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Discussion Starter #1
Just curious...

Is there a timeframe when puppies start to understand to look where you're pointing and not to look at your finger? Is this automatic or are there training steps I can take to work her through it?

Thanks for any feedback!
 

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In what specific context do you mean this? Pointing down at your feet to a treat? Or pointing far off into the woods for the dog to find the ball they just lost? Or something else entirely?
 

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Both, all. :) She's 11 weeks old and no matter how or why we're pointing at something for her to look at...she doesn't yet get that concept. Was wondering if it's something I have to work on with her?
 

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Ha! Stosh still bites my hand when I'm pointing to something really interesting like a grasshopper- and he's 7 mos old! He's still so focused on me and my hands- your pup is so young you've got a ways to go.
 

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I know, you point to something really great and all she wants to do is eat your finger. Our female Uschi just starting catching on to 'look' at about 8 mos, Stosh is pretty slow and thinks pointing and 'look' means there must be a treat involved. Your little one's world is so small right now that your finger is about how far she's going to go...time will go fast and she'll find the rest of the world as she develops.
 

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While dogs do excel at following a pointed finger- I still think it's a learned behavior. Dogs need to learn that the gesture means something. Think about how you inadvertently teach a dog to look down. You drop something, maybe some food, point at the ground. Dog doesn't understand so you point on the item itself, drawing the dog vision and smell to the thing you dropped. You might even say "get it!" Over time the dog learns that when you point to the ground or say "get it" there is a reward on the ground and will instantly drop it's head and use it's sense of smell to find the item.

Consider the Voraus- An exercise where a dog is sent in a direction that is indicated with an out stretched arm. Often we will start the exercise with placing a toy at a visual marker where the dog can see it...When the dog sights in on that marker we will use the gesture and the word and release the dog. With extension the gesture becomes a cue to sight in on a visual marker and move towards it.

Intersting study about dogs and finger pointing.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090723194319.htm
 

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Yes, it's like what JKlatsky describes with training the voraus. You put a big toy (like a jolly ball) some distance away, hold the dog back, get the dog screaming to get to the toy, and right before you release the dog, POINT at the toy. Do this enough times the pointing gesture will become attached to the act of going out for his ball in the dog's mind. Do this even more times and the dog will start wanting to go out in whichever direction you point at.
 
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