Warm Up Games

Warm-ups are used to familiarize the dog with the tasks that will be performed in the experiment. These are important to ensure the dog is comfortable with the tasks and will be able to be more confident making choices in experimental trials. These warm-up activities should take less than 20 minutes. During warm ups, feel free to  praise the dog for making a choice, taking a treat, or resetting into a starting position with the handler.  Take a look at it, and then we’ll break it down. 

  • The handler will begin holding the dog while sitting in the chair so that the dog is facing the experimenter. If you don’t have a handler, ask the dog to sit and stay in front of the chair.

  • The experimenter will sit, stand, or kneel in their position, about 5 or 6 feet directly across from the dog. 

  • The experimenter should then say “[Dog’s name], look!” and while holding out a treat in front of their body. They should then repeat “[Dog’s name], look!” as they place the treat on the floor, half-way between themselves and the dog. 

  • The experimenter should then return to their original position, seated or standing with their arms by their side, facing the dog. 

  • The experimenter can then say “okay!”, and the handler can release the dog’s collar or leash. 

  • The dog should approach and eat the treat.

    • If the dog doesn’t move within 3 seconds, the handler can nudge the dog (gentle, centered tap on the butt or shoulders). Once the dog moves, the handler should not touch the dog until the end of the trial when they are retrieving the dog. 

    • If they do not eat the treat within approximately 30 seconds the experimenter can draw attention to the treat by picking it up and putting it down or verbally encouraging the dog. However, no one should point to the treat! 

    • If after an additional 10 seconds the dog does not retrieve the treat, start from the beginning. If the dog still does not retrieve the treat, it may be time to try a new treat, to use a toy instead, or to give the dog a break and try again later. 

    • If the dog does eat the treat then you are ready to move on to the next warm-up trial! 

  • This second warm-up is identical to the last, except the experimenter will place the treat right in front of themself, not halfway between themself and the dog. 

    • As before, if the dog does not approach and eat the treat within 30 seconds the experimenter can draw attention to the treat but should not point.

    • If, after an additional 10 seconds the dog still does not retrieve the treat, start this warm-up trial again.

    • If the dog still does not retrieve the treat it may be time to try a new treat, to use a toy instead, or to give the dog a break and try again later. 

Current Studies

Due to COVID-19 we are not currently running any studies. Check back soon! 

- Numerical Reasoning

Interested in Learning more about dog cognition? Check out Dr. Furlong's audiobook! 

Interested in learning more about dogs?

Check out Dr. Furlong's audiobook on dog cognition! - Numerical Reasoning

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ADDRESS

Illinois Wesleyan University

Shaw Hall

1312 N. Park St.

Bloomington, IL

 

E-Mail: dogscience@iwu.edu 
Tel (Info):  (309) 556-3415

Tel (Lab):  (309) 556-3821

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