Start at Level 1
Even if your dog is ridiculously smart (and what dog isn’t?), starting at Level 1 is important so that he learns that Toy = Treat. Motion detectors sense when your dog is nearby or touching the toy, which signals the Pet Tutor to release a reward. Why start at Level 1 with a smart dog? If you set the PupPod difficulty too high to start, it might make your dog feel frustrated or discouraged.
Tip: If you see the Pet Tutor dispense treats on Level 1 or 2 even when the dog isn’t nearby, this is most likely due to the PupPod’s motion detectors picking up on floor vibrations. You can easily fix this issue by placing the PupPod on a plush rug or dog bed to dampen vibrations.
Move up to Level 2
Once your dog is consistently going back and forth between the PupPod and the Pet Tutor, use the “+” sign to increase the PupPod difficulty to Level 2. Now the rewards magically appear only when he actually touches toy. You’ll love watching him bat it around with his paw or boop it with his nose. Good thing the PupPod Wobbler is so sturdy!
On to Level 3
Oh, yeah! How smart is your pup? Time for a new challenge. At this level, rewards are still earned when the toy is touched…but only when the treat sound you selected is played.
After your dog gets the hang of that, you can start increasing the time interval setting in 5-second increments, which means your dog has to concentrate and pay attention for longer periods of time. Gradually work up to 30-40 second intervals. Be patient, though! This could take weeks.
Take it to Level 4
Has your dog worked up to 30-40 second intervals in Level 3? Then let’s kick it up a notch by moving the PupPod difficulty up to Level 4. There’s a new sound in town — an alley cat, no less! — and your dog has to figure out that it means “no treat.” If he touches the toy on the alley cat, there’s no reward. But if he waits for the treat sound — his patience is rewarded with a yummy treat. After a while, he’ll focus only on the treat sound and ignore the alley cat sound. This is what dog trainers call a “discrimination task” and it further improves your dog’s ability to focus and listen. Two important skills to have!
Tip: When your dog advances to level 4, move the time interval back down to 10 seconds. Then increase the sound interval slowly over time. Again, this might take weeks.
Up, up and away to Level 5
When your dog is consistently ignoring the “alley cat” sound at a time interval of 30-40 seconds, consider moving to level 5. But remember to start back at the 10 second time interval and slowly increase the time interval.
At this level, we really put that doggie brain to work! If your dog touches the toy on the alley cat sound, there is no reward and the alley cat sound repeats again on the next try. Once he does NOT touch the toy on the alley cat sound, the very next sound that plays will be the treat sound. If he touches the toy on the treat sound, score! He gets a reward! This level teaches your dog impulse control and focus.
Break the pattern with Level 6
Dogs are masters at pattern recognition, so when your dog has learned to ignore the “alley cat” sound, randomize the sound sequence with level 6. Your pup will need to listen carefully for the reward sound since they only have 2 seconds after the reward sound. Watch Ollie demonstrate below. Be sure to change the time interval back to 10 second when you start level 6.
Geek note: We shipped this new level as a app update, so if you already have a PupPod, just update the PupPod mobile app on your smartphone and our app will update your toy. What?!? A dog toy that updates with new features! Yeah, just one more reason PupPod is way more than your typical dog toy.
The Challenges Just Keep Coming!
Think your dog has reached the pinnacle when he gets to Level 6? Not by a long shot! We are working on new levels and challenges that will be released as an app update when they’re ready to go!
Questions or concerns about PupPod, Pet Tutor, or the app? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.