Canine Master Blog

Teaching “Touch”

Getting an animal to touch a target is many times the first behavior trainers teach. When the animal touches the target, the trainer uses the “marker” or conditioned reinforcer (the clicker) and then follows it with a treat.

Teaching a Grey Parrot “Touch”

Here, I am using a target stick. I initially rubbed a bit of peanut butter on the end of the stick to get the pig interested in touching it. As soon as the pig touches the end of the stick, he hears the click. The click marks the behavior as correct and says a treat is coming.

Once he is repeating the behavior over and over and the behavior is reliable, we give the behavior a name…”touch”. We insert this cue right before the pig offers the behavior about 50-100 times. Soon the pig learns that touch means touch the end of the stick. This pig learned this behavior in about 10 minutes. The touch command is fun and easy to teach.  From here we can use the “touch” cue with other types of targets. We can teach the pig to go to his bed, to turn lights on and off and to do many tricks.

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