When it comes to training struggles, the common denominator is a dog that lacks the ability to disengage from distractions. involving things like:
- your dog not coming back when called,
- pulling on lead, barking and lunging at people or other dogs,
- obsessively following another dog around at the park,
- being fixated by that flying pigeon….to name a few!
The Art of Disengagement
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 in training because it helps to solve so 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! Start playing this game inside your home, where there are minimal distractions.
The Orientation Game – you will need:
- Your dog
- Some food
Here’s how you play:
Step 1: 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.
Step 2: 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.
Step 3: Repeat these steps and continue to mark with a ‘yes’ or clicker each time your dog lifts their head and turns back towards you.
Step 4: 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!
Step 5: 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.
Step 6: 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.
This is just one of many games that 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, book a behaviour consult with one of our expert trainers, and we’ll be able to help put a training plan in place to turn your struggles into strengths.