Monday, April 4, 2011

Four Feet In A Box

I've seen the four feet in a box trick done by a few different people, but each one of them has a herding breed dog. The dogs that you would typically think about as "traditional" breeds. I never really thought too much of it other than it looked neat to have a dog balancing with four feet inside a tiny space. As I've mentioned before, we've been following along with the Smooth Sailin' Agility blog's trick a week. While we don't usually accomplish training a trick a week, it's given me some great things to try with the dogs. And they are having a blast! When she posted the Four Feet In A Box trick, I decided to go for it and see how far I got with the dogs. Technically, our only limitation was the size of the dogs feet. I am very proud to say that the dogs did great! We don't do trick training on back to back days and we don't train the same trick(s) each session. I've found that the dogs are more eager for our training sessions when they have at least a day in between without. So we've been slowly picking away at this trick and got to as small of a container as I can manage for each dog. And here's the video:

Once we progressed beyond the plastic containers, we hit a bit of a road block with the cardboard box. First I kept the sides too high and the dogs were having a more difficult time balancing and figuring out how to maneuver each foot over tall sides. Once I cut the sides of the boxes down, things moved along a lot quicker.

Then I had a problem with the bottom of the boxes being too slick. The front were fine pressed up against the front of the box, but the back feet would slide as they were getting placed. This led to more cautious dogs who weren't really thrilled about trying to balance on a relatively slick surface. I tried spraying the bottom of the box with water, but that just got absorbed and we were back to the same low traction. I tried adding hair spray to the bottom to make it sticky, but that didn't really work either. The one trick that I found worked really well was coating the bottoms with duct tape. And we just happened to have some neon orange duct tape "lying around." :) Once there was traction, the dogs were happy.

Bess impressed me the most with her little box that she was able to balance in. Heffner's feet just wouldn't all fit in there and I wasn't about to even try it. I continued to work with him in his smallest box, while I continued to work with Bess.

I was also impressed with how Bess went from being very cautious about offering anything to happily hopping in and out of the box and being willing to actually try offering things. I should make a video of that alone. If you could see the entirety of her very first video compared with her last one, it was a HUGE difference.

Happy training!


Kennedy said...

Crazy small box!

brooke said...

that was so fun! I want to try it with Darwin! I just have to find boxes!

Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

That's great!!! the more shaping you do the faster each trick will go!

Mango said...

OK, I'm ready to try that one again. I have had a terrible time getting Mango to put three feet in at once. Patience, patience.

Great job.

Mango Momma