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In my previous blog post, we looked at a game called “Taking Back the Keys to the Cookie Jar” … and today I’ve got another cookie related game for you. Remember that a cookie could be anything your dog finds reinforcing.

The game I’m sharing with you today absolutely needs the foundation of ItsYerChoice (IYC) for you and your dog to have success. I know that many of you reading this do have that foundation so that is why I’m sharing this progression.

If you have not played IYC, head on over and join in with our free ItsYerChoice Summit, and then come back to this game.

Forget It to Get It Cookie Jar Game!

This is a game to grow ItsYerChoice in daily life. It’s especially useful if you find your dog staring at your pocket, treat bag, the toy you left out, or any “cookie” that may be in view. It will help make you aware of your responses to your dog’s responses. It’s easy to play, but as I said, you do need the foundations of IYC!

I’m making the assumption that your dog is hanging out with you when you start this game.

Have cookies in a jar on a table or bench … your cookie jar could be any sort of container, even a bait pouch. Open the cookie jar and move the cookies around, then close the jar, walk away and go back to what you were doing.

20 mins later (or however long it takes for your dog to forget you had your hand in the cookie jar) go back to the cookie jar, open it, and take one out… move to the sink or another counter or a table, and put the cookie there (or wherever you want, just so it’s in view), and then go back to the computer, watching television or whatever it is you want to do.

When your dog “forgets” about the cookie, get his attention and ask him to “sit” or for another behaviour you know he will perform successfully, then release your dog and run with him to where you left the cookie and reward him with that cookie. If you have strong foundations of my Collar Grab Game, you can play that and then run with your dog to the cookie. The “work” earns the cookie, not just because you went by the cookie jar.

Your dog needs to forget about the cookie, to get the cookie!

If you have a dog who LOVES toys, you can use your “toys in a bag” from the foundations of my ItsYerChoice game and play with a toy.

Dogs can be hilarious in this game, and they will tell you “but, but, but, there is a COOKIE!!”.

It’s a way to let our dogs know that just because we have treats or toys, it does not mean they are going to be handed treats or toys.

It’s also an excellent game for you to be aware of what you are rewarding your dog for. If you hand him cookies out of your bait pouch or pocket mindlessly, it will not be a surprise that you find your dog’s attention focused on that pouch or pocket.

 

Tater was experienced at stealing reinforcement when he came to live with us, now he is quite the poster child for IYC and the progressions on the game.

 

Remember, the “Forget It to Get It Cookie Jar Game” is for those experienced with ItsYerChoice. Give the game a try and let me know your observations!

Today I am grateful that no matter what distraction is around, my dogs will focus on me and on the games we play together. That is what I want for each of you and is why I share games like IYC and advancements like this with everyone.