These pictures show “Neutral Targets”, used to see if an animal ‘gets’ a concept. The horse is first asked to show which target is “Low” Then the animal is asked to show which target is “High”.

If we used a single target, or if we moved a single target into place during the question, the positioning of the target could cue the animal as to where “High” or “Low” were. By having both possible targets in place at once, the horse must choose, relying on the understanding of the word cue.

However, when first teaching the concepts “High” and “Low”, only one target will be available, in the correct position. This allows us to create a success, and label it – demonstrating the meaning of the word, on the spot. So, I ask for “Low” and extend a low target. As the animal makes contact, I say, “X, Low”. I would do the same for “High”, but with a high target. Then, to check for understanding, I would extend both targets simultaneously, and ask the animal to choose the one I ask for. For example, “Show me ‘High'”.

Most animals only need to be shown once or twice, and no more than three times. If you bore them because you are trying to steal time and have not done your training organization ahead of time, you will lose their interest. Shame on you.

Rather than bore your animal, simply let him rest between trials. This will help him to remember everything you teach. Use that time to get organized for your next step. Maybe “Right” versus “Left.”