The Power of Disengagement
The common denominator with all of the following struggles is a dog who lacks the ability to disengage from distractions:
- Not coming back when called
- Pulling on lead
- Barking and lunging at people or other dogs
- Obsessively following another dog around the park
- Being fixated by that flying pigeon… to name a few!
Top of our List
Here at Devon Dogs our trainers start with skilling a dog up in the art of disengagement. It is top of our list of things to training, because it solves many struggles. It’s that powerful! Disengagement helps to swing the scales back in your favour, resulting in a dog who sees greater value in you, versus whatever the environment has to offer them!
The environment has a lot to offer your dog! To arm yourself, grow the concept of disengagement so that your dog is reactive to you, is able to listen to you and sees you as the better deal, rather than those distractions that you come across on your walks.
So, to kick things off we have a game that you can play right now with your dog! It’s called the ORIENTATION GAME! Start playing this game inside your home where there are minimal distractions. Here’s how you play:
You will need:
- Your dog
- Some food
- Start the game by bowling a piece of food on the floor a metre or so away from you. Allow your dog to eat it.
- When your dog raises their head and starts to orientate back to you, mark with either a ‘yes’ or a clicker and immediately bowl another piece of food on the floor.
- Repeat these steps and continue to mark with a ‘yes’ or clicker each time your dog lifts their head and turns back towards you.
- Play the same game in your home with your dog on lead. This will prep you and your dog for taking this game outside. Holding a lead and bowling food enables you to practice your mechanics before taking this game on the road!
- Start to introduce your dog to this game outside, carefully consider which environments to practice in. A great starting point is on your driveway or in a quiet car park.
- Gradually up the ante with where you play this game, gradually increasing the distractions that are going on around your dog when you are playing this game.
Just one of many games
This is just one of many games we play to build the concept of DISENGAGEMENT. If you own a dog who, when walking, is stressful because your dog simply doesn’t listen to you, give us a call on 07717 696623. We’ll be able to help put a training plan in place to turn your struggles into strengths. 🙂
Read more of our Thursday training blogs HERE.