Training Game 3.5

Doggie Zen Level 4

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You thought Level 3 was tough? You ain’t seen nothing yet!

Today’s Games

Time Allowance:
Practice for 1-2 minute sessions and then take a break. Have a few  sessions today.

Try fitting  each short session into your routine; for example, while you wait for the kettle to boil, during the ad break of your TV show or while you wait for the computer to start up.

Really do keep sessions short on these exercises! The self-control bank account depletes fast and your dog will need some time to recuperate so make sure to give them a good break too.

Family Participation:
This exercise is for adults only!

Top Tip for Today’s Training Games:
Notice that we don’t ask our dog to do anything here at all – no talking!

This is about self-control – we are working on a default here so you never need to ask for polite behaviour when you have things your dog wants – he just does it!

Remember, if your dog gets stuck with any of our exercises this week, think of ways that you can make it easier for him to succeed and then build again more gradually.

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Zen Level 4

Play a little bit of Level 3 first to warm up.

  • when your dog moves back from the container, take one food reward out and place on the floor beside the container
  • (be ready to cover the container and the food on the floor if your dog approaches)
  • pick that food off the floor and put back in the container, feed one food reward from the container to your dog
  • repeat using different combinations of placing food on the floor, putting it back into the container, feeding from the floor and feeding from the container

Really short sessions for this one as it’s very tough!

Check out our compilation of some Level 4 Zen-dogs:

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Dogs of all shapes & sizes, and of all ages & stages can become zen-dogs!

Training Game 3.4

Doggie Zen Level 3

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So yesterday we achieved zen with only one or two treats on the floor, today it’s a whole bowl of treats on the floor…and you thought Level 2 was a challenge!

Today’s Games

Time Allowance:
Practice for 1-2 minute sessions and then take a break. Have a few  sessions today.

Try fitting  each short session into your routine; for example, while you wait for the kettle to boil, during the ad break of your TV show or while you wait for the computer to start up.

Really do keep sessions short on these exercises! The self-control bank account depletes fast and your dog will need some time to recuperate so make sure to give them a good break too.

Family Participation:
This exercise is for adults only!

Top Tip for Today’s Training Games:
Notice that we don’t ask our dog to do anything here at all – no talking!

This is about self-control – we are working on a default here so you never need to ask for polite behaviour when you have things your dog wants – he just does it!

Remember, if your dog gets stuck with any of our exercises this week, think of ways that you can make it easier for him to succeed and then build again more gradually.

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Zen Level 3

  • add some food rewards to a small bowl or container (make sure you can cover the container with one hand)
  • begin to lower the container toward the floor, if your dog moves toward the container of food, bring the food back up to your lap or onto a chair or table
  • if your dog offers behaviours from his polite list continue to lower the container until you can get it on the floor
  • if your dog approaches the container cover it with your hand
  • if your dog paws or bites at your hand lift the container up off the floor for a couple of seconds and try to lower gradually again
  • cover the container until your dog shows at least one behaviour from your polite list
  • once uncovered, if your dog stays back from the container of food offer him a food reward

Work on this one until your dog can stay back off the container full of treats!

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Training Game 3.3

Doggie Zen Level 2

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Was your dog able to achieve zen at level 1? Let’s try Level 2…

Today’s Games

Time Allowance:
Practice for 1-2 minute sessions and then take a break. Have a few  sessions today.

Try fitting  each short session into your routine; for example, while you wait for the kettle to boil, during the ad break of your TV show or while you wait for the computer to start up.

Really do keep sessions short on these exercises! The self-control bank account depletes fast and your dog will need some time to recuperate so make sure to give them a good break too.

Family Participation:
This exercise is for adults only!

Top Tip for Today’s Training Games:
Notice that we don’t ask our dog to do anything here at all – no talking!

This is about self-control – we are working on a default here so you never need to ask for polite behaviour when you have things your dog wants – he just does it!

Remember, if your dog gets stuck with any of our exercises this week, think of ways that you can make it easier for him to succeed and then build again more gradually.

Now it’s really going to get tough as we move the food to the floor…

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Zen Level 2

Practice a couple of rounds of Level 1 and then take your handful of food and place it on the floor – keep it covered!

  • place some food rewards on the floor
  • cover with your palm
  • when your dog moves away from your palm covering the food rewards, move your hand to the side
  • quickly re-cover the food if he approaches again
  • offer him one food reward if he can show any of the behaviours on his polite list

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Food on the floor is super-duper hard to resist for dogs so don’t worry if this is too challenging.

Instead of the on the floor start this one with the food on a chair, sofa or coffee table.

Build right the way through today’s challenge before moving the food to the floor for this dog.

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Level 2 Challenge

Once your dog has achieved Level 2 zen, build their patience one second at a time.

How long can your dog leave that treat on the floor?

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Training Game 3.2

Doggie Zen Level 1

A zen-dog is a pleasure to live with because he has learned that good things come to dogs who wait.

The zen-dog doesn’t steal food or belongings, the zen-dog doesn’t snatch things out of hands, the zen-dog doesn’t jump up on people or counters to grab food or items, the zen-dog doesn’t steal from your plate, even when you leave it down within reach.

The zen-dog waits patiently, asks nicely and behaves politely to get the things he wants.

Would you like a zen-dog? You’re in the right place…

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We are going to build on our NO mugging rule by teaching our dog, that to get the food in your hand, be patient and polite.

Today’s Games

Time Allowance:
Practice for 1-2 minute sessions and then take a break. Have a few  sessions today.

Try fitting  each short session into your routine; for example, while you wait for the kettle to boil, during the ad break of your TV show or while you wait for the computer to start up.

Family Participation:
This exercise is for adults only!

Top Tip for Today’s Training Games:
Notice that we don’t ask our dog to do anything here at all – no talking!

This is about self-control – we are working on a default here so you never need to ask for polite behaviour when you have things your dog wants – he just does it!

Remember, if your dog gets stuck with any of our exercises this week, think of ways that you can make it easier for him to succeed and then build again more gradually.

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Zen Level 1:

  • hold some food rewards in your palm
  • if your dog approaches your palm, close your fist
  • if your dog attempts to mouth or paw your fist withdraw your hand by bending at the elbow
  • when your dog stops, re-present your open palm
  • repeat as needed
  • as soon as you notice your dog chooses not to move toward the treat or showing any of the behaviours on his polite list, offer him the food

Start working on this exercise with just your dog’s regular food in your closed fist and as he improves increase the value of the food rewards.

It’s best to start with this exercise while sitting on a chair or sofa.

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Level 1 Challenge:

  • try to build the time your dog leaves the treat in your palm – just a one count at a time
  • as you progress, you might notice that your dog looks away from the treat to you (“hey! gimme my treat!”)
  • reward that – being able to look away from something they really want and give you eye contact is a great start (“please, may I have the treat?”)

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Wow!

That’s the first step toward your dog becoming a zen-dog!

Training Game 3.1

The First Rule of Week 3…

NO Mugging!

When it comes to food, especially high value food, dogs are pretty quick about hoovering up any morsel they can get to, so, the first rule of this week’s games will be that mugging = nothing but patience = yummies.

Your powers of observation are needed here again – this time you are looking out for polite behaviours to reward.

Polite-list behaviours that you might reward include:

  • four feet on the floor (no jumping up)
  • quiet (no barking or whining)
  • moving back from you
  • being still
  • standing away from you

Can you come up with a list of behaviours that tell you your dog is being patient and polite?

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Today’s Games

Time Allowance:
Practice for 1-2 minute sessions and then take a break. Have a few  sessions today.

Try fitting  each short session into your routine; for example, while you wait for the kettle to boil, during the ad break of your TV show or while you wait for the computer to start up.

Family Participation:
For this exercise it’s best to get this really well established before allowing children participate in this one, just in case this excites and frustrates your dog a little at the start.

Top Tip for Today’s Training Games:
If your dog gets stuck with any of our exercises this week, think of ways that you can make it easier for him to succeed and then build again more gradually.

Options to try might include:

  • having the food in or under a tighter hand
  • using lower value food
  • working when your dog is calmer and the house is quiet
  • practicing after your dog has been fed so he’s not as hungry
  • making sure there are no other dogs around

Beginner Level Game

Start standing up, holding a handful of yummy treats – you can have the treats in a treat pouch, in a bowl or any container you wish.

Make sure your dog notices the yummies and wait for him to approach.
Before your dog gets to you, toss a food reward just behind him.

He will approach again; repeat.

There’s no talking in this game – so don’t ask your dog to do a behaviour!

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Not only does Benny the puppy offer polite distance but he also sits – dogs do what works, so if you reward it, they will do it!

We are easing your dog into this game by rewarding him where we want him to be – a little bit away from us so there’s no mugging!

After some practice at this game, try our advanced games next.

Advanced Level Game

Now that your dog has learned how to be a bit more polite when you are standing up with treats, we are going to increase the challenge little by little.

  • holding your treats, bend at the knee a little
  • as soon as your dog approaches, toss a treat away
  • repeat lots, bending a little lower each time if you can

Still no talking or asking your dog to do behaviours!

A greater challenge: 

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to watch your dog and reward him every time he is being patient and polite.

When you begin with this game, just choose one polite behaviour at a time to reward.
When your dog is offering that one, choose a second polite behaviour and reward that, and so on.

Each time you see your dog offering one of these behaviours reward him with a teeny treat.
Holding your treats, kneel on the floor or sit on a low chair or stool.

Work through your list of polite behaviours, watching your dog closely.

Reward your dog where you want him to be so hold your reward right at his nose and guide his head away from you before releasing the reward.

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If that’s too tricky, don’t worry – sit on a chair instead.

Can you see what we are doing here?

We are slowly making it harder for your dog to be polite by gradually increasing the challenge each time he is successful.

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Are you able to sit on the floor with food in your hand or in your lap today? Get practicing!

Week 2 Bonus Challenge

Up for a challenge…?

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Calm-mat to the rescue…

Let’s start to use our dog’s calm-mat to help them be a little more under control in those exciting situations.

Teach your dog that when you get his lead out, it’s time to go to his mat and settle.

Time Allowance:
Practice for 1 minute sessions at a time with plenty of down-time in between.
It’s best to try to work practice into your routine, such as while you wait for the kettle to boil, while you wait for the computer to start up or during the ad break of a TV show.
To make things easier at the start, practice after your dog has had his walk.

Family Participation:
Kids are often great dog trainers. Teach each child how to lure safely.
If your dog is mouthy,  jumpy or likely to get over-excited it might be best for you to get the behaviours established and then bring in the kids to help with practice.
Always supervise child-dog interactions and make sure children learn to leave the dog alone when eating his rewards.

Stage 1

Make sure not to have any other clues that tell your dog it’s walkies time present; so no keys, jackets, boots and so on. It may even be a good idea to have no collar or harness on your dog at this stage.

Revise your matwork. Lay out your dog’s mat and wait for him to settle on it.

Reward him with five rewards on the mat and then release him.

Repeat x3.

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Stage 2

Hold out your dog’s lead so he can see it. Immediately drop two or three yummy rewards onto his mat, no matter what your dog does.

Right now, his behaviour isn’t as important as him building the connection between his lead and yummies showing up on his mat.

You know you are getting somewhere when your dog looks at his lead and then expectantly looks for his treat.

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Stage 3

Hold out your dog’s lead and wait for him to go to his mat. You can help him by cueing or even luring him into a down position on his mat if needed.

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Stage 4

Practice with a more real life level of excitement by bringing in a jazz up/settle down game into this exercise.

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Show your dog his lead and wait for him to go to his mat. Surprise him with a jazz up game like tug.

Show your dog his lead again and wait for him to get onto the mat again.

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Dog getting stuck?

Is your dog finding this too hard? If your dog can’t control their excitement and is finding it difficult to progress through the stages, make it a little easier so that he is successful.

Instead of holding his lead, start by teaching him that you simply moving toward his lead or reaching for his lead for his clue to check out his mat.

Doorbell Excitement

This very same exercise can be used to teach your dog to go to his calm-mat when the doorbell sounds or there is a knock.

Just start with Stage 1 at the easiest level for your dog. For example, have your dog far enough from the door that he doesn’t go completely nuts when he hears your assistant ring or knock.

It’s a great idea to record the sound of your doorbell or someone knocking so that you can control the volume.

Simples!

As always, we want to see your training!

TYD 2016 Week 3

You may have noticed that most dogs pretty much arrive believing that if they want it, they can take it, when they want it.

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Jumpy really wants his toy but has learned that by responding to cues he can get his reward…

Week 3 Patience Pays

Improved self-control can lead to a vast progress in lots and lots of training and behaviour exercises you’re working on.

In the dictionary, beside the definition for "self-control"
In the dictionary, beside the definition for “self-control”

 

This week we will be working on teaching our dog that he just can’t have all the things he wants, when he wants them – but instead, teaching him a new rule, that patience pays.

What do I need for Week 3?

  • Training Mix
  • your dog’s favourite things (treats, toys, activities and so on)
  • a little bowl
  • leash, collar and so on for walkies

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Week 3 Training Games

  • The First Rule of Week 3
  • Doggie Zen Level 1
  • Doggie Zen Level 2
  • Doggie Zen Level 3
  • Doggie Zen Level 4
  • Living the Doggie Zen Life

What’s my dog learning?

  • I am learning that good things come to those who wait!
  • I can control my frustration and can wait patiently
  • I learn that I can’t have everything I want when I want it!
  • I learn how to choose more appropriate behaviours rather than having to be told what to do.
  • I become better at settling myself and am much easier to live with.
  • By learning to tolerate frustration and delay of reward helps prevent me developing more serious behaviour issues

We’re exchanging impatient and pushy for calm and polite!

You can download a more printer friendly, but abbreviated version of this week’s exercises here.

Training Game 2.5

Shaping calmness

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We are going to test your powers of observation with today’s plans and zoom in on calm and settle behaviour that we can teach.

What does your calm dog look like?

To shape calmness we will break down the image of your calm dog into little pieces and work on each piece at a time.

Soon you will be able to combine the pieces and have the full picture of a calm dog.

Start with your dog’s calm-mat and wait for your dog to lie on and settle on the mat. Reward as needed.

Watch your dog closely and note the sorts of behaviours you see when you capture calmness; these might be the ingredients in your calm-dog recipe:

  • lying over on one hip, on his side or frog legs
  • head down, resting
  • breathing deeply
  • eyes not watching anything particular or closed
  • ears relaxed and not orienting toward anything
  • feet relaxed so nails pointing straight out, rather than curled over
  • tail still and lying

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Can you zoom in any closer? What other ingredients can you spot?

Today’s Games

Time Allowance:
Practice for 3-4 minute sessions and then take a break. Have a couple of sessions today.

Try fitting  each short session into your routine when the household is quiet, for example during the ad breaks of your TV show.

Family Participation:
Kids are often great dog trainers. Teach each child how to lure and deliver rewards safely.
If your dog is mouthy,  jumpy or likely to get over-excited it might be best for you to get the behaviours established and then bring in the kids to help with practice.
Always supervise child-dog interactions and make sure children learn to leave the dog alone when eating his rewards.

Top Tip for Today’s Training Game:
Are you really getting into helping your dog self-calm and settle? Why not incorporate today’s exercises in to a more advanced program: Dr Overall’s Relaxation Protocol (an explanation here).

You will need:

  • Training Mix
  • your dog’s calm-mat

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Beginners Level Game

Shaping calm on a mat

Wait for your dog to find his mat. For this exercise you are going to reward him on his mat throughout.

Reward him and wait for him to show some behaviour that is closer to one of the ingredients on your list.

Maybe he stops wagging his tail momentarily, maybe he relaxes his mouth a little, maybe he takes a deep breath – reward it.

The more observant you become the more you will see and reward so that your dog becomes better at becoming progressively calmer.

Your dog may drift off while you practice or you might like to end the session by sitting with your dog for a massage session.

Advanced Level Game

Deep breathing

Taking a deep breath is not only relaxing and relieving for us, but for our dogs too. If we feel a little overwhelmed we can consciously ask ourselves to breathe, to take a deep breath.

We can give our dogs this skill too by teaching them first to take a breath in, to deep breathe on cue and then teach him to take a deep breath in ever more exciting situations.

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Settle your dog on his calm-mat and reward on his mat throughout practice.

  • hold a treat between your thumb and forefinger close to your face, away from your dog
  • slowly lower the treat toward your dog
  • watch your dog’s nose carefully – you are looking for a nostril flare, pinching at the side of his nose, closed mouth or keeping an eye on his chest to see it raise with inhalation
  • as soon as you see that, say YES! softly and immediately feed your dog the treat

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  • when your dog is consistently breathing as you lower the treat, begin to fade this
  • take a deep sigh before you lower your hand
  • slowly lower an empty hand (as if the treat was still in there)
  • when your dog inhales, YES! and reward from your other hand

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  • after some repetition, you will notice your dog taking deep breaths – YES! reward each one without prompting with the treat

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  • build reliability in your sighing cue
  • take a deep breath (sigh), just before you think your dog will deep-breathe
  • as soon as he does, YES! and reward

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Take a deep breath!

Another super useful training game down – yay!

Training Game 2.4

Massage

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Who doesn’t love a massage?

Massage has benefits for both the giver and receiver including lowering blood pressure, improved immune response and blood circulation, and stress reduction.

Regularly, systematically and gently handling your dog all over allows you to become more familiar with him so that you will be able to spot any differences quickly and report them to your vet.

Things you might look out for include:

  • sensitivity to touch and handling
  • swelling or tension
  • changes in surface temperature
  • skin and coat health & condition

Try this game today and tomorrow when you are settling down, and all is calm. It may take quite a while or your dog may prefer very short massages – you won’t know until you get started!

Use your dog’s calm-mat for this and wait for him to lie on it in a settled position. You can reward him with one or two food rewards if you like.
Sit on the floor beside your dog for his massage.

Precautions

If your dog is experiencing inflammation, pain, infection, fracture, burns or wounds do not massage in or around those areas.

Pressure

It’s best to start with the least amount of pressure that will just move your dog’s hair. As you continue, assess how much your dog is enjoying their massage but only increase pressure incrementally.

For the most part, dogs don’t enjoy pressure on the top of their head but may enjoy slightly more pressure along their back.

Less is more and it’s best to keep massage pressure gentle.

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Relaxing Body Massage

To start, using the flat of your palm, gently and slowly sweep your hand from the top of your dog’s neck all the way down to the base of his tail.

Repeat this movement over and over, once your dog is comfortable for you to continue.

As your dog settles into his massage, still using your flat palm in slow circular motions, massage over your dog’s entire body.

Really focus on what you are feeling as you handle your dog’s body and take deep breaths. Not only will this relax you, but this mindful approach will help to calm your dog.

Massage down your dog’s body, from head to tail, with flat palms and then bring your hands back up their body.

Use your fingers to crawl up through your dog’s hair and move your thumb along behind them. This will provide slightly firmer pressure, moving their coat and their skin slightly against the grain.

Ear Slides

This is a favourite T-touch technique for many dogs and their humans alike. As your dog relaxes more and more from his relaxing body massage, start some gentle ear slides.

With your thumb and finger on either side of his ear leather, slowly move them from the base of the ear to the tip using gentle pressure. Repeat over and over, as long as your dog is comfortable with this move.

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How comfortable is your dog?

To us, the sound of a massage is lovely but we generally consent to have someone else massage us.

If we didn’t know a person, if a person had never massaged us before and if a person didn’t ask us if they could massage us we would likely find that highly uncomfortable. Your dog may experience this too.

Don’t assume, just because you enjoy massages and you enjoy massaging your dog, that he feels the same way.

Doggie discomfort:

A great tool to use here is to film your dog while you massage or handle his body for about 30 seconds (or as long as you feel he is comfortable).

Review the clip or watch your dog closely and look out for some of the following signs of doggie discomfort:

  • stiffness – your dog is still with some tension
  • chin raised and still, particularly if you are handling his head
  • your dog or any part of his body is frozen, with wide staring eyes
  • whale eye – half moon shape whites of one or both eyes visible
  • turning away from you
  • trying to move a body part away
  • trying to avoid your touch
  • flinching when you touch an area
  • licking at your hand or an area you are handling
  • mouthing your hand
  • staring at you or your hand
  • eyes fixed
  • whiskers forward or moving forward
  • tightening of the lips
  • lifting of the lips
  • wrinkling to the top of the nose
  • growling
  • snapping, snarling or biting

If you see any of these signals or any others that you believe indicate your dog might  be uncomfortable, stop massaging immediately and try to distract your dog by tossing a food reward or toy for your dog.
Move away and give your dog a break.

Helping boost your dog’s comfort

If you saw that your dog was uncomfortable during massage, take a note of the areas that you were handling when he showed discomfort – hot zones.

Your dog might need a little help to learn to love having these areas handled. Beyond massage, being comfortable with being handled is important for all dogs, who will at some stage, require relatively invasive handling at the vets or groomers.

Play Touch 4 Treat

It’s good that you have identified your dog’s discomfort…now let’s help your dog feel more comfortable with handling and massage.

Don’t practice this on your dog’s calm-mat – put that away and out of sight for now, until your dog is more comfortable.

The key to this game is to teach your dog that each time you touch a hot zone, that makes an unbelievably amazing treat appear.

  • make a list of your dog’s hot zones
  • concentrate on one at a time
  • choose the area closest to your dog’s hot zone that he is comfortable with handling – start there
  • touch that area, and immediately feed a treat to your dog – it doesn’t matter what he does, just make that treat appear
  • stop if your dog shows any of those signs of discomfort and move further away
  • if your dog is happy repeat about a five-count after your dog has finished eating his treat
  • repeat in sets of ten and then take a break

Chilled out!

Well done for getting through today, even though it really wasn’t like work!

 

Training Game 2.3

Parking Your Pup

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Parking is a great tool that can be used in lots of situations. This clip from Learning About Dogs shows some of the applications of parking:

We are going to use parking with our dog’s calm-mat to help with calming and managing your dog’s behaviour in potentially exciting situations.

Today’s Games

Time Allowance:
Practice for 1-2 minute sessions and then take a break. Have a few  sessions today.

Try fitting  each short session into your routine; for example, while you wait for the kettle to boil, during the ad break of your TV show or while you wait for the computer to start up.

You might settle your dog for a long period too – and that’s great!

Family Participation:
It’s better for adults to practice today’s games as it is not safe for children to stand on the lead to restrain a dog.

Top Tip for Today’s Training Game:
Use the Jazz up/Settle down game to give your dog the opportunity for a little crazy before you expect your dog to settle down while you are busy or occupied.

You will need:

  • Training Mix
  • your dog’s calm-mat
  • leash, collar/harness
  • Kong toys – stuffed or lined

Beginner Level Games:

Park your pup:

  • have your dog on a lead attached to a flat collar or harness
  • give your dog a chew or lined Kong toy to work on (if it’s too exciting and your dog can’t settle first, hold his collar or harness with one hand)
  • hold the lead with one hand and allow the slack of the lead to pool on the floor
  • stand on the lead at the point where it is taut to your hand, but there is slack to your dog

Use your dog’s calm-mat for this one and practice in different rooms of the house.

Advanced Level Games

Park your Pup, on the road:

For your walkies, bring your mat and a frozen lined Kong toy. About halfway through, lay out your dog’s mat and see if he can lie on it.

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Don’t worry if he’s not ready for that just yet!

Hold the Kong toy under one foot on your dog’s mat. Park your Pup with your other foot and allow your dog to work on their yummy treat.

This lapping action, taking some time and encouraging your dog to settle will help your dog to flip his off switch, even on an exciting adventure.

Maybe your dog can only work on their Kong for a few seconds or maybe he finds it difficult to be too interested in it at all – these are really likely at the start of your training program. So don’t worry too much – there are things we can do:

  • practice this in a really quiet spot
  • allow your dog to check the area out first and sniff every inch
  • use the absolute most amazingly yummy filling to line the Kong
  • practice toward the end of your walk, closer to home – if at the start this works best when you get back to your front door, or even inside the house that’s ok and is your starting point – work backwards from there

You can play this game at home too!

Try this game with your calm-mat to really test your training:

Jazz Up & Settle Down

This game teaches your dog to better control his excitement and allows him to practice bring himself down from that high. We are basically helping your dog install that ‘off’ switch.

  • using a toy, a game and an excited tone of voice get your dog all jazzed up – remember to use your cue for getting a game going
  • jazz up for a five count

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  • immediately stop and lay out your dog’s mat
  • if he doesn’t lie on it, you may need to remind him by cueing or luring
  • you can use food rewards at the start of this game – reward your dog with one food reward after another
  • settle down for a ten count

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  • get your dog all jazzed up again and repeat

As your dog improves with this exercise you should see him settle quicker – now you can begin to increase the length of each jazz up and each settle down period.

Always make sure that your dog is settled for at least twice as long as they are jazzed up.

Start and end each game with a settle down; having a longer settle down at the end.

Wohoo!

Day 3 done – well done 🙂

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