Monday, October 6, 2014

Positive Pet Training Blog Hop: 101 Thins to Do With a Box

Hey, guys! It's the first Monday of the month, which means it's time for another installment of the Positive Pet Training Blog hop, hosted by Dachshund Nola, Tenacious Little Terrier  and Cascadian Nomads. This month's theme is 101 Things to Do With a Box, but as always any positive based post is welcomed and encouraged.

As I said, this month is 101 Things to Do With a Box. This is a game and clicker training exercise that focuses on shaping (breaking a behavior down into tiny steps and rewarding each one, and slowly upping the ante) or capturing (clicking when the dog offers a behavior of its own accord), depending on your dog. I videoed both Nola and Pike doing this, so you can see the difference. 101 Things is helpful for timid dogs, dogs that have "crossed over" from correction based training, practicing shaping, using the box as a launchpad for other behaviors, ect. You can read more about it here.

This was both the dogs' first sessions with this game, as I don't play it with them, at least not this way. You can see how dramatically different they are when we train, and I'll try to explain it after each one. First, Nola (who snitched a cantaloupe out of the garden and is a bit bloated. Little shit):

What I'm doing with Nola here is primarily capturing with a bit of shaping. As you can see, she immediately puts her head in the box (in this case, a basket) once released from her off camera stay. Click for that. Now that she knows she needs to work out something to do with the box, she hits it with her foot. Click. She figures out she's on the right path, and then she puts her feet into the box, which was the end goal for this session. You can see what this bit progressed into in the video below. This is a few minutes after the above video, as Pike went after here. If you can't see the video, click here.

This is Nola's favorite way to learn. She's very smart, very eager and very quick to learn, and this type of training best exercises that part of her.

EDIT: YouTube is being a bitch and refusing to upload Pike's video fully. If I can get it to upload I'll post it here.

Pike needs shaping. From looking at the box to touching it to putting his head in it, he needs it broken down step by tiny step. As you can see, this is not his strong suit. Nola is an independent thinker and a problem solver, where as Pike wants me to show him what's done. He works almost exclusively with luring, and works best that way. He is much less food motivated and much less responsive to training than Nola is. He prefers to work through play and physical activity, rather than working out his mind. He is only 8 months old though, so hopefully it'll happen more with age. I don't do this type of thing much with him, as it's frustrating for the both of us.

So grab the badge and link up below or at one of the co-hosts' blogs! Happy training!

-Dachshund Mommy


  1. I have a feeling we are going to be trying some games
    Lily & Edward

  2. That looks like so much fun, mom says we might be able to try some! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Who knew a box could be so much fun. Some great ideas!

  4. Ah, Pike and Huxley are a lot a like and (don't get mad at me if it turns out this way for Pike) but Huxley (almost 3!) still prefers training through physical activity and play. Brychwyn also gets a bit frustrated with shaping and capturing but when he and I are both patient with it, what he learns sticks and it sticks amazingly fast. And as expected, Wilhelm is like Nola. He loves the challenge of shaping and offering up anything and everything until he gets it right. He is like this during training sessions and just all the time! I love it.

  5. Our instructor was explaining that there's "flingers" (they offer anything and everything) and "thinkers" (who methodically try to figure out what you want). Sounds like you have one of each!

  6. Nola is so cute and enthusiastic!! I love it! I hope you can get Pike's video uploaded! I want to see it! :D

  7. I enjoyed seeing Nola's shaping. Great clicker timing and a very receptive dog lead to fun things! Shyla and I should try this box challenge!


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