OK, one last way to work on leash reactivity with your dog, or as I like to think of it, paying attention to you vs. the distractions that used to send them over their threshold 😉…

PARK BENCH BINGO!!!

Now to be fair let’s recap what we have learned and mastered up to this point (because if you haven’t, this skill will be more than you or your dog can handle)

  • Wait
  • Leave it
  • Watch Me
  • Leave it/Watch Me in the Car
  • Leave it/Watch Me on Leash
  • Leave it/Watch Me in a Park

My point is there is a lot of prep work and skills to be taught before you get to this last game! If you have not put in the time and effort beforehand this game can be to much for the dog and even unsafe if you are not ready!

This is a great time for me to reiterate, getting professional help with leash reactivity is my suggestion to just about everyone but understanding what skills are necessary (through these blogs) helps people understand what they are going up against in regards to training and distractions and what they will have to deal with.

Park Bench Bingo is an awesome game to proof where your dog is (behavior wise)… We are going to simply, go to a park and find the first park bench sit down an get a down from our dog and just wait for them to completely calm down! Once they do, we get up and head to the next park bench, sit down, get a down from our dog and wait for them to relax and repeat… Somethings to think about:

  • Walking pathways are usually right next to the Park Benches so make sure your dog can handle this or look for Park Benches that are out of the way to begin the practice. You might even need to look for picnic tables (they tend to be in more out of the way locations)
  • Many folks do not have the patience to practice this way (they think it is boring) but honestly if you want a dog who is relaxed you need to be able to relax as well, and if all you do is go, go, go what are you teaching your dog?
  • Don’t forget to practice your Watch Me’s and Leave its while sitting and relaxing… Remember the commands are not a bad thing used as a punishment rather they are redirections to reward while teaching the dog paying attention to you is better than reacting or overstimulating…
  • Also don’t forget to periodically reward with a kind word, touch or even a treat for just relaxing. After all what we are trying to teach is being in the presence of other dogs is normal and not a reason for over excitement or stimulation…

As you get to where you can move around from park bench to park bench and your dog can relax… You have reached the goal a dog that can be around dogs without freaking out… A word on puppies and adolescent dogs; many of you will be wanting these skills because your dog freaks out when seeing another dog on leash and yes with time and professional help you can achieve this result but if you just start this training before they learn to over stimulate  (puppies and adolescents) you can not only prevent bad behaviors but also teach calm and relaxing as a normal way of life… if you have any questions do not hesitate to contact us through the website!!!!

Good luck and keep it simple stupid 😊

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