Friday I read Katrin's post Things to with a box! and thought, "Jeez I haven't played that in years!" I happened to have a nice box from an order I recently placed and decided to give it a whirl Friday evening. I figured the dogs (and the humans) would enjoy it.
"101 Things to do with a Box" has never been a favorite game of mine. I think because when I first started clicker training Ike would sit and stare at me - and that was it, literally. Katrin can attest to this. One of the first private lessons I ever took with her was working on this very thing and Ike would barely move. This was before or while we were taking her Foundation class - back when it was 12 weeks. It was also before Ike became operant and realized he wouldn't lose for trying. As things progressed I never went back to it. So, Ike has played variations of it with other objects in the last 4-5 years but Bug never has.
I set the timer for 6 minutes, got out some cubed steak, and had John hold Bug on leash while I worked Ike. Ike was adorable - he moves in lightening fast mode when he is offering behaviors. Slam into a down - that's not it? Bat the box. Stand on the box. Tip the box. I was pretty excited that he was willing to knock the box over. What huge progress. He tends to revert to slamming into a down - not 100% sure that it is the box I want him playing with.
Then it was Bug's turn. I have been working on shaping a "cute" behavior with Bug. When he is in a down he starts to kind of roll over and bat at the air. I find it adorable. We haven't put it on cue yet, but he is starting offer it with some fluidity. This behavior derived from playing doggie zen at agility class. I noticed Bug would try to lean away from the hand with the treat, saying "I am not doing anything to that stinkin' treat, lady" and I decided I wanted this behavior on cue. So I started trying to make it more exaggerated.
Last night Bug started by laying down and staring at me. I did not return eye contact. Then he started offering his "cute" behavior. Nada. Then he got up and looked at the box. c/t. Bug lays down again, gets up and moves closer to the box and very gently touches it with his nose. c/t! Yay, Bug. In Bug's 6 minutes he primarily touched the box with his nose and moved around it.
It was cute how different the boys are. Ike is all about touching with the paws and with force. Bug is VERY gentle and nose touches are his thing. I kept the box and plan on continuing to play with them. I think this is a fun mental workout during our icy winter.
17 hours ago