FF470: Cookie Jar Games

Instructor: Julie Daniels

Course Details

The goal of Cookie Jar Games is to help your dog want to choose delayed gratification over immediate gratification.

Does your dog work better if you have his favorite toy in your hand? Does your dog demonstrate impulse control when you are holding cookies but take off and run amok if you are not? Do you have a great recall only when there is nothing better to do? Does your dog behave well on leash and badly off leash? All these issues will be addressed in Cookie Jar Games!

Any dog of any age, size, or breed can play and learn from this program. All pet dogs and sport dogs can play. Different handlers will choose different concentrations of study, beginning all together with foundation relationship and impulse-control work.

You will not need a lot of space to begin this program. It's a terrific indoor project. Depending on your choice of goal activity, you might need more space later in the program. But there will always be games for small spaces.

There is fascinating science and a variety of reinforcement choices for the handler to learn. And the dog's learning is all fun and games! You will have fun learning to think smart and train smart with your dog's reinforcement hierarchy in mind.

How does it work? The reward at the end, along with all the work it takes to get there, becomes more appealing than the immediate release and gratification of disconnecting right now. Much is known these days about using the reinforcement hierarchy to create interest in later better reinforcement, the power and value of delay. And we can use delay to raise the reinforcement value of individual rewards as well. So what the dog decides is "better" reinforcement will change as we go. It is truly a fascinating process!

Dogs are not hardwired to choose delay. There are many humans, too, who are predisposed to value the immediate, smaller benefit over the delayed or the longterm, larger benefit. There are many studies showing the difference in behavior choices among people with different “discount rates,” as they are called. There have also been many studies which demonstrate how important the items which are “free” can seem and how powerful the call of “now” can be. From humans to birds and mice, so much good information is available about choices based on perceived rewards.

Dogs? Everyone values larger benefit, and anyone can learn to prefer the delay over the immediate when the end value is high enough to be more desirable in the face of a strong temptation. Even animals (and we are all animals) who have developed a high discount rate can change behavior choice patterns and prefer to wait rather than jump in.

This is a dog's choice program which starts with fun simple relationship building and impulse-control games. Some of these you might know and some of these you have never seen played this way! The program progresses game by game all the way to very good choices in the midst of very bad opportunities! Every game we'll play is a win-win game.

Gratification is hardwired. Delayed gratification is learned. In Cookie Jar Games you will learn win-win games to guide your dog's learning to choices you both will love!



There are no scheduled sessions for this class at this time. We update our schedule frequently, so please subscribe to our mailing list for notifications.

Registration will begin at 10:30AM PDT. 

Enrollment limits: 12 gold, 10 silver, unlimited bronze. If you are interested in a bronze level spot, you can sign up any time during the registration period.


COOKIE JAR GAMES, by Julie Daniels

A Class for Learning to Love Delayed Gratification





Intro to Cookie Jar – Value for Jar

Target the Cookie Jar

Take It, Steps 1 and 2

Magic Mat Work – Cues for Low Arousal

Wait/Stay Without Words – Get Behavior First!

Start Lines Without Stay – Get Behavior First!

Emotional States and Learning

Games with Context Cues – “Happy Place” is Real




Cookie Jar Recalls

Cookie Jar Distractions

Take It, Step 3

Magic Mat Work Step 2 – Action!

Wait With Words

Using Your Order of Events

What Is the Best Reinforcement Schedule for Me?

How We Will Use S-S and R-S Conditioning (Classical and Operant)

S-S Exercise and R-S Exercise – Both are Important




Cookie Jar In the Middle, Steps 1 and 2

Cookie Jar Triangulation Games

Leave It, Delay

Leave It, Trade

Magic Mat Work Step 3 – High and Low Arousal with CJ Games

Variables Affecting Learning

Cues and Rewards: What Predicts What?

The ABC of Operant Training (Antecedent, Behavior, Consequence)




Cookie Jar In the Middle, Step 3: Fast and Far!

Cookie Jar Games from Magic Mat

Practice does NOT make Perfect (Practice vs Learning - Thorndike)

Discrimination Training

Compound Stimulus Training (Like Most Sports!)

Using Pattern Training – What has Predictive Value and What Does Not




Cookie Jar – Take it to Your Sport

Cookie Jars Outdoors – Sun, Shadows, Rain, Snow, Wind, etc.

Cueing Emotional States in Training – Using What You Have Conditioned

Cookie Jars Galore – Using the Obvious to Cue the Nonobvious

Differential Reinforcement – Timing and Delivery

How Do I Use that Ping-Pong Reinforcement Schedule Now?




Cookie Jar Games in the Venue of Your Sport

Multiple Assignments – Forward and Backward Chains

Paying for Advanced Delay

Expecting More – Raising Criteria Again and Again

Prerequisites and Equipment

This course does NOT require any prerequisites or special equipment.  If you are working toward improving your dog's performance in any particular sport then you will be able to make use of your own equipment as the class goes on.  But any dog of any age is welcome to play these games.  I will be playing along with a very experienced 8-year old who was raised this way, and also with my baby newcomer who will be 12 months old when class starts.

Please contact Julie Daniels directly for more information on this class.

Course Testimonials

A sampling of what prior students have said about this course .....

What a brilliant way to learn at your own pace and with lots of support. I love the lectures, the forums and the discussions.Julie Daniels was organized,clear,thought provoking,kind and quirky.What a great blend of attributes so learning can be non stressful and the handler and the dog feel like winners. Thank you             

CJ games is a great class and applicable to all dog sports. It is a fun way to teach your dog the concept of "delay" of reward. Once your pup understands the basic tenant of the CJ, he/she will be happy and enthusiastic to train.             

What a great time we had! Fun for the trainer and the dog, which means a win for everyone! When we saw this class offered for the first time, we had to take it - great life skills, not just for performance! Noah even started to refuse his dinners, since kibble was his training treat in the home. He boycotted in lieu of training. He'd enthusiastically eat for games, but turn his nose up if he knew a bowl of kibble meant no games that evening. Highly recommend this class! Robin A.         

I signed up to the Cookie Jar games course to try and help my dog with her self-control. Although I don't do any dog sports with my dog as she is fear aggressive to people and dogs I thought this course might help with her confidence and self-control and give us something fun to do during the miserable winter weather. The course was so much fun for both of us and the instructor's enthusiasm and joyful approach to training was infectious and really came through in the comprehensive lecture notes and videos. I have seen real improvement in Bella's self-control while we have worked through this course and a huge increase in her enthusiasm for working with me. She loves her cookie jar now and can't wait to get started, we will keep using these games to help us moving forward. The ability to view the Gold students progress and discussions was very valuable as I managed to pick up some useful tips which really helped us. I would definitely recommend this course to anyone whether they are involved with dog sports or just want something fun to work on with their dog.           

Cookie jar games was awesome for my high drive dogs. My 6 yr old dog that's always been pretty good about impulse control benefitted as much as my youngster who is just starting to trial in agility. I loved how my dogs quickly understood how much using some self control paid off and how much they enjoyed these games.           

I am a huge fan of Julie's classes. They are all about making the handler think about how to best build confidence and empowerment in the dogs. Julie goes out of her way to consider the specific needs of each dog as she learns them. The games are all great fun, simple to play yet complex in what they teach.             

I'm looking forward to all the ways the cookie jar concept can be incorporated into my training for multiple sports! It is such a versatile concept and SO useful for teaching the dog self-control and how to WANT to work when the handler doesn't have rewards on them. Chris P.