Image Credits: Pixabay
It is easy to teach your dog how to close the house door. This skill is useful and comes in handy whether the canine is a service dog or otherwise. This training, however, is an advanced one and the dog concerned must already be familiar with methods like clicker training or using visual markers. It must also know fundamental targeting skills before you proceed with this specific training.
The first step is to introduce hand targeting. Hold clicker in one hand. Place other hand in front of the dog. Hold flat the second hand in front of the face of the dog. The palm must face the nose. The hand should be adequately close so that the dog cannot ignore it. If the dog is already clicker-trained, use a ball pen or any another item which makes similar noise as clicker. Verbal markers like you saying words like “good” or the “good dog” phrase are also possible if you do it consistently. Ensure that you click or utter the verbal marker every time the dog follows your commands. Give your dog a treat after you click or use the visual marker.
Reward the dog if the animal touches the hand with its nose. Give it high value treats like hot dogs or diced chicken if the dog licks your other hand or touches the same with its nose. Do not worry if the dog targets the hand with its nose end. The dog must understand what you want. Praise your dog for any deliberate touch. Remember, only touch is applicable, and not gnawing or nipping at your hand. Repeat the exercise 10 times. Give the animal a treat every time the dog touches its nose to the hand. With time, be selective for what can be qualified as a click. Brushing the whiskers should not qualify for a click. Keep all training sessions short so that the dog continues to remain interested. If the dog gets frustrated, cut the training session short. After a few hours, try again.
Conduct multiple training sessions every day for three days to five days. Dog training takes considerable repitition and patience. There is no need to rush the training. Spend about three minutes every day and repeat the same action approximately 10 times every session. Do click and give a treat everytime the dog successfully nudges the hand with nose. It is now time o teach your dog to touch the target. Use sticky notes to introduce any target. They make excellent targets as the adhesive makes it much easier to transition from hand to door. Reward the dog when it touches the door and not the palm of your hand.