This training game is obtained from a dolphin research job in which I and also others participated, "The artistic porpoise: training for novel actions," published in the Journal of Experipsychological Analysis of Behavior in 1969. It has become a favorite through dog trainers. It"s especially excellent for "crossover" dogs with a long history of correction-based training, since it urges mental and also physical flexibility and also provides the dog courage to try somepoint on its own.

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Tip one

Take an ordinary cardboard box, any type of size. Cut the sides down to around three inches, and also put the box on the floor. Click the dog for looking at the box. Treat. If the dog goes near or previous the box, even by accident, click. Next off, after you click, toss the treat close to or in the box. If the dog steps towards package to gain the treat, click the step and toss an additional treat. If he measures right into the box, good, click again, also if he is eating his previous treats, and offer him an additional treat in your hand also.

Sometimes you have the right to cook up the majority of "box action" in a hurry this way: click for stepping toward or into the box. Alternately toss the treat in package and also host the treat out in your hand also so the dog has to come back to you. If the dog is reluctant to step right into the box, and so does not eat that treat, it doesn"t matter: he knows he acquired it. If treats accumulate in package, fine. When he does step right into the box, he"ll obtain a jackpot. If you decide to sheight the session before that happens, fine. Pick up the treats in the box, and also put them amethod for a later on session. Remember, never treat without clicking first, and constantly click for a reason: for some activity of the dog"s.

If you need even more behavior to click, you have the right to move yourself to different parts of the room so the box is in between you and the dog, raising the likelihood of measures in the direction of the box. Don"t contact the dog, do not pat the box, don"t chat, do not encourage the dog, and also don"t "help" him. All of that stuff might just make him even more suspicious. Click foot activities towards package, never mind from just how much away, and also then treat. If you obtain in five or 6 great clicks, for relocating in the direction or near or past the box, and also then the dog "loses interest" and also goes ameans, fine. You deserve to always play "box" aobtain later on. In in between sessions, the reinforcements you did acquire in will certainly carry out their work-related for you; each little session will make points livelier the following time.

You are, after all, teaching your dog new rules to a new game. If you have actually currently trained your dog by typical techniques, the dog may be respecting the general dominion, "Wait to be told what to execute." So the first dominance of this new game, "Do something on your very own, and I will click," is a toughie. In that situation, package game is especially valuable, and the initially tiny steps are particularly exciting—although they would be invisible to an onlooker, and also may ideal currently seem invisible to you.

End the first session via a "click for nothing" and also a jackpot consisting of either a handful of treats, or a free grab at the whole bowl. Hmm. That"ll obtain him reasoning. The next time that cardboard box comes out, he will be alert to brand-new possibilities. Clicks. Treats. Jackpots.

"That cardboard box provides my person behave strangely, but on the whole, I favor this new strangeness. Box? Somepoint I have the right to carry out, myself? With that box?"

Those are new principles, but they will come.

If your dog is extremely suspicious, you might must do the initially exercise over aget as soon as, or twice, or a number of times, till he "believes" somepoint a huguy can phrase thus: "All that is going on right here is that the click sound suggests my person offers me delicious food. And package is not a trap, the box is a signal that click and also treat time is right here, if I have the right to simply uncover out exactly how to make my perchild click."

Tip two

Whether these points take place in the very same session or numerous sessions later, here are some actions to click. Click the dog for stepping in package, for pushing package, pawing the box, mouthing package, smelling package, dragging the box, picking up the box, thumping the box—in short, for anypoint the dog does via the box.

Remember to click WHILE the behavior is going on, not after the dog stops. As shortly as you click, the dog will stop, of course, to get his treat. But bereason the click marked the actions, the dog will perform that behavior aobtain, or some version of it, to try to gain you to click aacquire. You execute not shed the habits by interrupting it through a click.

You might finish up in a wild flurry of box-associated behavior. GREAT! Your dog is already learning to problem-solve in an innovative method. If you gain swamped, and can"t decide which point to click, just jackpot and also end the session. Now YOU have actually something to think around between sessions.

On the other hand also, you may acquire a more systematic, sluggish, careful experimentation by the dog: the dog carefully repeats just what was clicked before. One paw in the box, say. Fine—but appropriate amethod YOU need to come to be flexible about what you click, or you will certainly finish up as a matched pair of behavioral bookends. Paw, click. Paw, click. Paw, click. That is not the method to win this game.

So, once the dog begins to offer the habits the exact same way, repetitively, withorganize your click. He puts the paw out, you wait. Your behavior has actually changed; the dog"s habits will readjust, as well. The dog could save the paw tright here longer; fine, that"s something brand-new to click. He could pull it out; you can click that, once or twice. He might put the various other paw in, too—fine, click that. Now he may attempt something brand-new.

And? Wbelow carry out we go from here? Well, as soon as your dog has actually uncovered that messing about via package is supposedly the suggest of this game, you will have sufficient habits to select from, so that you have the right to currently start to click just for particular actions, behaviors that aim towards a setup. It"s as if you have a entirety box of Scrabble letters, and also you are going to begin selecting letters that spell a word. This process is component of "shaping."

Step three

Variations and also final products: What might you form from cardboard box behaviors?

Get in package and remain there

Initial behavior: Dog puts paw in box. Click, toss treats. Then don"t click, simply wait and see. Maybe you"ll obtain two paws in box. Click. Now obtain 4 paws in box. Get dog in box. Options: Sitting or lying in box; continuing to be in box until clicked; continuing to be in box till called, then clicked for coming.

Uses: Placed the dog to bed. Placed the dog in its cprice. Let children amusage themselves and also make friends through the dog by clicking the dog for hopping into a box and out aget (works through cats, too). One third-grade teacher takes her papillon to institution on distinct occasions days, in a picnic basket. When the basket is opened up, the dog hops out, plays with the kids, and then hops ago in aacquire.

Behavior: Carry the box

Initial behavior: Dog grabs the edge of the box in its teeth and lifts it off the floor.

Uses: Millions. Carry a box. Carry a basket. Placed points away: magazines earlier on the pile, playthings in the toy box. A dog that has actually learned the generalised or generic preeminence, "Lifting things in my mouth is reinforceable," can learn many type of added skills.

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Behavior: Tip package over onto yourself

I don"t know what great this is, but it"s not hard to get; it crops up often in the "101 Things to Do with a Box" game. If the dog paws the close to edge of package tough enough, it will certainly flip. My Border terrier, Skookum, discovered that he might tip the living-room wastebasket (wicker, bowl-shaped, empty) over on himself, so that he was covert inside it. Then he scooted about in tright here, making the wastebasket relocate mysteriously across the floor. It was without a doubt the funniest thing any type of of our dinner guests had actually ever before viewed a dog do. Due to the fact that terriers love being laughed with (but never before at), clicks and also treats were not crucial to keep the behavior as soon as he had actually found it—and he learned to wait till he was invited to do it, generally as soon as we had firm.