How To Train A Dog To Follow A Target Stick

How To Train A Dog To Follow A Target Stick

This tutorial is part of The Ultimate List Of Dog Trick Ideas which contains 99 other tricks like this!

A target stick is a great prop for a heelwork to music with your dog. It can be incorporated into the routine as a walking stick or umbrella. A target stick is brilliant for both directing your dog and as part of other more complicated tricks.

If your dog is targeted to the end of a stick he will follow it with his eyes and body in order to attempt to provoke a reward from you. This is an impressive act alone but will also open many doors for training further tricks.

  1. Decide on a stick then place it on the floor in front of your dog, a walking stick or umbrella is fine.
  2. Place a small treat at the end of the stick that you would like your dog to focus on
  3. When your dog takes the treat, at the second he touches the stick, offer the reinforcement and reward.
  4. Repeat the previous two stages until your dog is taking the treat from the stick and then looking to you for a second reward, at this point introduce the command. I would simply use the word stick.
  5. Repeat many times until the dog touches the stick on command.
  6. Now you can move the stick around, begin gradually and build up your dog’s confidence, soon you will be able to walk with the stick and your dog will touch it on command.

Top tip; Take things at your dogs pace, a moving stick can be daunting to touch so go easy on him and build his confidence gradually.

Dog trainers love targeting a canine to a stick because it opens up so many options when training a dog to do tricks.

Jean Cote

Jean Cote is an animal lover and the founder of Success Dogs. For more than a decade, he has served as a coach to thousands of dog owners around the world to better train, communicate and forge a stronger bond with their dog using positive and force-free training methods.