Article Indication

First, you will need some articles. You can start with scraps or samples around 3 inches square, pieces of leather, wood, and carpet. Training with different materials and on different surfaces including grass and dirt will help to generalize the indication. Once your dog understands articles, you can challenge him by making them smaller and hiding them partially in the substrate. Make sure you scent the articles well by keeping them in your pocket for at least 30 minutes before starting.

This exercise is easy to do entirely by shaping. Put a well scented article on the ground and click and reward when the dog looks at it. After about 5 repetitions, the dog will probably start moving towards the article, reward for moving to the article, and then reward for putting his nose on the article. However, don't reward him for picking the article up in his mouth (ignore him until he drops it, and reward at that point.) You might need to hold the article down with your finger for a couple of repetitions so that you can reward the dog for NOT mouthing the article. Then, begin to reward for any paw movement towards the article. Often a dog will start with one paw, then offer a play bow, and then a down. If they stop interacting with the article, you are not rewarding often enough, or are asking too much. Step back in your training and reward for a look towards the article again. Reward the dog for going up to and laying down near the article and then begin to ask for the article to be between the paws before clicking.

The entire playlist of videos for article indication is available on my youtube channel, click here.





Move articles around, take them outside on grass and dirt, place them in a different room of the house and ask the pup to "find it" so that he learns that articles with your scent on them are a good trade for food. If you would like to put a command with the behavior, you can pair the correct behavior with the command, by saying "article" before the click. Then you are ready to use it on your track. If you use 2 lines to track, it is easier to stop him turning towards you when you give the article command. Make sure you are right up beside him as he gets to the article so you can reward as soon as he downs.