Exploring the Touchpads follows Eating the Food, and is designed to get your dog curious about the Hub. All three touchpads will light up in this challenge, and your dog will start to explore the Hub. Your dog will begin to learn through trial and error that triggering the touchpads gives them food, and the Hub will still give out free food every few minutes to keep your dog interested! As your dog advances, the tray will stay out for a shorter period of time, and the duration between free food presentation will become longer.
The waiting game
Kilian the mixed breed is very patiently waiting. Kilian thinks this is just a waiting game. In this case, it’s a challenge for us to wait too. The Hub works best when Kilian figures out that he is in charge. If your dog knows how to “target,” you can point to the buttons. “Git it!” we shout, pointing at the lights. Kilian is confused. This works for some dogs. Not Kilian. Not in this context. We don’t keep at it too much because we don’t want Kilian to think the Hub only works if we are there to play with him. After two days, Kilian figures out that he could push the buttons on his own.
How did it happen? Kilian was trying to see if he could get into the closed tray. (I’d try that; wouldn’t you?) While investigating the closed tray, he happened to step on a button. Exploration pays off! Kilian was able to cut his wait time down, by steering the hub directly, and asking for food when he wanted it. Even still, it took another day before he pressed the button enough times to complete the challenge.
Your dog can advance to the next challenge, Engaging Consistently, by eating multiple times from the Hub. On average, dogs can progress through this challenge in one day to one week. Eating free food can contribute to your dog's progress, however, in order to pass this challenge you dog must touch the touchpad at least some of the time. Remember, if you touch the pads “for” your dog, he can end up advancing before he is ready!