Why you should teach your dog to use an iPad

Here is a terrific article from School for The Dogs about Why you should teach your dog to use an iPad. It’s a three-paws up Must-Read! I’ve re-posted some of it here, but read the entire article to learn more about the process and which apps are best for teaching nose touch to your pup!

Why you should teach your dog to use an iPad

 

At School For The Dogs , my training partner Kate and I have been doing something kind of silly recently: We’ve been teaching dogs to use iPads.

The idea of teaching dogs to use touchscreen devices came to me a few years ago after I read an a spoof article in TheAwl called The Most Emailed New York Times Article Ever, about an overachieving Ivy League college applicant girl whose hobbies included breeding ibexes, studying Borscht Belt comedy, learning Mandarin, and teaching her dog to use an iPad. Goats, Yiddish jokes and Chinese don’t interest me much, but I thought: “I could totally teach my dog to use an iPad.

Since then, we’ve shown several dozen dog owners how to manipulate touch screen Apple devices. Today, The Wall Street Journal put up an article and a video about our efforts.

Why Dogs Should Learn Tricks 

I love teaching silly stuff to dogs. It’s something that you can do to spend time with your dog and keep him mentally engaged without the need for a lot of space, time or money. And the more silly behaviors your dog can learn to do reliably on cue, the better he’ll be at understanding you when you need to teach important stuff.

“Touch” is one of the first “tricks” we teach dogs in our classes. It simply involves communicating to a dog that he can touch something with his nose, and something good will happen — usually that good thing is the sound of a clicker, which predicts the presence of a small food treat. Teaching a dog that he can affect the outcome of his environment simply by touching something with his nose is a way to build confidence and a way to clue him into the fact that he can get good things out of humans without having to resort to jumping or barking.

The Importance of teaching “Touch 

There are lots of applications for nose touches. If a dog will reliably touch his nose to your outstretched palm, you can quickly build a really good “come” — just hold out your hand, and your dog will go to it. It’s also a way to lead them around a space (they’ll follow your hand). And it’s a step towards teaching them to close doors, or drawers. My training partner Kate, for example, taught her dog Disco to close the door behind her when she is carrying out her laundry. Here he is closing the fridge.

Teaching a dog to use an iPad can be a first step towards generalizing the idea of “touch” — he can learn it can work on objects, not just hands.

TO READ MORE – Click here.

NOTE: If you are in the NYC area…

If you’d like to teach your dog to operate your touchscreen device, we will be holding our iDog clinic for four dogs on August 20th at our Gramercy studio. We recommend your dog have a solid hand “touch” prior to class. Signup on our site , or give us a call at 212-353-DOGS.