Condition 1

Order of Trials
Ostensive Orders.png

Now that your dog understands how to make choices between two cups, it’s time to move on to the Experimental conditions. Here is the first of three of conditions. Take a look at it and then we’ll break it down. 

  • As before, at the start of each trial the dog will be held by the handler. 

  • The experimenter will place both cups in front of themself side by side. They will then place the occluder in front of the cups, hiding the cups from the dog’s view. 

  • The experimenter then raises the treat over the top of the occluder, says “[Dog’s name], look!”, and shows the treat while making eye contact with the dog. 

  • Next, the experimenter places the treat on the floor between the two cups and behind the occluder. The experimenter then picks up both cups at the same time and places one cup (following the sequence given under the video) over the treat while placing the other “empty” cup next to it. The order of which cup ( left or right) the experimenter should follow is directly under these instructions. Keep in mind that all of the lefts and rights are in reference to the experimenter, not to the dog or the handler. 

  • The experimenter then removes the occluder and moves the cups at the same time away from their body to the left and right so that the experimenter is now centered between the two cups. 

  • The experimenter returns to their resting position and makes eye contact with the dog. The experimenter says “[Dog’s name], look!”, then points for two seconds toward the cup with the reward.

  • The experimenter should point to the cup using the opposite hand to the location of the cup. That is, if the cup with the food is on the left, point to it across your body with your right hand. The experimenter should maintain eye contact with the dog while pointing. 

  • After two seconds of pointing, the experimenter should return to resetting position then pause for a second before releasing the dog with their cue word “Okay,” and the dog is allowed to search. If the dog doesn’t move within 3 seconds, the handler can nudge the dog (gentle, centered tap on the butt or shoulders). If they do nudge the dog then they or the experimenter should say “nudge” so that we will know that the dog has been nudged. Once the dog moves, the handler should not touch the dog until the end of trial when they are retrieving the dog.

  • When the dog makes a choice, the experimenter will say “choice” if the dog is correct, or “miss,” if the dog is incorrect. Importantly, this time no one should praise the dog for a correct choice. 

  • The experimenter will then tilt the chosen cup back slightly to allow the dog to search underneath the cup.

    • If the dog chooses the cup with the treat, they can eat the treat. If the dog chooses the empty cup, they do not receive anything and are not shown what is under the other cup.

    • If the dog hasn’t made a choice within approximately 30 seconds, repeat the trial.

    • If the dog has not made a choice twice in a row, repeat two trials of Phase 3 warm-ups.

  • After the choice is made, whether or not the dog receives the treat, the handler retrieves the dog. The handler can speak to the dog while holding them and awaiting the next trial. 

  • Repeat steps 1-8 for 7 additional trials. Once you have completed 8 total trials, you can move on to Condition 2. 

  • Give your dog a quick play break! They deserve it!