Look at That! A game to help encourage calm behavior 1

This is an excellent game to help your dog stay calm when confronted by stressors. If your dog barks at strangers, other dogs or noises he can’t see, this is the game for you! This is another simple exercise; we will just need to keep our eyes and ears open for sights and sounds that freak our dog(s) out. The purpose of this game is to help your dog feel comfortable around potentially scary things. We want our dogs to learn to look at something and then redirect their attention onto us for a reward. Over time, we can change our dogs emotional reactions to stimuli. We can turn a barky, anxious dog into calm and collected companion.

Supplies:

– Clicker

– Treats

– Treat bag

I like to use my evening relaxation time to work on this sort of training. I will often grab a lawn chair and a beverage to sip while we wait for potential triggers to move around. Simply wait somewhere near potential triggers, clicker and treats at the ready. When your dog notices a sound or sight that makes him uneasy, Click! and reward.  It’s that easy! I recommend spending about 3-15 minutes (depending on how stressed your dog may seem) 3-4 times per week on this. Pro Tip – start at a distance from the “trigger” where your dog can see it, but not be overwhelmed by it. 

For more information on this game, see the book Control Unleashed by Leslie McDevitt.