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Canine Soapbox

Canine Soapbox:

A Cognitive Dog Sport to Cultivate Essential Life Skills

By Carrie S. Faber

[Class References]

{Learning Outcomes}

Table of Contents

Abstract - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 3

Introduction - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 4

Biological Fulfillment - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 4

The Significance of Dog Sports - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 7

Canine Soapbox: A New Sport for Essential Skills - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 9

Sport Rulebook: Organization & Vision - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 11

Training Methods: A Cognitive Approach - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 15

P.R.E.S.T.O: An Efficient Dog Training System - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 17

Limitations - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 21

Literature Review- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 23

Conclusion - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 30

References - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 32


Well-exercised dogs are well-behaved dogs, and dog sport training includes the best of both worlds to physically and mentally fulfill them at the same time (Westgarth et al., 2019). Canine Soapbox is a new sport that involves an obstacle course designed to help dogs and their human partners learn essential communication skills. Additionally, the physical and mental challenges of the course will help keep dogs active, engaged, and mentally stimulated. This novel sport underscores the significance of vocal cues and manual gestures, creating an authentic assessment of the bond shared between a dog and its handler.

In Canine Soapbox, obstacle courses are designed to simulate real-life scenarios where dogs need to follow their owner's direction. Crafted in a challenging way that demands both physical and mental prowess from dogs, these obstacles serve as an exceptional tool for training and exercise. Each team will be graded on accuracy, speed, agility, and attitude. Canine Soapbox will also be taught with a new cognitive dog training system called P.R.E.S.T.O, which represents: Purpose, Relationship, Enrichment, Synergy, Timing, and Objective.

Educating and motivating all types of dog owners through a fun new sport should make a positive impact in many lives (Farrell et al., 2015). Canine Soapbox will provide a fun and challenging activity for both the dog and human. It can help improve the bond between the two and provide an opportunity for the handler to build trust and confidence with their dog. It also provides a way for dogs to burn off excess energy and get the exercise they need to maintain good health.


As we find new roles for dogs to assist us in different areas of our community, we are unfortunately witnessing a rise in dogs being abandoned at shelters, often as a result of inadequate understanding of how to properly handle and maintain their well-being (Rowan & Kartal, 2018)[LIF 510B]{LO9}. Sadly, many breeders, shelters, and even trainers fail to offer sufficient engaging and stimulating training games to enhance the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of dogs, which leads to undesirable actions and hinders the development of positive habits (Powell et al., 2018). Moreover, numerous new dog guardians delay seeking assistance from a professional equipped with the necessary tools for success until they are already causing significant destruction and disturbances in their household (Bouma et al., 2020).

Canine Soapbox is an innovative and competitive sport designed to nurture critical skills such as impulse management and communication in both pet and service dogs. This new sport is easily accessible and provides a supportive environment for dogs to thrive in. After incorporating light-hearted and easy-to-follow games, owners will be more confident in their ability and give their dog’s more empathy (Kluess et al., 2021){LO1}. Engaging in this dog sport that is not only fun, but also educational in a friendly environment, has the potential to enhance communication skills, while reducing the likelihood of dogs being surrendered. Additionally, Canine Soapbox instills valuable life skills in both the dog and their family.

Biological Fulfillment

Biologically fulfilling activities are essential for the well-being of both humans and dogs (Visak & Balcombe, 2013). By providing your dog with an enjoyable outlet that stimulates their senses, allows them to make decisions, and enriches them physically, mentally, and emotionally, their nuisance behaviors will disappear. Teaching dogs what to do when they have a focused and clear mind is also the best way to progress during training, leaving no room for misunderstandings (Mai, 2021). Fulfilling a dog's biological needs involves satisfying their innate, natural desires in a manner that promotes their well-being and contentment. This approach recognizes that dogs are social creatures with unique physical and psychological requirements that must be fulfilled to ensure their optimal development (Heotis, 2020) [LIF 570C].

Providing dogs with sufficient outlets to carry out their innate behavior is vital to satisfy their biological requirements. This can include physical exercise, mental challenges, and socialization with both other dogs and humans (Heath et al., 2014). Additionally, allowing a dog to express their natural behaviors can further promote their overall well-being. For dogs at every stage of life, it is crucial to provide them with consistent exercise to ensure their physical health and overall well-being. This includes engaging them in various activities such as walking, running, playing fetch, and swimming (Gillespie et al., 2002). The exercise needed by a dog may differ based on factors such as age, breed and energy level. For instance, a high-energy breed like a cattle dog might need more exercise compared to a less active breed like a bulldog. Regular exercise can help prevent obesity, improve cardiovascular health, and reduce the risk of certain health conditions (Kluess et al., 2021)[LIF 570 A&B].

To avoid boredom and limit destructive behaviors, dogs require mental stimulation that may involve activities like training, puzzle toys, and games that involve problem-solving abilities. Mental stimulation can help keep dogs engaged and interested in their environment, and can improve their overall cognitive function (Heath et al., 2014).

Dogs are social animals and benefit from interacting with other dogs and people. Socialization can help prevent behavior problems and improve their overall quality of life. It is important to socialize dogs from a young age, and to continue to provide opportunities for socialization throughout their lives (Howell & Bennett, 2011).

Dogs also have natural behaviors that are important for their wellbeing, such as digging, chewing, and exploring. By offering dogs a secure and proper environment to display their innate behaviors, we can effectively meet their biological necessities. For instance, assigning a specific area for dogs to dig or offering an array of chew toys can effectively gratify their natural inclinations; owners can ensure the happiness, health, and fulfillment of their dogs by offering them chances to engage in these natural behaviors (Vieira de Castro et al., 2020).

Providing dogs with adequate basic care such as enough exercise, nutritional food, and a safe shelter is not enough for their biological fulfillment. It is essential to also prioritize their emotional and social needs in order to truly meet their overall well-being (Howell & Bennett, 2011). This involves giving them consistent, mindful attention, positive reinforcement, affection, and directing their energy towards positive activities. An emotionally content canine is unlikely to display problematic behaviors, such as anxiousness or aggression; this premise holds true for all living beings (Meadows, 2014).

Allowing dogs to live a biologically fulfilling life will ultimately nurture stronger bonds. The American Kennel Club recognizes the importance of a strong bond between a dog and their owner. Establishing a strong bond with your dog is highly recommended by the AKC to enhance their behavior. When you gain the trust and respect of your canine partner, they are more likely to follow and adhere to your requests (The American Kennel Club, n.d.).

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) also recognizes the importance of a strong bond between a dog and their owner. To avoid behavior issues like separation anxiety, aggression, and destructive behavior, The ASPCA recommends developing a solid bond with a dog (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, n.d.).

Meeting the biological needs of dogs is crucial for their overall well-being and can aid in the prevention of problematic behavior while enhancing their physical and mental health. In order for dogs to reach true biological satisfaction, it is necessary to attend to their physical, mental, and emotional needs in a manner that fulfills them and promotes their happiness and well-being (Brophey, 2018). Ensuring that dogs engage in their natural behaviors, socialize well with other dogs and humans, and receive abundant positive reinforcements are ways in which owners can help their canine companions thrive and reach their full potential (Brophey, 2018){LO6}.

The Significance of Dog Sports

Engaging in dog sports offers numerous advantages for both canines and their owners, such as fostering physical fitness, mental challenge, social interaction, and bonding opportunities. Research suggests that involving dogs in sports training can improve not just their physical condition, but also lead to the development of strong muscles and an overall improvement in cardiovascular health. This is particularly advantageous for dog breeds that are vulnerable to obesity, like Labradors, or those that necessitate significant mental stimulation for their well-being, such as Border Collies. In addition, regular, appropriate exercise can help reduce the risk of certain health conditions, such as hip dysplasia and arthritis (Sellon et al., 2023) [LIF 567].

Dog sports often involve physical activity, such as running, jumping, or swimming. Consistent physical activity is vital to maintaining optimal physical and mental health in canines, and engaging in a sport can provide an entertaining and stimulating outlet for keeping them moving. Many sports require dogs, and their owners, to use their brains as well as their bodies. Dogs need to use their cognitive abilities, in addition to their physical skills such as running and jumping, to successfully overcome obstacles in agility courses (Włodarczyk, 2016) [LIF 540D]. Providing mental stimulation for your dog not only prevents boredom but also minimizes the chances of destructive behavior such as chewing or digging; it improves your dog's ability to concentrate, maintain focus, and control impulses (Schipper et al., 2008). Moreover, dog sports often require dogs to stay focused and controlled in a distracting environment. Training dogs with this method can enhance their impulse control and teach them to pay closer attention to their handler's commands, proving beneficial in various real-life scenarios (Dinwoodie et al., 2022)[LIF 580].

Participating in sports can also help dogs become more comfortable around other dogs and people. Partaking in obedience or rally trials involves working with other dogs and their owners in close proximity, which can aid in training a dog to remain composed and exhibit good behavior in social settings (Gillespie et al., 2002). Sports like flyball or dock diving offer great opportunities for multiple dogs and owners to work together, promoting socialization and cooperation skills among the dogs. For dogs who have a timid or nervous behavior, engaging in a sport can be particularly beneficial since it can enhance their ease and poise in unfamiliar circumstances (Dinwoodie et al., 2022).

In order to be successful in most dog sports, dogs need to be receptive to instruction and responsive to their handler's cues; training in this manner helps improve dogs' overall obedience and responsiveness, making them easier to train and more pleasant to live with (Wallner Werneck Mendes, et al., 2021). Activities practiced and performed together are also fun ways for owners to bond with their dogs and build a stronger relationship. This is especially true for sports that require teamwork between the dog and owner, such as obedience or agility (Westgarth et al., 2019){LO2}. Success in a new dog sport can also help dogs develop confidence and self-esteem. Working together to achieve a common goal can help strengthen the bond between dog and owner while improving communication and trust. Engaging in dog sports is an excellent means of ensuring the well-being, happiness, and obedience of dogs, in addition to enhancing the relationship between owner and pet (Włodarczyk, 2016).

Canine Soapbox: A New Sport for Essential Skills

The upcoming sport, Canine Soapbox, aims to enhance impulse control and verbal-direction listening abilities, while promoting better communication between handlers and their dogs. This enriching activity trains owners to engage with their pet dogs more while motivating them to develop essential life skills. This new sport is also fully designed to align with the training of service dogs, thereby enhancing the team's objectives of developing a dedicated, driven, and meticulous assistant. Canine Soapbox will involve a timed obstacle course with chains of behaviors that simulate real-world scenarios service dogs may encounter while performing their duties.

By shaping the courses, service dogs' skills and abilities can be put to the test in a secure and regulated atmosphere, alongside giving handlers the chance to showcase their dogs' exceptional training and expertise. The courses will consist of a variety of obstacles, including jumps, tunnels, balance beams, and platforms. In addition to physical challenges, the course can also include exercises that test the dog's obedience, problem-solving skills, and ability to work in distracting environments. During the competition, the dog must align with the designated box, navigate the course solo, and obey particular commands.

Canine Soapbox can help to promote the importance of service dogs and showcase their abilities in a fun and engaging way. It can also provide an opportunity for service dog handlers to network and share information about training and best practices. Canine Soapbox has the potential to become an exciting new dog sport, offering a fun and engaging platform for service dogs to compete in while also highlighting the crucial role they play in our society. The practice of assessing the proficiency and aptitude of service canines in a secure and regulated setting can effectively enhance public knowledge regarding the significance of service dogs and their education (Farrell et al., 2015)[LIF 540A]{LO5}. In addition, this sport would provide a chance for people with diverse abilities to participate, as the challenges would not necessitate physical or tactile interaction between the handler and their dog.

Canine Soapbox is currently designed to be divided into 4 levels of difficulty, including: Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, and Master. To ascend through the levels of difficulty, every team must execute a deliberate and self-assured undertaking on the field/course; this implies following detailed instructions on which obstacle to approach or avoid and how to engage with it, while also complying with increasingly challenging time constraints.

Sport Rulebook: Organization & Vision

There are many official dog sports that dogs and their owners can compete in. The number of official dog sports can vary depending on the organization or governing body that oversees the sport. There are several organizations that recognize official dog sports. For instance, the United Kennel Club recognizes more than 15 sports including weight pull, lure coursing, agility, and obedience (United Kennel Club, n.d.). The American Kennel Club, on the other hand, recognizes over 20 different sports such as obedience, agility, tracking, and dock diving (The American Kennel Club, n.d.). Moreover, flyball, obedience, and agility are some of the dog sports recognized by the International Federation of Cynological Sports (Fédération Cynologique Internationale, n.d.). Apart from these associations, there are numerous other smaller organizations and clubs that provide a wide range of official canine sports, along with unofficial sports that are not endorsed by any regulating authority; there is an extensive range of options for canine aficionados keen on competing with their pets (King, 2022).

Organizing a new dog sport entails determining a clear objective of the activity, followed by the rules and guidelines (Adams, 2014). The performance of each dog/handler team will be assessed and scored on speed, accuracy, and attitude. Conducting research to differentiate Canine Soapbox from other sports will guarantee a distinctive activity with well-defined and straightforward guidelines. In order to ensure a seamless playing experience and easy learning curve, it is essential to conduct beta testing of any new sport with a select group of dog owners prior to its official launch (Adams, 2014).

Once several trials and demonstrations have been successfully completed, Canine Soapbox could either be established as an official dog sport organization on its own or be integrated into an already existing organization, such as any of the agility associations (United States Dog Agility Association, n.d.)[LIF 510A]{LO4}. When creating this sport, it's crucial to bear in mind some vital aspects, such as ensuring the safety of the participants, fostering an inclusive environment, and gathering feedback from early participants to consistently enhance the experience.

This sport is unique, emphasizing the importance of verbal communication skills between dogs and their human partners. To be successful, the owner must develop a strong bond with their dog and effectively communicate using verbal cues and minimal gestures. Progressing through the levels in this sport also requires the dog to be highly trained and responsive to their owner's commands. To guarantee a fair competition, it is imperative that the handler refrains from interacting with both the dog and the obstacles throughout the entire race. Nonetheless, the handler is permitted to guide the dog through the course via verbal commands and hand gestures.

The Canine Soapbox courses will also be designed to test the dog's agility. The playing field will be 100 to 164 feet long, and 50 to 82 feet wide. The obstacle course equipment will comprise robust boxes capable of supporting the dog's weight, in addition to a range of interactive obstacles such as jumps, tunnels, hoops, among others. There will also be a clearly designated starting line and finish line where the course will end.

Dog eligibility will include any breed, size, age, sex, or ability as long as they are up-to-date on vaccinations and are deemed healthy enough for the agile sport by a veterinarian. The goal is to complete the course in the shortest amount of time possible while performing designated behaviors accurately. The timer begins when the dog crosses the starting line and will end when the dog crosses the finish line with all tasks complete. Scoring is points based and points are earned by dogs when they complete an obstacle, transitions from one task to the next, completes tasks in order, misses no objectives, and finishes with time to spare. Oppositely, the dog will lose points for knocking down obstacles, needing the cue repeated more than 3 times, completing tasks out of order, missing an objective entirely, running out the time clock, or if a trainer makes a mistake such as stepping onto the course while competing. Winners are determined via the dog with a combined score of the highest number of points. In the event of a tie, the dogs will rematch with a new obstacle course and the one with the fastest time and most flawless routine will be declared the winner.

The safety of the dog, handlers, and other participants must be the top priority at all times. The course should be set up in a way that minimizes the risk of injury to the dog or owner. The owner must also be aware of their surroundings and any other competitors who may be on the course at the same time (Sellon et al., 2023){LO7}. Any unsafe behavior by the owner or dog may result in disqualification. There are certain reasons due to which a dog may get disqualified from the competition. These may include scenarios where the owner or the dog interrupts another competitor during their run, the dog is unable to earn a qualifying run, the owner touches either the dog or any of the obstacles during the run, or when the dog or owner displays hazardous behavior during the run.

Each Canine Soapbox course strives to achieve specific objectives through cues and behaviors. These would include a send-out behavior ('Get Out'), positioning behind the designated box ('Line Up'), active behavior ('Sit', 'Down', 'Sit Up', 'Turn', 'Spin', 'Speak'), and an incorporation of jumps, tunnels, and hoops as the levels progress. Speed, accuracy, and agility will be taken into consideration during each scoring by the observing judge. Each directed cue can earn up to 3 points. A flawless execution would grant 3 points, a decent one (possibly requiring some refining) would correspond to 2 points, and 1 point would be awarded if they needed to be refined (or repeat instruction) more than 3 times. Each course will have 6 - 14 obstacles with 2 minutes to complete; each team must complete 2 different courses with a score of 90% or better to earn a title in their class and be eligible to compete in the next level.

Canine Soapbox will have obstacle courses set up with 4 different levels of difficulty including: Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, and Master. Novice will involve verbally directing the dog to run out ahead (approximately 35ft) into the course, within the designated parameters (cones, flags, or chalk outline). There will be a series of simple jumps before and in between 2 boxes, referred to and depicted as soapboxes. The boxes will be large enough to hold the weight of the dog and one will be designated for the dog to interact with. When the dog is directed to line up behind the specific box, the handler will instruct them to perform 2 separate behaviors. First, they will either put 2 paws up on the box, or 4 paws on the box in a full standing position. Second, they will be instructed to perform a ‘Speak’, ‘Sit Up’, ‘Down’, ‘Sit’, or ‘Turn’. In order to earn a Novice Canine SoapBox title, each team must complete 2 different courses with a final scoring of 90% or better.

The Intermediate level course will consist of 4 boxes, the Advanced level course will have 6, and the Master level course will have 8 boxes. Canine Soapbox courses are designed to challenge dogs with up to 6 more agility elements and up to 5 verbally directed behaviors; master level will include passing a Treibball sized ball to the owner, retrieving an item, or pulling a lever to activate a waving flag (National Association of Treibball Enthusiasts, n.d.). These elements and behaviors are designed to increase in difficulty, creating a thrilling experience for both the dog and the handler; if desired, any unique behavior or trick can be incorporated with prior approval from the judge.

Training Methods: A Cognitive Approach

By applying cognition and psychology-based training methods, we can involve the dog as a true learning partner rather than just a subject of training; the focus here is not only on training, but more importantly on teaching (Hare & Ferrans, 2021). It's also about redefining human-dog relationships; it differs from other approaches to dog training because it encourages dogs to think and solve problems. A cognitive and psychological approach to dog training also involves understanding how dogs learn and process information, all while using this knowledge to train them effectively. This approach is based on the principles of operant and classical conditioning, which involve increasing desired behaviors and decreasing undesired behaviors (Hare & Ferrans, 2021)[LIF 515].

By developing a canine-focused activity promoting necessary life skills rooted in cognition and psychology, we could significantly enhance dogs' mental aptitude and emotional stability. Such a sport would optimize their natural tendencies and behaviors while keeping them actively engaged and productive (Milgram et al., 2006). Canine Soapbox involves a series of challenges that are designed to test the dog's problem-solving skills, memory, and ability to communicate with their owner. Each challenge is designed to engage the dog's cognitive abilities and to promote emotional well-being by creating a positive and rewarding experience. These challenges have been crafted to cater to the diverse requirements and potential of each canine, ensuring that dogs of every skill level and age group can involve themselves in these challenges.

Canine Soapbox's distinctive approach not only enhances cognitive abilities but also fosters a stronger bond between dogs and their owners (Sümegi et al., 2014). With a strong foundation focused on exchanging and assimilating information, the platform provides a natural means to bolster this relationship. By working together to solve challenges, dogs and owners can strengthen their communication and deepen their relationship (Sümegi et al., 2014)[LIF 540B].

A cognitive and psychological approach to dog training also involves understanding how a dog's behavior is influenced by their environment and previous experiences. For example, a dog that has had negative experiences with other dogs may be more likely to exhibit fearful behavior towards other dogs. By comprehending these environmental and experiential components, trainers can customize their methods to suit each dog and tackle any fundamental difficulties that might be adding to problematic behaviors (Wells, 2022).

Another important aspect of this approach is understanding the dog's emotional state and how it affects their behavior. Identifying and addressing the emotional issues of anxious or fearful dogs is crucial for trainers to successfully train these dogs and prevent the display of problem behaviors (Howell & Bennett, 2011). Additionally, trainers and puppy raisers using a cognitive and psychological approach often prioritize building a strong bond with the canine; this can involve using play and other positive interactions to create positive associations with the trainer and the training process or even the puppy raiser and the socialization process (Howell & Bennett, 2011)[LIF 505]{LO3}.

To ensure that shaping a dog's behavior is effective, and training sessions are enjoyable, comprehending their behavior, utilizing positive reinforcement, and establishing a sturdy bond are crucial. Canine Soapbox will fully encompass this cognitive and psychological approach, especially during the foundation training, which should lead to great results.

P.R.E.S.T.O: An Efficient Dog Training System

The sport of Canine Soapbox will be taught with a universal dog training system that focuses on the cognitive ethology of the dog. The acronym that will represent the foundation training will be called: P.R.E.S.T.O which stands for Purpose, Relationship, Enrichment, Synergy, Timing, and Objective. The dog training philosophy of P.R.E.S.T.O will introduce an innovative approach to enhance communication skills. Through each section, participants will encounter a fundamental aspect of our training system, designed to inspire and boost their development.

“P” will motivate others to ensure their dogs live with a sense of purpose. It is important for dogs to have a sense of purpose, because it can improve their overall well-being and behavior (Brophey, 2018). When dogs have a job or task to do, they are more mentally stimulated and physically active, which can help prevent boredom and destructive behaviors. Additionally, having a sense of purpose can increase a dog's confidence and self-esteem, which can lead to a happier and healthier life (Gillespie et al., 2002).

“R” will instill the essential need to have a strong and healthy relationship with your dog. Engaging in this sport can foster a significant desire to establish a robust and flourishing bond with your canine companion, thereby enhancing their conduct, fitness, and general state of mind. A strong bond with your dog can lead to better communication and understanding, which can prevent and resolve behavioral issues (Payne et al., 2015). Additionally, a healthy relationship can provide emotional support and comfort for both you and your dog; this can lead to a happier and more fulfilling life for both of you. Overall, a strong relationship can help ensure that your dog receives proper care, exercise, and medical attention, which can improve their health and longevity (Potter & Sartore-Baldwin, 2019).

“E” represents the importance of proper enrichment for dogs. Biologically appropriate enrichment is essential for dogs because it helps satisfy their natural instincts and behaviors. Dogs are descendants of wild animals and have specific needs and behaviors that need to be met for their overall well-being (Smith & Van Valkenburgh, 2020). Biologically appropriate enrichment can provide dogs with physical and mental stimulation, which can prevent boredom, anxiety, and destructive behaviors. In addition, appropriate enrichment can help improve a dog's cognitive function, social skills, and overall quality of life (Brophey, 2018). Providing your dog with biologically appropriate enrichment can also help prevent health problems related to a lack of exercise, mental stimulation, and socialization (Wallis et al., 2017).

“S” represents Synergy, which puts an emphasis on the critical role natural synchronization plays while interacting with dogs. Understanding how naturally dogs and people synchronize is important, because it can improve the communication and relationship between dogs and their human companions (Sümegi et al., 2014). Dogs have evolved to live and work with humans and have developed the ability to understand and respond to human gestures, emotions, and behaviors (Serpell & Barrett, 2017)[LIF 535]{LO8}.

Furthermore, humans have developed an ability to understand and respond to dog behavior and body language. When humans and dogs synchronize, they are better able to communicate and understand each other, leading to a stronger bond and better behavior (Miklósi, 2004). For example, when a dog and human are in sync during training, the dog is more likely to learn and retain the desired behavior. Understanding how a dog synchronizes with us allows for a more accurate interpretation of their body language and a more appropriate response, ultimately preventing misunderstandings and conflicts (Fugazza & Miklósi, 2015). To enhance the relationship between dogs and their human companions, it is crucial to comprehend how dogs and humans synchronize with each other; this understanding promotes a more joyful and healthier life for both parties involved (Sümegi et al., 2014).

“T” will illustrate the importance of clear, appropriate timing when training and interacting with dogs. Mastering timing is essential when training dogs as it directly impacts the effectiveness of their training and their ability to learn and maintain new behaviors. Timing refers to the precise moment when a reward or communication to adjust is given to the dog (D’onofrio, 2015). Timing is crucial when it comes to giving rewards and communicating to dogs as they link the outcome to the behavior they were exhibiting at the time. If rewards or adjustment feedback is given too late or too early, the dog may not associate the consequence of the behavior they performed (Hare & Ferrans, 2021). This can lead to confusion and frustration for the dog and can result in ineffective training. Delaying rewards can also result in the dog failing to associate the reward with the behavior, which can reduce their future motivation to repeat the behavior (Mai, 2021).

Contrastingly, mastering timing can lead to more efficient and effective training. Providing rewards or adjusting behaviors promptly enhances the dog's ability to link their actions with the resulting outcome, resulting in accelerated learning and improved retention of behavior (Rousseau & Rugaas, 2022). This can lead to a more successful training experience for both the dog and the trainer. The ability to comprehend and control timing is crucial in dog training as it impacts the efficiency of the training and the dog's aptitude to acquire and uphold new behaviors (Rousseau & Rugaas, 2022).

“O” represents the benefit of having a clear, functional objective with each interaction and activity you perform with your dog. Defining a comprehensible and effective goal for every dog training session can greatly enhance your progress as it offers a distinct purpose and direction for the training. Objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) (Lawlor, 2012). When you have an intelligible and functional objective, you can tailor your training activities to achieve it ​​(Mai, 2021).

A well-defined goal enables you to concentrate on particular actions that you wish to instruct or enhance in your canine, avoiding misunderstandings and annoyance for both of you while carrying out the training. It also helps you to measure your progress and adjust your training techniques accordingly (Hall, 2021). For example, if your objective is to teach your dog to come when called, you can focus your training activities on behaviors that reinforce this objective. To enhance your dog's response time, incentivize them with positive reinforcements when they come to you when called and then gradually raise the level of difficulty by introducing various distractions and increasing the distance (Greenebaum, 2010). An important foundation behavior for Canine Soapbox is a send out and a recall back, which are incredibly useful to all dogs in our society.

Having a clear objective can also help you to break down complex behaviors into smaller, achievable steps. This can make the training process more manageable and less overwhelming for both you and your dog (Hall, 2021). In general, having a distinct and practical goal for every dog training session can greatly enhance your advancement. By using this approach, you'll have a clear roadmap to follow during your training, which will help you focus on specific behaviors, track your progress, and adjust your training methods if needed (Hall, 2021).

The efficient dog training system and philosophy of P.R.E.S.T.O will be the foundational course before and during the Canine Soapbox sport classes. By focusing on the biological needs of dogs and integrating their cognitive abilities into training, this novel sport aims to inspire dog owners to train and bond with their canine companions with greater enthusiasm and effectiveness.


Developing a new dog sport can be a challenging task, and there are several limitations that should be considered during the development process. Firstly, designing an obstacle course that is safe and suitable for dogs of all ages, sizes, and breeds can be challenging. Dogs have different physical abilities, and some may struggle with certain obstacles, while others may find them too easy. Hence, it is crucial to establish a course that is stimulating enough to captivate the dogs but not overly problematic that it results in disappointment or peril for them (Sellon et al., 2023)[LIF520].

Secondly, funding can be a limitation when developing a new dog sport. Developing an obstacle course and organizing events can be expensive, and it can be challenging to find sponsors or funding to cover the costs. Insufficient funding can hinder the growth and advertisement for the sport, impeding its chances of gaining the necessary recognition to flourish as a prosperous discipline (Stewart, 2015). Thirdly, the popularity of the sport can also be a limitation. Despite the increasing interest in dog sports, not all dog owners are interested in participating in sports or dedicating as much time into their dogs; it may be challenging to attract a significant number of participants and build a community around the sport (Farrell et al., 2015)[LIF 575].

Lastly, designing a dog sport that heavily relies on verbal communication has to acknowledge how the language barrier can be a limitation. While dogs are highly trainable and can understand a wide range of commands, they do not have the same level of comprehension as humans (Siniscalchi, 2018). Therefore, it can be challenging to develop a sport that relies on verbal communication, especially if it involves complex instructions or commands. Teaching owners to understand how to communicate with their dogs is of utmost importance for a sport like Canine Soapbox.

Overall, developing a new dog sport that relies on verbal communication through an obstacle course can be a challenging task. Challenges during the development process may include designing a safe course that accommodates all dogs, navigating through the inevitable language barrier, securing funding, and increasing the sport's popularity. By implementing effective planning, training, and promoting tactics, it should be achievable to surpass these limitations and establish a triumphant canine sport that provides happiness and involvement for both the dogs and their owners.

Literature Review


There is a significant amount of research that has been conducted on how training activities can strengthen the relationship between dogs and their handlers. Below are some of the references that support this claim:

1. Rooney and Cowan (2011) conducted a study which found that trained dogs were more attentive to their handlers and had improved relationships with them.

2. According to a study by Hiby et al. (2004), dogs that underwent obedience training developed more robust and favorable connections with their owners in comparison to canines that did not receive any training.

3. The research administered by Kaminski et al. (2013) demonstrated that teaching dogs how to respond to pointing directions can significantly enhance their connection with their owners, highlighting the potential of communication-based training in fostering the bond between dogs and handlers.

4. Włodarczyk (2016) found that agility training had a significant impact on the obedience and trust levels of dogs towards their handlers. This suggests that physical training routines can positively impact the relationship between a dog and its handler.

5. According to research conducted by Bray et al. (2021)[LIF 540C], dogs who underwent training, such as scent detection, showed a greater attachment to their owners and were more attentive towards them.

Overall, these studies demonstrate that training activities can have a positive impact on the relationship between dogs and their handlers. Engaging in training sessions that require communication, physical exertion, and critical thinking can greatly enhance the connection between the canine and its caregiver, ultimately resulting in a more enjoyable and fruitful companionship.

Training activities can help to strengthen the bond between dogs and their handlers by providing opportunities for communication, physical activity, and problem-solving (Kaminski et al., 2013). Effective communication is crucial for building strong relationships, and incorporating verbal cues and gestures in training sessions can significantly improve a dog's ability to comprehend and obey their handler's instructions. This can lead to an increased sense of trust and cooperation between the dog and handler (Kaminski et al., 2013).

Physical activity is also an important aspect of training activities. Many dogs require daily exercise to maintain their physical and mental health. Participating in training activities that involve physical activity can help to fulfill this need and provide a healthy outlet for their energy. This can lead to a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment for both the dog and handler (Włodarczyk, 2016). Problem-solving is another important aspect of training activities. Many dogs enjoy mental stimulation and challenges. Training activities that involve problem-solving can help to fulfill this need and provide an opportunity for dogs to use their intelligence and problem-solving skills. When dogs successfully complete a training activity, they can feel a sense of accomplishment, which can strengthen their bond with their handler (Rooney & Cowan, 2011).

In addition to the benefits mentioned above, training activities can also provide a way for handlers to spend quality time with their dogs. This can lead to a stronger emotional connection between the dog and handler, which can deepen their bond Marinelli et al. (2007). Overall, training activities can be a valuable tool in strengthening the relationship between dogs and their handlers. Engaging in activities with your dog such as communication, physical exercise, troubleshooting, and spending quality time together can significantly enhance the bond between human and canine.

A strong and healthy relationship between a dog and their owner can have a significant impact on the dog's behavior. Here are references that support this claim:

1. Dogs that have a strong bond with their owners are shown to have lower chances of displaying unwanted behaviors like being aggressive, anxious, or scared, as stated in research by Meyer and Forkman (2014). The study found that dogs with secure attachments to their owners were more confident and less likely to exhibit signs of separation anxiety.

2. Research by Payne et al. (2015), has shown that dogs that maintain a strong bond with their owners display greater obedience and are significantly less prone to misbehavior. The study concluded that a strong bond between a dog and their owner can improve obedience and reduce the risk of behavior problems.

Obviously a strong and healthy relationship between a dog and their owner can have a significant impact on the dog's behavior. The evidence and sources back up the assertion that a close relationship between a dog and their human can enhance compliance, lower the likelihood of conduct issues, and forestall aggression, nervousness, and fright. When owners develop a deep bond with their canine companions, they create a protective and stable atmosphere that encourages desirable conduct in their companions and enhances their overall welfare (Meyer & Forkman, 2014).

The relationship and bond between a dog and their owner is crucial to the dog's behavior. When the relationship between a dog and their owner is strong and healthy, it can have a significant impact on the dog's behavior (Włodarczyk, 2016). Some key points from these studies highlight the importance of a strong bond between a dog and their owner including: trust, communication, obedience, security, and respect. When dogs have a deep connection with their owners, they are more inclined to have faith in them. This reliance can significantly diminish anxiety and fright in dogs, resulting in enhanced conduct and reduced behavioral issues. When a dog and their owner establish a strong bond, they are more prone to communicate effectively with one another; this effective communication can diminish misunderstandings and encourage positive behavior (Payne et al., 2015).

Dogs who have a strong bond with their owners are also more likely to be biddable. When dogs feel a sense of loyalty and respect for their owners, they are more likely to listen and respond to commands. Dogs who have a strong bond with their owners feel secure and safe (Meyer & Forkman, 2014). This sense of security can help reduce anxiety and fear in dogs, which can lead to better behavior and fewer behavior problems. Dogs who have a strong bond with their owners are more likely to respect them. When dogs respect their owners, they are less likely to exhibit aggressive or destructive behavior (Meyer & Forkman, 2014).

Moreover, a strong and healthy relationship between a dog and their owner is crucial to the dog's behavior. Research and sources corroborate the assertion that a vigorous connection between a dog and their human can enhance compliance, diminish the likelihood of behavioral issues, and forestall hostility, distress, and trepidation. Owners who establish a solid bond with their canine companion can offer a protected and stable setting, encourage constructive conduct, and enhance their general welfare (Hiby et al., 2004).

Engaging dogs in activities that promote mental stimulation and problem-solving skills can have significant advantages, not only for their physical health but also for their emotional and mental welfare. There are several studies and sources that support this claim:

1. According to a study by Heath et al. (2014), mental stimulation can tire dogs out as much as physical exercise. According to the research, mental stimulation such as obedience training and interactive toys can elevate a dog's physical activity level, heart rate, and energy expenditure equal to that of physical exercise; this suggests that mental activities can be just as tiring for dogs as physical activities.

2. Research conducted by Schipper et al. (2008) showed dogs that were provided with puzzle toys witnessed a decrease in destructive conduct alongside augmented levels of physical activity. The study concluded that puzzle toys can help provide mental stimulation and reduce boredom, which can be a significant cause of destructive behavior in dogs.

3. According to an article by Wallis et al. ( 2017), problem-solving tasks can be especially advantageous for older dogs since they may have physical restrictions that hinder their ability to participate in high-intensity physical activities. The paper suggests that problem-solving activities can help senior dogs maintain cognitive function and prevent cognitive decline.

4. Vieira de Castro et al. (2020) found that mentally stimulating activities can help reduce stress and anxiety in dogs. Dogs that engaged in training programs incorporating positive reinforcement and challenging tasks exhibited reduced levels of cortisol, unlike those subjected to conventional obedience training, according to the study.

5. An academic article by Visak and Balcombe (2013) explores the concept of self-fulfillment as it relates to the welfare of nonhuman animals, babies, and mentally disabled humans. According to the article, achieving self-fulfillment is an essential element for the well-being of animals, and traditional methods of evaluating welfare may not entirely address their requirements. This article emphasizes that ensuring the biological fulfillment of nonhuman animals is crucial for their overall welfare. Neglecting these needs can lead to behavioral problems, including fear, anxiety, and aggression. To guarantee the welfare and happiness of dogs, it is crucial for pet owners to prioritize the fulfillment of their fundamental biological necessities.

Engaging in mental enrichment and problem-solving exercises can bring about a multitude of advantages for our canine companions, such as heightened mental activity, diminished tedium, decreased disruptive tendencies, and alleviated stress and unease (Vieira de Castro et al., 2020). These studies display the benefits and highlight the significance of incorporating mental activities in a dog's routine to improve their overall well-being.

Several studies suggest that participation in dog sports is beneficial for both dogs and their owners. Here are some recent examples referred to while developing Canine Soapbox:

1. Participating in dog sports has been linked to a decrease in levels of aggression, fear and separation anxiety in dogs, as per research by Dinwoodie et al. (2022); they also found that owners who participated in dog sports reported higher levels of satisfaction with their dogs' behavior.

2. According to Westgarth et al. (2019), dog owners engaged in canine sports have a higher likelihood of achieving physical activity objectives compared to dog owners who do not participate in such sports.

3. Gillespie et al. (2002) published a study which indicates that involvement in canine sports actually nurtures a sense of commitment and accomplishment; participating in dog sports was connected with improved obedience, agility performance, and superior socialization abilities of dogs.

​​Cognitive approaches to dog training focus on teaching dogs to think and make decisions for themselves, rather than relying on punishment or reward-based training methods. Here are some recent studies that suggest that cognitive approaches to dog training are beneficial:

1. According to Milgram et al. (2006), dogs that undergo cognitive enrichment and training exhibit greater obedience levels and perform better when faced with problem-solving situations compared to those trained through traditional punishment-based methods, and can be beneficial for reducing the rate of age-related cognitive decline.

2. According to a study by Howell and Bennett (2011), puppies socialized and trained using cognitive methods exhibited greater levels of attentiveness and responsiveness towards their owners in comparison to those trained using conventional methods.

3. Wells (2022) concluded that incorporating cognitive training methods in dogs is indeed an efficient approach. The study revealed that dogs trained using cognitive methods had lower levels of anxiety and stress as compared to those trained using conventional methods.

4. The efficacy of emotional contagion and cognitive training techniques are beneficial for the dog and human working with them. A study by Sümegi et al. (2014) showed physiological and hormonal synchronization between dogs and their owners during positive interaction.

5. According to a recent study by Hare and Ferrans (2021), implementing a cognitive approach to dog training can significantly improve the breeding, selection, and training procedure of dogs in our community. This research presents a hopeful outlook towards producing superior dogs that can serve as better companions and helpers for people.

Research indicates that using cognitive methods for training dogs can greatly enhance their obedience, problem-solving aptitude, attentiveness, and receptiveness; moreover, it can alleviate stress and anxiety in dogs.


Engaging in dog sports offers a range of advantages to both dogs and their owners such as enhanced physical activity and cognitive function, better social integration, strengthened attachment, and reduced behavioral issues. By promoting greater participation in these sports, we can foster a more harmonious bond between dogs and their owners while simultaneously minimizing canine behavior issues throughout society (Dinwoodie et al., 2022). Canine Soapbox is a unique and exciting new dog sport that emphasizes the importance of communication between dogs and their owners. It will provide a fun and challenging activity for both the dog and owner and can help improve the bond between the two. With proper training and safety precautions, this sport can be a great way for dogs and owners to enjoy their time together.

Encouraging dog owners to train their beloved pets can be achieved by highlighting how training will enhance the relationship between them, defining attainable training objectives, providing ample assistance and direction, incorporating enjoyable methods into the training program, and commemorating accomplishments together (Farrell et al., 2015). By taking these steps, we can help ensure that owners are motivated and empowered to train their dogs effectively. Canine Soapbox is an innovative dog sport rooted in canine cognition and psychology, specifically engineered to assist dogs in honing indispensable life abilities while simultaneously advancing their emotional health. This all-inclusive sport utilizes dogs' inherent tendencies and behaviors to maximize their capabilities and enhance the connection between them and their handlers. Engaging in this novel canine activity will yield a multitude of advantages, notably creating an ideal atmosphere and formula for nurturing crucial life proficiencies.


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