In training terms, a target is any object used to get an animal to touch it. A target can be your fist, a wooden, plastic or tennis ball on a stick. It can also be a beach ball or boomer ball such as what is used for Dolphins to touch their nose to when jumping.
This target will quickly become your animal's favorite behavior once they have learned it because it will become their simplest behavior. You simply hold out the stick and train the animal to touch their nost to it. You can also train them to touch their feet, or any other body part, to the target.
With some animals just getting used to the target touching them might be an adjustment. You may have to just leave the target in the vicinity and let them explore it on their own. Be sure to reward them if they touch it.
Eventually they will learn to touch their nose to the ball when you say the word "target". Make sure that you hold the target still and make the animal touch it themselves, don't help them out by moving the target towards them. As soon as they touch the target, reward them with a treat or verbal praise. Repeat over and over. This is an immensely important skill and comes in handy when you need to move your 800 pound steer calf off of your toe.
Step 1: Hold out target and say "target"
Step 2: Wait for animal to touch target
Step 3: Reward when they touch it
Step 4: Repeat
Hi! I'm Brittany and I started this blog to share my love of animals and to try and help save them in the wild.