Adding verbal cues and picking toys

MTS 9/11

Worked with the verbal cue “target” again today. This time I was sitting in a chair. I tapped my leg (McKee’s cue to come stand beside me) and he came right over. (He has generalized this particular cue to include standing beside me even when I’m seated.) I’m almost considering using this position to work from since it is a well established routine and I can already send him out to do something, then click and have him automatically return for his treat.

I suppose another option would be to send him out to the “sample area,” click, go feed him his treat and then walk back and sit down again. The problem is this is all very time consuming and I like to train quickly. This is where having a dog would make it easier, they just move more quickly and the repetitions go faster. Ah well….

Anyway, he stood in his heel position and did a nice job of waiting. I tossed an empty big water bottle about 15 feet away and waited. I asked him to “walk on” and then cued “whoa” while he was still en route. He stopped and waited, and then I gave him the cue “target.” He walked right over and touched the water bottle.

OK, he was going in that direction anyway, but I’m still in the stage of offering him the cue when I’m pretty certain he’ll get it right. In other words I’m not going to say “target” when the item is directly behind him where he is less likely to see it. That’ll happen soon though.


I’m also starting to gather items I think will be distinct and easy for him to notice the differences between the items. I think it’s really important to set it up as easy to learn as I can. McKee has learned one, maybe two other behaviors that I would consider to be “conceptual” but I still think it’s a big process to do this behavior.

Was fun tonight. Gotta get some of this on film.


About clickertraininghorses - Peggy Hogan

I teach people and train horses using positive reinforcement. The horses I work with are given choice, the freedom to volunteer behavior. The joy is that they strive to volunteer what works for both of us.
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