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Bridge & Target Training Overview « The Pawsitive Dog Blog

Bridge & Target Training Overview

Bridge & Target Training is a very simple and clear way of communicating with animals.  It’s easy and fun for you and

Teaching the Terminal Bridge

Teaching the Terminal Bridge

your dog.  There are two “bridges” and three “targets” in the system.  Once mastered, the possibilities are endless. The completion signal, or “terminal bridge”, tells your dog that he has just successfully completed the task you have assigned him. This is cause for some celebration as dogs enjoy being “right” as much as humans do.The progress signal, or “intermediate bridge”, tells your dog he is on the right track toward completing the task you have given him. It’s easy for dogs to get confused, be distracted, or lose confidence when learning new skills or performing complex tasks. This signal helps him stay focused and know that he IS doing a good job so far. It’s a key piece to communicating clearly with them and being supportive of their learning process. It takes only minutes to teach you and your dog the “bridges” so you can get started communicating more clearly.

The three targets, your hand, a target “stick”, and a place marker (like a Post-It) we call the “station” target, allow us to clearly explain to the dog exactly what we want him to do. We also teach the dog names for many of his body parts.

When you put all these pieces together, you can then explain to your dog that you would like him to stand with his hip against the wall touching his “station” target, or move his shoulder toward the target stick, or place his chin in your hand and then help him, with the bridges, to know he is on track and when he has succeeded.

This method gives dogs confidence in trying new things and reduces the learning stress and confusion that is common with many other methods.  The dog is always a willing participant in the process.

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