4th Class

Food Puzzles.

AKA Throw Out The Food Bowl!  A great way to give your puppy's brain a full workout before you start your day.

You can get really creative here, make your own, borrow from friends, or ask Grandma...they make wonderful Christmas/Birthday gifts. At the moment I'm switch between a couple of Jasper's favourite food puzzles every couple of days. The current ones in use are The Brick, by Nina Ottosson, and Green Grass, by Northmate.

Homemade ideas:

  • An empty pop bottle with treats inside. They have to roll the bottle around to get the treats.
  • Old muffin tin. Hide treats in the bottom and place a ball/small stuffed toy on top of each treat.

"On Your Bed"

A great tool for helping you keep your pup out of the kitchen, away from the front door when guests are arriving, or allowing you to pee in private!

Remember the 3xD? Duration. Distance. Distraction. You always want to set your puppy up for success, so build up to the harder challenges gradually, with lots of fun practice sessions.

  • Standing in front of the bed, point to it and say "On your bed", click and reward you puppy for stepping onto it.
  • Progress to clicking and rewarding for your puppy offering a Sit/Down (unprompted if possible). Increase the Duration on the Sit/Down, progressing from 1 second to 5-10 seconds before clicking.
  • Add a little Distance. Remember to click at the end, once you have stepped back to your original starting position in front of your puppy.
  • Tip: If your puppy is still on the bed after you have clicked and rewarded you can release with "Okay" and throw a second cookie away from the bed so they have to get off and you are able to start again.
  • Once you've built up your Duration and Distance you can add small Distractions, such as going into the kitchen to switch on the tap, or using the wash room. If your puppy gets up to follow you, try again but make it simple.

"Leave It" - Treat In-Hand

Step 1. Place a treat in your hand. When your puppy shows interest in your hand, hold it still and say, “Leave it.” If necessary, close your hand to keep your puppy from getting the treat, but don’t move your hand away.

Step 2. As soon as your pup moves his nose away or loses interest, click or mark with a “Yes”, then treat from your other hand. Use a treat as good as or better than the one you asked your pup to leave.

Step 3. Gradually move your hand containing the treat closer to the ground. If you place the treat on the treat on the floor, make sure you can cover it with you hand/foot if your pup tries to grab it.

"Wait" - A variation on Leave It

If you're asking your puppy to sit while you place a treat on the ground, and then release them to "go get it", I would recommend using the cue "Wait", instead of "Leave it".

My definition of Leave It is: "Don't even think about it!" or "You're never going to get it, so pay attention to me instead and I'll make it worth your while!"

"Wait" on the other hand implies that if your puppy is patient, and waits until Released, they will get that treat on the floor.

Using Leave It for both treats on the floor that they are allowed to have, vs garbage they find on a walk, it can become confusing.