY dog.
    Even "Joe Perfect Dog":LOL: can be driven to bite, if no one else protects him or gets this screaching kid out of his face.

    yES, lots of owners of shy dogs feel their dog is calmer about strangers outdoors than in a confined area....
    but, all dogs are unique.

    Some shy dogs do worse in their own home, if they have history of being handled by stranger in the past in that area, the dog might brace for "aw geez, here comes some stranger who is going to lean over me and pick me up and pet me...grrrr"

    Some shy dogs might do better in their own home, if they've never been forced to be handled by strangers there.

    but most owners of shy dogs seem to say their dog seems less threatened by unknown humans when the dog is outdoors.
    If a dog was often forced to tolerate ppl leaning over him or petting him on walks, well, maybe that dog might be worse on walks, cuz he'll associate being on walks with being handled.

    guess each dog is unique, and you sure will become a lil expert on which types of scenarios are best or worst for Evie!!!
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