Last week we talked about working on the “Watch Me” command and gaining your puppy’s focus and attention. (Read the Watch Me post here.)
In this post, we’ll talk about continuing to increase your puppy’s attention span through box training. Plus, we'll throw in three important tips for training any dog. (Watch the short Box Training video here or scroll down to the bottom of this post.)
Box training works on several desirable traits simultaneously. It teaches them to stay put, to focus, that it’s time to work, and to ignore distractions, to name just a few. It also makes it much easier for you to get your dog to get on other objects like stools, benches, or even tractors.
3 Steps to Box Training
Get the pup used to the box - place the pup on the box, place the front two paws on the box, encourage them to jump up, entice the pup to jump on the box, etc. The goal is to simply build an awareness and comfort level about the box.
Begin to keep them on the box for longer periods of time. Start very small here; twenty seconds can be a success! Slowly work your way up to fifteen minutes of being on the box. It doesn’t matter what position they are in at this point as long as they are on the box. Sitting, standing, and lying down are all options.
Once fifteen minutes is achieved, you can begin to introduce distractions like rolling a ball on the ground in front of them.
There is no need to rush these steps. Read your pup and break these steps down into as many training sessions as needed to build your puppy's confidence, success, and happiness.
3 Important Points to Note When Doing Any Dog Training
It’s important to reward them at appropriate times throughout the training session to reinforce the behavior you want. However, we don’t want them to think they are done every time they are rewarded, or you say “good job,” “yes,” or “good box.”
Notice the example of “good box” in the point above. Do use the word “good” in front of any command word. Use that phrase when rewarding and praising them for that thing. Think “good sit,” “good down,” or “good box.”
Have a release word like “Okay” or “All Done” and use it anytime you release them from a job or task you’ve given them.