“Tell me what to do, and I’ll do it!”

In addition to the confusion I mentioned in my previous post, Clark also gives up searching the boxes if he doesn’t find the treats in the first 15 or 20 seconds of searching.  Unlike the confusion caused by the similarity between the box exercise and eating forbidden food, I think this behavior is much more about his expectation of being told what to do, and his discomfort at self-directed action.  One of the reasons I wanted to start nosework is that he is generally very dependent on his humans to give him direction and help at the slightest obstacle.  Treat puzzle toys are completely lost on him–he looks for help almost immediately, and gives up once 30 seconds of effort doesn’t produce a result.

With the boxes, I ignore his requests for assistance and start a slow stroll around the pile.  He’ll often follow me, because that’s his default behavior.  Sometimes, that will get him close enough to the treat for him to break off and go investigate; sometimes I have to start looking at the boxes for him to restart the search.

In any case, once he’s found the treat, he gets to eat it, and then I give him lots of excited pets, with lots of “Good pup!  Well done!  Yay pup!”  Hopefully, this makes it clear that searching and finding is the right thing for him to do.

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