Tossing Your Cookies
When asking the dog off of the spot, the Release, a tossed cookie facilitates action. Tossing the cookie forces the dog to leave the Spot and sets up another approach.
The concepts of On and Off can be taught quite quickly by marking the off and tossing a cookie. The dog leaves the Spot to go grab the cookie and then immediately returns to earn more cookies for doing the Spot again.
The dog can be sent away from the handler, towards the handler, to the left or to the right with tossed cookies. The dog puts his face where the cookie happens.
Dismiss and Capture
Once value has been added to the Spot and the approach is happening readily from all angles dismiss the dog,”Go do dog stuff,” then freeshape and capture the Spot behavior. The dog gets all excited about the spot and working in general and then he is dismissed, “Go do dog stuff…” We then ignore him until he hits the spot.
Observe the dog and when he hits the spot, mark and reward for position.
It may be necessary to reduce the criteria back down to a foot target or on the spot for a few repetitions, as the entire Spot behavior might be a bit too much to ask for initially on dismissal, but once the dog learns that the Spot behavior can manipulate an unavailable handler into play, this behavior is pretty much a done deal.
A few reps of reinforcing the threshold, or foot target with that reward for position concept in mind and then just wait for the offered Sit or Down.
Be Careful with Your Cookie Process
It is important the handler has a clear understanding of what behavior is going to earn a cookie on each repetition and that the handler observes proper cookie process rules. The target behavior makes the cookie process happen… no flinching or preparing while the dog is still en route to the correct behavior or upping the ante is going to be tough.