Sunday, July 25, 2010

Scrapbook - Find It!

Step 1: Take a stack of paper (I used 24 sheets of cheap notebook paper) and wad each sheet up into a loose ball.

Step 2:  Toss the paper balls into a paper bag. (To add an element of human enrichment, place the paper bag on the opposite side of the room. Two points if you make it, three if you make it cleanly, and four if you can keep your dog from pulling the wads out as fast as you toss them in.)

Step 3: Take your dog and put him in a sit or down, whichever he is more likely to hold. (Three guesses as to which I put Zachary in.)

Step 4: Dump the paper wads onto the floor in front of the dog. (Is your dog still where he's supposed to be? What a good dog!)

Step 5: Show the dog a cookie, then wad it up in the middle of Yet Anther Piece of Paper.

Step 6: Make a big show of shuffling the wads around. (Is your dog still where you left him? Pat yourself on the back for teaching a great stay!)

Step 7: Stand back, and give your release/Find It! command.

Want to make it harder? Instead of tossing the balls into a bag, put your dog into a down and toss the wads on the ground in front of him. To make it easier, set the whole thing up with your dog blocked out of the room.

Beau didn't have any problems with this at all. He is a careful, methodical searcher and found the right wad the first time, every time. His way of indicating is to take the wad and nose it out of the pile, at which point I open it up and give him the cookie, toss that one paper wad (tainted with cookie smell), put him back in a down, get a clean sheet of paper, and start up at Step 5.

It took Zachary a few tries to figure out what game we were playing. I think he was just having a lot of fun shuffling the wads around, until he finally figured out there was food in one of them. After that, he settled down to searching, but his technique is poor (random and rushed) so it takes him longer. His method of indicating is to put a paw on it and attempt to disembowel the helpless paper wad.

(As always, you can click on the image above to see it larger)

(Editors Note #1: I got this idea from a Zoo's Enrichment page while trying to find a definition for Enrichment that I could actually understand for my Canine Enrichment? post. While I failed in my original quest, I think the boys enjoyed this particular activity.)

(Editors Note #2: The incredibly observant might notice a slight change in the description of this blog. 

  1. It was brought to my attention that without the words "dog blog" in either the title or the description, the search engines have a hard time indexing it correctly -and-
  2. It can't be "A" journey (singular), as I have TWO dogs.)

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