This guide will walk you through the training stages - prepare to have fun with your pet!
Section 1: Game Levels 6 steps
Step 1: Familiarization
Before using the device, make sure your dog is not afraid of PlayDog. If your pet is fearful, keep the device unplugged for a few days, give it a treat and create a good atmosphere around the device.
Step 2: Introduce
Introduce is the first step in your journey with PlayDog. The home base (feeding base) gives 'free food' to your dog in order to train it to get its food from the PlayDog home base. Move to the next stage (teach) after a day or two, when you see that your dog feels comfortable with the home base. If you see that the dog is afraid of the home base, go back to familiarization.
Step 3: Teach
This game will teach the dog the essence of PlayDog - when a base makes a noise, the dog should come and get food. It works on the principle of classic conditioning with positive reinforcement and assumes the dog is already trained to come when the home base dispenses food.
The home base gives the dog 'free food' once, then waits for the dog to arrive. When the dog arrives it plays the 'come' cue and dispenses again. If the dog doesn't arrive after the time defined as maximum time per base the game is declared failed.
The goal is to teach the dog the connection between the beep and the reward. Move to the next stage (practice) after 1-3 days, if your dog successfully accomplishes most games (70% success rate).
Step 4: Practice
This game completes your training. The home base plays the 'come' cue and afterwards starts beeping. The dog has a limited amount of time to arrive and get the food. Otherwise, the dog "fails" the game.
This game starts only when the dog isn't near the home base. Move to the next stage (Remote Calling Base) after 2-5 days, if your dog successfully accomplishes most games (70% success rate). If your dog fails after 3-5 days to cross the 50% success rate line, consider going back to the Teach stage for a few more days.
Step 5: Remote Calling Base
Remote calling base game involves additional bases on top of the home (feeding) base, and familiarizes your pet with the other bases in the PlayDog system. A random calling base calls the dog, after it has already learnt to come to the 'come cue'. If your dog already understood PlayDog, it should come to the calling base (with some hesitation, and not on the first try). The moment the calling base sees your pet near, the home (feeding) base will start calling the dog and reward it with a food portion.
Move to the next (and final) stage after 3-10 days when your dog passes the 60% success rate mark.
Step 6: Game
Game is the final PlayDog mode, where all the bases (calling bases and feeding base) are involved, making your dog run around and enjoy.
Number of base-runs in a game in the app settings panel determines how many times will each stage play. Base order is a randomized path and calling bases are called one by one. The last base is always the home base that rewards the dog if the dog arrived at all the bases on time.
You can make the game more complex by increasing the number of calling bases, or by shortening the base call duration of each base.