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.

We use our positive training skills to develop good behaviors, and then we can use CJG to separate those behaviors from direct access to the reinforcers.  Check out the sample lecture for a look at the system and what it can do for you!

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!