Sawyer has gotten a new kennel. Now like all things new, the new kennel is scary. To get Sawyer used to the new kennel we are using a mixture of desensitization and differential reinforcement. First we are leaving his new kennel out without the door on it. In the first session for the kennel desensitization the client was asked to run through exercises luring Sawyer in with high end treats. After luring we moved onto asking and rewarding after. Eventually we rewarded with all four paws in the kennel. Then we added a time duration, in other words he had to stay in a few seconds before we rewarded.
Today's session added the door to the crate and it went so well we even shut the door for short periods of time while rewarding. Once that was established we opened the old, "safe", kennel and gave Sawyer a choice. This is where the differential reinforcement came in. We have established that rewards happen in the new kennel. In the past the "box" cue would mean the wire kennel. Now we have two kennels to choose from. When asked he can go into either kennel, but he will only be reinforced with a treat reward when he goes into the new kennel. By offering this concept of choice the animal is more comfortable with the new "scary" kennel because they chose to go into it. Instead of being dragged or forced in. Choice builds confidence and when we utilize that confidence we quickly and more strongly shape the behaviors we would like from our pups.