Day one of Sei and I working through the learning games from Brain Games- Puzzles for Canines course. This game was designed to test memory and mapping skills.
The idea was to set up a barrier between me and something the dog wants, then have a helper release the dog into the room, and see how long it takes him to figure out he can go around the barrier to get to it. This is timed.
The second part of this experiment uses the same set up, but the dog is held and watches while I walk behind the barrier, then is released. The dog is then timed on how long they take to solve the puzzle this time.
Here is Sei’s first run:
And his second:
I ended up running the second scenario three times because I noticed something interesting and wanted to test it.
In the very first run (not shown) I placed the cookie just slightly back from the opening on the floor, so it could be seen, but I did not call any attention to it. Sei didn’t even look at the barrier and ran right to me. So the second time (the one shown above), I stuck my whole hand with the cookie out of the gap to show him where it was as he ran over. He figured it out pretty quickly and ran right around the boxes to get his treat.
In the second run, Sei took roughly the same amount of time to come around the box (except the middle attempt, where he just ran straight to me. I forgot to show him the treat in the gap so he just ran to me), but he consistently went around the boxes in the same direction I did. I thought it was a fluke the first time, but he did it the next two times too. I find this fascinating, especially because he routinely came around the far side, when it would have been closer to where he started to come around the near side.
I think his timing has more to do with when I pull the cookie back far enough from the hole that he can’t reach it, than it does him ‘figuring out’ the puzzle. As soon as I pulled the cookie back from the edge, he stopped pawing at the boxes ran right around the barrier. It was very consistant.
I would like to compare this with Perrin’s behaviours. They are very different, but they have also had different foundations. I have not done a lot of impulse control around food with Sei, whereas Perrin had a ton of it as a pup. Would Perrin lay down and wait until given permission to have the food? If so, how would he respond to a set up that took me out of the picture, with a sturdier set up and just the cookie behind it that he has to go around the barrier for? Interesting.
I di try this with Perrin, but he nearly destroyed the cardboard boxes in about 3 seconds, so I will have to make a sturdier set up for him!