Trainer’s Corner: Find the Sticky Note

After you have taught your dog nose targeting (to learn how to teach that, please see Lisa’s past post herethere are so many ways you can use that skill to play enrichment games. Here is one.

Find the Sticky Note

For this game, you will need sticky notes, a clicker if you use one, and treats. 

To begin, hold the note in the palm of your hand or affix it to your fist depending on how you have taught your dog to nose target your hand. Click or use another verbal marker the moment your dog touches the sticky note and then give your dog a treat. Do this three to five times.

Next, move your hand with the sticky note in different directions so that your dog needs to find it. Again click and treat your dog for touching the note. 

When you place the sticky note on another surface, you may need to either first just hold your hand with the note in front of the surface for your dog to target it (then click/treat); or you can put the note onto the surface and help your dog by pointing to it the first couple of tries. When delivering the treat, give it to your dog away from the note so that he needs to come back to target it again. After several repetitions, do not point to it any longer.

Next, put the sticky note on a different surface and repeat the steps above. 

As your dog becomes better at finding the sticky note, put it on a new surface and test your dog’s skill by not pointing to it. Can your dog still find it? Yay! Don’t forget to click/treat each time he targets the sticky note. 

Now you are ready to add a cue. This time, since you know from past experience that your dog will immediately seek out the note, ask your dog to be in a stationary position with a stay (if your dog knows stay) or hold your dog back while you or someone else posts the sticky note. Then tell your dog your cue. Click/treat your dog as soon as he targets the note. Practice this 10 times. 

This is a fun rainy day game. You can move your sticky note to different places for your dog to find.  

Lisa Desatnik, CPDT-KA, CPBC, is a certified dog trainer (and certified parrot behavior consultant) with So Much PETential who uses and teaches the most positive strategies for changing pet behaviors. She offers individualized dog and puppy training for manners and problem issues. Learn more about her at www.SoMuchPETential.com.

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