I built my own target wand today. One light metal (aluminum?) rod, one small plush ball, and some electrical tape. I made a goal today to teach him to target the end of the wand (the soft, green ball) without any verbal ANYTHING from me. Heck, without any body language, as much as I could stifle that, anyway.
Rules: Renji must touch the ball with his nose. Touching the stick does not count. I may only mark with the clicker, nothing more. The only reward is food. I cannot talk to him nor encourage him with my voice nor body. I cannot wave the wand around or lure him with it.
Renji was curious with me messing with stuff so I knew it'd be easy to get him to sniff the end- just hold it out. I held it out near his head, he put his nose to the ball (the target) to sniff, instant click then treat. I can tell now that we're doing extensive clicker work that that *click* makes quite an impression as it's obvious in his facial expression. I did a few more with the target in close proximity to his face and it was pretty clear he had it down. At one point I held it out and he tried doing some other tricks like sit and down, and I just held the wand and waited, staring at the target. Finally he came up to sniff/touch, and he got a click + treat. He's learning- testing what is going on to see if anything else will garner a reward, then learning it's only the target.
We then tried it at greater distances and also at various heights. Touch the target on the floor, touch it in the air so that you have to stand on your hind paws, move a few feet to touch the target, etc. I even put the target up to his rear and he curled around to touch it.
At one point he tested the targeting again and after waiting for awhile I had to move it closer, then he targeted and got his click/treat. It was after this that I was able to move to greater distances.
This was all done in one session of just.... 5-10 minutes. All with only the clicker, no voice or body language. Very cool.
Hopefully this will be useful at some point. Renji already knows how to target to bucket lids on the ground but this will be a more precise method of targeting. We'll see where I can go with this.