Training Game 2.2

Capturing Calmness

IMG_1285Your dog’s on switch isn’t on all the time – sometimes your dog is calm and sometimes he is not.
But most dogs will swing between extremes: the crazy to calm continuum.

Observe your dog on a normal day and try to pin point when he is at his calmest. What does that dog look like?

Now, think of him when he is at his craziest – what does that dog look like?

You might see your dog go up and down this scale over each and every day. For the most part, the closer his behaviour resembles the calmer end, the more acceptable his behaviour (to humans) will be – the easier he is to live with.IMG20120825_005

Today’s Games

Time Allowance:
This is an all day game – instead of individual sessions, when you think of it, watch your dog and catch him doing the right thing!

Family Participation:
Fun for all the family – kids might like to help out and be detectives for this game!
Always supervise child-dog interactions and make sure children learn to leave the dog alone while he works on his puzzle.

Top Training Tip for Today’s Training Game:
All you need is Training Mix today. Distribute little pots of your dog’s regular food around the house so that everyone in the family can participate and reward your dog as soon as they spot him being calm.
But, make sure to keep this food well out of his reach!

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Catch your dog doing the right (relaxed) thing!

Today you will work on simply observing your dog and assessing how calm and polite he is.

Capturing means to catch the dog doing the behaviour we want and rewarding him – think of it like taking a photograph of what we want.

If you spot your dog being calm at any (and every) time today, approach him quietly without eye contact, praise him calmly and softly and feed him a couple of food rewards. Use pretty boring food rewards for this one to avoid getting him all excited.

The first few times you do this, your dog will probably follow you, nag you, want to get into training mode and play the game again.

Calmly and quietly ignore his protests – turn away from him, busy yourself, don’t give eye contact or talk to him, maybe stroke him a couple of times with long massage-like strokes down his back and then break away. And wait…

Wait for your dog to calm a little again and reward.

If your dog wants something like attention, or to go through a door, or his dinner, take a look at how calm he is. Wait for him to calm and reward him access to the things he wants.
Again, you may need to wait a bit…

Don’t ask your dog to calm down or offer polite behaviours – this is about him developing self-control – he needs to do it for himself. Just wait…

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Doggie see, doggie do

Not only is your dog’s calmer behaviour important here, so is yours.

If you shout, force, or get excited your dog will find it more difficult to calm down so move slowly, don’t move your arms about, talk calmly, take deep breaths and sigh – all of this will help your dog to chill too (and it helps you to calm as well!).

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