Reply To: Annie Ingersoll & Dottie



Dottie targets readily and reliably to the scent container (tea-ball, usually), in hand or on the floor. I am struggling with her box hides, as she thinks the boxes are toys. I was ignoring the behavior to try to teach her that there is no reward for interacting with an empty box, but it only took a couple times to see that playing with the box was plenty rewarding on its own. I would ignore her, and she would just continue to play, on and on, and more vigorously.

So I tried a few variations. You’ll see them in the video. I thought that if I had her repeat a line of 3 where the odor was in the last box every time, then she might get the idea that she should just bypass the empty containers and proceed to the last one where the food reward will be delivered.

I am certain that she does understand the significance of the odor, at least on some level. On a couple occasions where a target was left behind, or fell from the ledge and was to be retrieved later, she caught wind of the scent and successfully searched them out. Nothing record-breaking, but showed an understanding and desire to locate the odor, nonetheless.

Dottie loves toys and as you can see, will self-reward with things that could pass as toys. So any tips you could give me on how to get her to slow down and be more methodical with the boxes would be welcome! I am seriously considering using cinder blocks or something she can’t move…