Friday, December 11, 2009

Four Feet In a Box

(Seeker and his "Red Neck" Swimming Pool)

I've had a few questions regarding the
'box work game'
that we played during puppy class.

I put together a little flip video.

I took this video by myself..sorry!
One hand on the flip, one hand using the
clicker and tossing the treats
that were piled on the floor.
(Yes, easily accessible to Seeker,
if he felt the need to dive for them.)
(He doesn't and didn't)

My placement of reward wasn't always
where it should have been.
I needed a 3rd or 4th hand!

You'll also notice at one point
Seeker picks up the box.
That means he wasn't sure
what I wanted, (he offered other behaviors)
and my rewards weren't frequent enough
for the behavior I did want.
Simply put it back or hold it for a bit.

I began with a rather large box.
I couldn't find the one I started with,
so I used this large tote lid instead.

I also sit on the floor while playing this game.

As your dog approaches the lid, click and
drop your treat "on the lid".
You're placement should be where
you want the dog.
Click = treat and end of game!

So, you progress to one foot,
click and treat.
Maybe two feet, c&t.
Your results will vary and is
dependent upon how clicker
savvy your dog is, and how good
you are about clear criteria.

The 3rd and 4th (especially) can be
difficult. You'll want to watch for
any lift of the 3rd or 4th foot and click that.
If they dog passes through the box
and the 3rd or 4th foot go in, CLICK!
You might think it was just an
accident, but they GET IT!

Now you're asking yourself...
"Why don't I just pick up the dog
and put him in the box."

That's not the point of this exercise.
The point is to get your dog to
interact with you and think!
Here's the problem puppy, you solve it!

Now, there are other positives that
come out of this game.
You're dog learns more about
his body and how to manipulate it.
He's also learning to keep trying!
You're also building a great
working relationship!

Once your dog understand the
"big" box, you can down size.

Seeker doesn't have a command for this box
behavior yet. I don't necessarily
"Love" the performance all the time.
I'll name it when I LOVE IT!
He's still a little frantic at
times and does a lot of foot shuffling.
Part of that is due to the cookies
(yes, I use Mini Marshmallows!)
that are flying all over the place.

Once I have a reliable '4 in the box',
I'll put a name to it.
If anyone has a great name,
Please let me know!

What I need to do is go back up a
couple sizes and get him to
hold all four feet in.
(Saying 'stay' or 'wait' is CHEATING!!!)
It MUST be His idea!

After he's solid there, then
I'll down size once more.

It's a great game to play when you're stuck inside
and your both suffering from


  1. OMG! Thank you for explaining this process!! I've read a few other people's posts on this and wasn't sure what the point was, what you were trying to get, and how the progression was supposed to go. This totally makes sense now!:)

  2. click/treat (consider it chocolate!)to you for doing such a good job on the video. I probably would have tried to click the marshmallow and treat with the Flip!! Good boy Seeker! Now you just need to come up with a good name for it!

  3. This is crazy fun. Tossing the food IN the box has helped tremendously, thanks. It is so much fun watching him try to figure out what to do with his hind end. We're at 3 feet and holding in a smaller box but his tail never stops wagging.

  4. A couple more thoughts. Since most 'dog trainers are OCD', (YES, I'm talking to YOU!!) limit the number of treats per session. Maybe 10-15 treats, very short, intense sessions are best. Be aware of your dog's size, age and breed when down sizing your box. A smaller agile dog will be able to do a smaller box than a bigger, heavier dog.