Skill: 4 Feet in an object
Benefits: Increased proprioception, increased balance, increased range of motion
Sports applications: Obedience-directed jumping/retrieves, Agility-body awareness
Safety: This is a fairly safe exercise, but be sure to check the edges and bottom of the object to be sure they won’t scrape, cut, or otherwise injure your dog.
How to train: Start with a large object that has sides just tall enough that your dog has to step over them to get into the object. Reinforce for any interaction with the object including things such as head into box, one foot in, or pawing at it. Gradually increase your criteria until your dog is getting all four feet in the object without hesitation. You can now increase the difficulty by decreasing the size of the object or increasing the height of the sides.
Advanced Version: Send your dog to specific objects from a distance. This is a great way to practice directing your dog to a specific location.
Find objects that move. This can be things with wheels or something that tips when the dog gets into it. This is a great foundation for teeter work.
Practice obedience exercises in the objects such as sit, down, stand or spin.