This training game is derived from a dolphin research job in which I and also others participated, "The an imaginative porpoise: training for novel behavior," published in the Journal the Experimental analysis of Behavior in 1969. That has end up being a favorite with dog trainers. It"s especially great for "crossover" dogs with a long history of correction-based training, because it urges mental and physical flexibility and gives the dog ship to try something on its own.

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Step one

Take an simple cardboard box, any type of size. Cut the sides down to about three inches, and put the box on the floor. Click the dog for looking at the box. Treat. If the dog goes close to or previous the box, also by accident, click. Next, after friend click, toss the treat close to or in the box. If the dog actions toward package to obtain the treat, click the step and toss an additional treat. If that steps into the box, great, click again, even if he is eat his previous treats, and offer him another treat in her hand.

Sometimes friend can chef up a many "box action" in a hurry this way: click for stepping towards or into the box. Alternately toss the treat in the box and also hold the treat the end in her hand so the dog has to come ago to you. If the dog is wake up to step into the box, and also so doesn"t eat the treat, that doesn"t matter: he to know he acquired it. If treats accumulate in the box, fine. When he walk step right into the box, he"ll obtain a jackpot. If you decide to protect against the session prior to that happens, fine. Pick up the treats in the box, and also put them away for a later session. Remember, never treat without clicking first, and always click for a reason: because that some activity of the dog"s.

If you need more behavior come click, you have the right to move yourself to various parts that the room so package is in between you and also the dog, increasing the likelihood of procedures in the direction the the box. Don"t speak to the dog, don"t pat the box, don"t chat, don"t encourage the dog, and don"t "help" him. All of that ingredient may simply make him an ext suspicious. Click foot movements toward the box, never mind from how much away, and also then treat. If you obtain in 5 or six an excellent clicks, for moving in the direction or close to or past the box, and then the dog "loses interest" and goes away, fine. Girlfriend can constantly play "box" again later. In between sessions, the reinforcements you did acquire in will do their job-related for you; each small session will certainly make points livelier the following time.

You are, after ~ all, teaching her dog new rules come a brand-new game. If you have currently trained your dog by typical methods, the dog might be respecting the basic rule, "Wait to it is in told what to do." therefore the very first rule that this brand-new game, "Do something on her own, and I will click," is a toughie. In the case, the box video game is specifically valuable, and also the an initial tiny actions are especially exciting—although they would be invisible come an onlooker, and may right currently seem invisible to you.

End the very first session v a "click because that nothing" and a jackpot consisting of either a handful of treats, or a cost-free grab in ~ the entirety bowl. Hmm. That"ll obtain him thinking. The next time that cardboard box comes out, he will certainly be alert to brand-new possibilities. Clicks. Treats. Jackpots.

"That cardboard box renders my human being behave strangely, but on the whole, I choose this new strangeness. Box? other I deserve to do, myself? through that box?"

Those are new ideas, yet they will come.

If your dog is very suspicious, you might need to carry out the an initial exercise end again once, or twice, or number of times, till he "believes" other a human could phrase thus: "All that is walking on right here is the the click sound means my person provides me delicious food. And also the box is no a trap, the box is a signal the click and also treat time is here, if I can just uncover out just how to make my human click."

Step two

Whether this things take place in the exact same session or numerous sessions later, right here are some actions to click. Click the dog because that stepping in the box, because that pushing the box, pawing the box, mouthing the box, smell the box, dragging the box, picking up the box, thumping the box—in short, for anything the dog does with the box.

Remember come click while the habits is going on, no after the dog stops. As soon as you click, the dog will stop, the course, to acquire his treat. But since the click significant the behavior, the dog will do that habits again, or some variation of it, to shot to gain you come click again. You carry out not lose the actions by interrupting it through a click.

You may end up in a wild flurry the box-related behavior. GREAT! your dog is currently learning to problem-solve in a creative way. If you gain swamped, and also can"t decide which thing to click, simply jackpot and also end the session. Now YOU have actually something to think around between sessions.

On the various other hand, you may get a an ext methodical, slow, cautious testing through the dog: the dog closely repeats just what to be clicked before. One paw in the box, say. Fine—but right away YOU require to end up being flexible about what girlfriend click, or you will finish up together a matched pair of behavior bookends. Paw, click. Paw, click. Paw, click. That is no the means to success this game.

So, as soon as the dog starts to sell the behavior the very same way, repeatedly, withhold your click. That puts the paw out, you wait. Your actions has changed; the dog"s behavior will change, too. The dog could keep the paw over there longer; fine, that"s something brand-new to click. He can pull that out; you might click that, once or twice. He could put the other paw in, too—fine, click that. Currently he may try something new.

And? Where execute we go from here? Well, once your dog has found that messing roughly with package is supposedly the point of this game, you will have enough habits to choose from, so that you can now start to click only for particular behaviors, behaviors that aim toward a plan. It"s together if you have actually a entirety box the Scrabble letters, and also you are going come start picking letters the spell a word. This process is part of "shaping."

Step three

Variations and final products: What can you shape from cardboard crate behaviors?

Get in the box and also stay there

Initial behavior: Dog put paw in box. Click, toss treats. Then don"t click, simply wait and also see. Maybe you"ll gain two paws in box. Click. Now get four paws in box. Obtain dog in box. Options: sitting or lie in box; remaining in box till clicked; continuing to be in box until called, climate clicked because that coming.

Uses: placed the dog come bed. Placed the dog in that crate. Let children amuse themselves and also make friends with the dog by click the dog because that hopping right into a box and also out again (works v cats, too). One third-grade teacher takes her papillon to college on special occasions days, in a picnic basket. When the basket is opened, the dog hops out, plays through the children, and also then hops earlier in again.

Behavior: lug the box

Initial behavior: Dog take away the leaf of the box in its teeth and also lifts it off the floor.

Uses: Millions. Lug a box. Bring a basket. Put things away: magazines earlier on the pile, toys in the toy box. A dog that has actually learned the generalised or generic rule, "Lifting points in my mouth is reinforceable," have the right to learn many added skills.

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Behavior: guideline the box over onto yourself

I don"t recognize what great this is, yet it"s not difficult to get; it crops up regularly in the "101 things to perform with a Box" game. If the dog paws the near edge that the box tough enough, it will certainly flip. Mine Border terrier, Skookum, found that he could tip the living-room wastebasket (wicker, bowl-shaped, empty) end on himself, so that he was concealed inside it. Then he scooted approximately in there, do the wastebasket relocate mysteriously across the floor. It to be without a doubt the funniest thing any of our dinner guests had ever seen a dog do. Since terriers love gift laughed through (but never ever at), clicks and treats to be not crucial to preserve the habits once that had found it—and that learned to wait until he was invited to do it, usually as soon as we had actually company.