Today before I left for class, I worked on nose targeting a target stick with both dogs. This particular target stick came with the Manners Minder and has a base that makes it into a verticle target (although I may stick it into something else, because the base is tippy and it throws both dogs off after an enthusiastic nose touch).
Perrin understood immediately that the game was about the target stick, and that it involved his face. The only problem is that he thought that he should take it, rather than touch it with his nose. We had to step backwards from where I thought we could start, to clean up the nose touching. I want nose touches of the foam target only. No grabbing the stick, no biting the foam ball, no licking. Once I clear up that understanding, I think the rest of the training (adding it to the base, moving the base around, adding distance, adding a cue) will likely progress more smoothly as Perrin is fairly familiar with those things. Well, other than adding a cue. I never assume that will go well. (NOTE TO SELF: check TEAM rules to see if I can set up the target stick when I need it. Then I can just use the context cue of the target stick being in the training space for the time being).
Sei picked up the nose targeting super duper fast. He has a very limited repertoire of behaviours at the moment, none of which has a huge reinforcement history behind it. However nose touches with my hand have one of the stronger histories (second only to sitting). His first guess on what to do with the target stick was to nose touch it, and he was quickly following the stick around to new positions to touch it. Good start!