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naughty but nice

Photo by Mel Taylor for Devon Dogs

Naughty But Nice Strategies

Knowledge gives you confidence. We all know that, right?! When out and about with your dog, do you have the confidence to know what to do when a tricky situation presents itself? Do you know what to do to help your dog? We want to share our Top 4 Naughty But Nice Tips with you.

NBN Tip 1: A-B

When presented with a situation that you know will either worry or over-excite your dog, keep moving!!! It is very common, when presented with such a situation for us to freeze! Keeping the motion is key.

  • The motion could be to turn around, arch around, make space by crossing the street, etc. 
  • Calmness is key, so your motion needs to emulate that, don’t rush, walk calmly.

On our Naughty But Nice Days one of the many skills we cover is A-B. We highly recommend that you practice sliding your hand down your dog’s lead and performing your A-B strategy so that it becomes a trained skill and when its needed in real life, your dog isn’t surprised or freaked out. 

NBN Tip 2: Scatter Feed

One of our favourite strategies! Scatter feeding helps to grow calm. We certainly utilise this as part of ditching the bowl and our dogs enjoy foraging for their dinner!

We also use scatter feeding as a strategy when out and about, where appropriate. In the right environment, take yourself and your dog away from a situation and build some distance, this will likely mean taking yourself off the path. 

Calmly scattering some food on the ground gives your dog another focus, they are calmly foraging for the food, while whatever it is that worries them or over-excites them goes passed. Your dog doesn’t always have to be aware of things that are going by.

NBN Tip 3: Teach MIDDLE!

Middle is a phenomenal, universal skill to teach your dog. It builds value in proximity, focus, recall and it can be a useful tool to use when your dog is in a situation that is overwhelming for them. By calling your dog into middle, you have given your dog the opportunity to get out of a situation and come into a safe zone.

To learn how to teach middle, below is the free Games-Changer eBook from Absolute Dogs. One of the games explained is middle! http://nbn.absolute-dogs.com/gamechangerebook

NBN Tip 4: Figure of 8 walking

If you’re finding that your dog’s arousal levels are increasing when out on a walk, one strategy you can employ to help is figure of 8 walking. It’s most definitely a key strategy, but just why is it so useful and why do we love it so much:

  • It helps to reduce that arousal
  • You can do it anywhere and anytime that it is needed
  • Its calming for YOU and your dog

Naughty But Nice Keys to success:

  • Is your dog wearing the right gear? We love to use a double ended lead attached to either a head collar and harness or clipped onto the front and back of an Xtra Dog Harness.
  • Decide which side your dog is on, don’t let him swap, chop or change sides.
  • Keep the lead loose but short enough that your dog doesn’t get away from you. Try to use your body to manoeuvre your dog around in your figure of 8 pattern, rather than relying on the lead.
  • Slow down! Walk as slow as you can possibly go….and then slow down some more!

Check out more of our Thursday training blogs HERE. Also check out Devon Dogs Sexier than a Squirrel Challenge plus the Training Academy is open again. These are both fab to help you continue homeschooling during lockdown. 🙂 We also have some amazing new online classes at Devon Dogs. Hurry on over, they are selling like hot cakes!

Have you heard about Devon Dogs online classes? You asked…. we delivered…. drum roll please!!! All exercises are based on a home schooling programme, which can be done from your own living room or garden! 


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