CHAIARY – TRICKS: front paw targets for 1 and 2 paws

July 6, 2023: targeting 3 objects with 2 front paws

July 10, 2023: single-paw target on “Paw” cue!

A compilation:

July 21, 2023: working towards a precise single-paw target

We worked on single-paw targeting. I’ve found a good tall object. Chai still tried getting 2 paws on, but I got 1 more and more reliably towards the end of the session. I’m going to get confidence and duration on this target, then remove the glass from under the lid and then play with different targets – including flat ones and smaller ones. I want Chai to become really precise with her paw targeting. I was originally going to get an object I could shave down – but this will work too and I already have it!

I am not sure whether to put this behavior into the foundations or the tricks category. It is, after all, a foundation for SO many other things! I ended up going with tricks – but know it is a foundation as well! Paw targets are the foundation of pushing easy buttons, door bells, light switches, operating door handles, closing cabinets with a paw … and the list goes on and on!

July 22, 2023: … and the journey continues!

July 23, 2023: paw target nerdery!

Single-paw target

I started with a brief session just like yesteday: feeding continuously as long as the paw was on the lid.

Then I started using “Good,” retreating my treat hand to home position and blinking as a transition behavior between marker and food delivery. This was clearly harder for Chai (and me!): she started getting dancing feet (well, less of a stable right paw) and I had to really pay attention in order to not blink and feed simultaneously.

For our next session(s?), I’ll volley back and forth between continuously feeding in position without a marker and then go back to trying good again, placing the camera next to the wall (closet) this time so I have better view of my treat hand as well as Chai’s right paw.

See what I’m doing here? I’m writing my training plan for the next session right after reviewing the video, which I did right after taking it (training). When I do another session later today or tomorrow, I just have to read my notes here and remember exactly what I want to do.

July 25, 2023: 3 “Paw!” sessions

I’ll work on the single-paw target and always keep it on the ground for now – for all 3 sessions I’m thinking of. If any of them don’t go as planned, I’ll go back to the drawing board.

Session 1

Plan: I’ll use the paw target glass and add the cue from different angles.

Session 2

Plan: if session #1 goes well, I’ll use just the lid – no glass, no cue – in session #2.

Session 3

Plan: if session #2 goes well, I’ll re-attache the cue to the flat (lid only) target.


Chai made two mistakes in this session (only 3 of 4 toes on target). I shouldn’t have missed the first one because reviewing the video, I can see her paw is on my finger – and if I can feel it on my finger, it can’t be on the lid. The second one was an understandable miss on my part. I want to reduce the error rate – will go back to session #2 (no cue) next time and make sure I don’t click when I can feel part of Chai’s paw on my hand! This should reduce the error rate. I’m loving these nerdy details, Chai!

July 26, 2023: paw target with cut-out in puzzle mat

We’re repeating yesterday’s last two single paw target sessions!

Session 1

Plan: no cue – make sure not to click when I can feel toes on my hand.

Chai struggled with the first session – my hand was in the way a lot andwhen I took it away, she’d topple the lid. So I cut the session short, cut a lid-shaped opening into the puzzle mat and tried again:

Final count on the video above, after reviewing it:
Perfect: 7
Less than perfect: 9
Can’t tell from the video angle whether it’s perfect or less than: 1

This looks better but not quite as close to perfect as I’d like it to be. I’m not re-attaching the cue in the next session (which I’m “dying” to do) – I’m going to do a session with the lid on the glass tomorrow (easier target), followed by another lid-only session without my hand in the way … And depending on how that one looks, we’ll take it from there. If it looks great – I’ll attach the cue in the session after. If it doesn’t – we may toggle back and forth between lid only and lid on glass a few more times before attaching the cue to the lid. I may also find a way to make the surface of the lid more prominent so it’s easier for Chai to feel when she’s fully on it.

July 30, 2023: our final 2 single-paw sessions (for the moment – we’ll build on this trick later when I teach Chai to cross her paws!)

Session 1

I did our session as planned: glass under the lid, no cue. Chai is doing much better about not letting her toes hang off on the side of the glass, but it’s hard for her to keep her toenails from sticking out in front. And I am now going for killer precision and making her work hard! (I know this dog and that I can wait her out. I would NOT do this with a dog I didn’t know well or who was less gritty about getting it right in order to earn that click in order to get that single piece of kibble!)

Session 2

Because this is DIFFICULT, I repeated the same set-up (glass under the lid) for session 2. I taped some of my non-slip surface to the lid – it seems to help! In this session, I focus on finding rather than staying on target and I ease up on the toenail criterion.

The non-slip surface lid really seemed to help! Go puppy!

For the time being, I’m happy with Chai’s single-paw target behavior. We’ll pick back up further down the line when I’ll use it to teach her to cross her paws (a trick I think I’ll name “Cool!”)

In case I want to get nerdier with precision again after all – here are my notes for the next session:

+ Repeat what I did today.
+ No toenail criterion but keep all the others.
+ Only loose the glass once it looks perfect with the glass.

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