All dogs need mental exercise. Imagine if you were in a white walled room, no windows, no television. You might take a nap. But what do you do after that? Pace around? Start shredding thr couch?
People are overwhelmed with stimulation all day long. We have work, conversations, television, radio, computers, phones, cars, and more! How long has it been since you have sat completely in silence? Probably a long time.... (if ever!).
Dogs need that stimulation too (physical and mental!)! Bored dogs will get into trouble! They will go out and find a way to entertain themselves! And do you blame them? I don't. But with this easy and fun game you can spend a few minutes with your dog and let them work out a puzzle. Let them work that mind of theirs!
This is great for mental stimulation, to help fearful dogs learn to interact with objects, to help you learn how to shape behaviors, and to play with your dog.
Grab a box, your clicker, some treats, and your dog and you are ready to begin. You can play two ways:
1) Shape for a particular behavior like paws in the box, picking the box up or flipping it.
Here is how to shape for a particular behavior. In this example I'll describe picking the box up.
Click and treat any interaction with the box.
Then start to click and treat for any interaction with your dogs mouth and the box.
Then click and treat if your dog puts his/her teeth on the box, or puts his/her mouth over a box flap
Then click and treat for bites/lifts off the ground
If you want to put it on cue, add the cue when the behavior is happening reliably (about 5 times in a row). Say your cue just as the behavior happens, then click and treat the behavior.
2) Click and treat your dog for interactions.
Click and treat your dog for doing anything with the box: looking at it, touching it with his/her mouth, using a foot to touch it, moving it, flipping it, etc.
The box is normally in good condition and can be used for multiple games! So go ahead! What are you waiting for? Grab a box and your cicker and treats and go have fun!