Here are our top games we play to grow calmness.
Game 1: Slow Feeding
We suggest that you couple this with boundary games. Growing calmness is all in the reward delivery. Bring the food in really slowly and down onto the boundary, momentarily (literally 1 or 2 seconds!) cage the food with your hand, then gently remove it so that your dog can get it.
Think zen-like thoughts when practicing slow feeding! Don’t let your dog rush you! This game will help those dogs who seemingly have ants in their pants!
Game 2: Figure of 8 Walking
If you own a Naughty But Nice dog, this game for sure needs to be part of your games kit. Figure of 8 walking is the ultimate tool to reduce arousal, regardless of what emotion your dog is feeling (excitement or fear) figure of 8 walking helps!
With figure of 8 walking it can be very easy to walk too fast. The key to success is all in how slow you go. Walk in a figure of 8 pattern, using objects as markers or on the flat, SLOWLY! We can’t stress enough the importance of walking at a snail’s pace. This isn’t a loose lead walking game where you need to constantly feed your dog for being by your side. It’s all about walking together, learning together.
Game 3: Chin Target
A cool game to teach which not only feeds into growing calmness, but as with the majority of the games, it also feeds into value in proximity too! To teach a chin target; gently place your hand up and onto your dog’s chin and while it’s in place feed your dog. Then remove your hand, place it back in contact with your dog’s chin and feed. Repeat this lots of times so that you are pairing the delivery of the reward with the hand placed on the chin. The next step is to gently remove a little pressure from your hand and wait to see if your dog re-positions their chin back into it. Grow the game from there!
Game 4: Calm Massage
Calm massage is so fab for calmness and relationship, but this skill for sure needs to be grown over time if your dog isn’t a massive fan of close proximity or being handled. The key to success is not to be in a hurry. Your dog’s compliance throughout is an absolute must. We start off by very gently running our hand along our dog’s side and feed them at the same time. We then gently grow the game from there. If at any point your dog gets up and leaves, respect it and don’t insist that they come back to continue.
Check out more of our Thursday Training Tips HERE And see our Events calendar HERE. Visit our website for more info on ways we can help: www.devondogs.co.uk or email us HERE, if you have any questions.