Welcome to 1 of many popular dog games: “4 Paws in a Box.”

Like most tricks, this game doesn’t just entertain your pet.

The reason for this trick is twofold.

It targets teaching the trainer how you can shape new behavior.

It is also targeted at teaching your dog how you can earn rewards by offering small changes in behavior.

Shaping New Behavior

Shaping is a neat method of building a completely new behavior.

Working on the trick like “4 Paws inside a Box” is a great way to practice this new skill with no pressure.

After all, in case your dog dislike with all of four feet in a box, the planet is not going to stop turning.

Let's get started.

Change Your Clicker

Because we are going to reward the dog for small alterations in behavior, we have to mark the behavior we like by having an event marker.

The best event marker is really a clicker, if you can use a thing like “yes,” if you like.

It's just a question of the dog realizing that every click is accompanied by a goody.

Once he has that nailed, you can start training. Find clicker charging instructions here.

Introducing the Box

All the gear you'll need is really a shallow cardboard box. The edges have to be a maximum of three or four inches high.

Just cut down the sides on a higher box if you don't have a shallow one. It doesn't may need to look pretty.

How long and wide the box is will depend on your pet. You should be in a position to picture him standing with all of four feet inside it without having to be uncomfortable.

You can proceed to a smaller box later if you wish to. But let's allow him to start.

Choose a Training Location

This is best done indoors.

You want to avoid distractions, and there's usually too much happening outside.

There are birds and insects, passing airplanes, the wind in the ears and so on.

There ought to be none of these things indoors.

You want your dog to stay in a boring environment. This makes your game a lot more attractive.

The next thing is to buy your dog thinking about this area.

Different Dogs

Some dogs are simply plain nosy.

You can guarantee that whatever you put on the ground is going to be thoroughly examined and checked over for goodies. My Spaniels are like this.

Place a box on the floor, and you can be sure they'll rush to see what's inside.

With this sort of dog, you're halfway there before you decide to have even started.

Some dogs are just not in that place.

“There's a box on the ground?”

“Yawn! Whatever” may be the reaction you receive.

This dog is going to need an incentive to even consider the box, let alone enter it.

So you need to be prepared to lure just a little.

The Setup

Have some treats ready inside your treat bag, or in a bowl on the handy table near where you are going to place your box. Have your clicker prepared and prepare your box.

Decide where you are likely to work.

The carpet may be much better than a slippery wood floor. The dog could take a running jump, and also you do not want your box to visit skidding away with your horrified dog inside it.

Make sure there aren't any distractions within the room. No one watching. Not one other dogs. Put the cat out. Turn off the phone.

And let's begin.

Step 1: Attention on the Box

Place this area on the carpet.

Mark and reward any attention that the dog gives to the box.

This means pressing the clicker (mark) and giving the dog a treat (reward). We’ll call it M&R for short.

This can include checking box, on your journey to this area and touching the box with any part of his body.

Follow each mark with a reward. Throw or put the reward well away from the box.

When the dog repeatedly returns to own box some attention, proceed to the next phase.

Step 2: Touching the Box

In this step, you'll now be more demanding.

Stop marking your dog for taking a look at and approaching the box. Only mark him for touching it with any kind of his body.

When he repeatedly touches the box, move on to Step three.

What If He Ignores this area?

This is really a lure, so you want to get rid of it quite quickly.

Place a treat within the box. Mark the dog as soon as he touches the box. Throw his reward away from the box. Repeat twice more.

Then wait.

Wait for that dog to approach the box of his own free will.

Keep waiting.

Count in your head to 100. When the dog is ignoring this area when you reach 100, you can lure him in to the box again.

Within a brief space of time, your dog will touch the box together with his nose or paw with no lure.

Step 3: One Paw within the Box

The next thing along the way would be to search for your dog actually putting a paw inside the box.

This usually happens quite quickly, so be ready for it.

As soon as you see his paw, touch the bottom from the box, mark and reward.

Place the treat from the box so that he needs to take his paw out to have it.

Be prepared to mark and reward as soon as he returns for an additional go.

Step 4: ‘4 Paws inside a Box’

From one paw, you can proceed to two paws in the box. Discover another and lastly a fourth.

Back paws can be harder than front paws, so you may have to mark and reward back a couple of back paws separately for awhile before trying for those four paws at once.

Keep your sessions short.

Set aside a collection quantity of treats at the beginning of each session, and stop when they're all gone. Don't carry on before the dog gets bored or perhaps is full.

Twenty treats is okay for most dogs.


“4 Paws in a Box” is a superb training exercise for you as well as your dog to start out with because there is no pressure to it.

Learning to stand inside a box isn’t a vital life skill. This will help you to relax into the learning process together.

Why not give it a try? Take it in a pace that suits your dog. Ensure that you are both having fun. Let us know how you get on.