Leash Walking: Distracted, or Reactive Dog? These Games Will Help! #76

A common complaint we get from 
people who are pretty new to our   programs they'll say, “Okay Susan,
I played the first couple of games   but my dog's still chasing kids on 
a bike. And I don't know when, how
  these games are gonna fix it.” And what happens 
is we tend to focus on where we are and where we
  want to be and say, “Oh, I still 
don't have that.” Instead of saying,   “Okay, look where you started from.”
And celebrating and being excited by   the change that you see.
Because what you will see   by playing games, even if you're just 
playing the games that I have on my
  YouTube page or on my podcast 
here, you're going to notice   that the value that used to be only in your
food or only in your toys is starting to transfer   to you.

That's the amazing things about games.
And if you're in Home School the Dog or   Recallers where those games are 
strategically layered, that's
  when you're going to see outcomes 
almost daily. Hi, I'm Susan Garrett.   Welcome to Shaped by Dogs.
Before we get started today,   I'm going to share with you part of a 
letter that came in from one of our
  Recaller students.
This is kind of scary   business. She's in Australia and as you 
know, Australia, they, I don't know what
  that poor Island did to deserve having 
all of the venomous creatures of the air   and the earth and the
water and that are all in   Australia. It's such a beautiful country 
with beautiful people. So, one of our
  Recallers, she was playing in the 
backyard when she noticed a baby   Australian brown snake that was
slithering super close to her   and her Australian Shepherd.
So, she got up called her dog's name, ran towards   the house.

Her dog chased her. She grabbed the
collar and wished him away from danger. And   she said, “A few months ago 
before I started Recallers
  I'm not sure the situation would have 
ended so well for me, so thank you.”
  Games, these games do work. And today what 
I'm going to share with you is some games of
  engagement to improve your leash walking. I know 
so many of you have to walk your dogs on leash.
  Now I have to make a point of walking my 
dogs on leash. I'm very blessed. I know   what a privilege it is
for me to live where I live,   and my dogs don't have to walk on leash.
So, I have to make a point of walking my   dog on leash.

So, I create games 
that intentionally help turn
  your dog's focus back on you. If 
you're watching this on YouTube,   you are in luck because we have got
some videos to demonstrate what I'm going to say   today. And if you are watching on YouTube, go
ahead and like, smash that like button,   for me please if you would.
If you're not watching us on YouTube,   I'm going to do brilliant job of 
describing these games so you will
  be able to visualize them as you 
drive in your car, but please   hands at ten and two. I don't want
anybody getting into any trouble   because of this podcast. So, when 
we walk our dogs on leash, it's
  easy to meander.
Now I hope you're not   one of those absent-minded owners that 
get on their phone and start scrolling
  through whatever, you know, sure put 
on a podcast, put in your back pocket   and listen. But don't forget
the most important job that   we have when we're walking our dogs 
is the job of engagement.

Oh, sure
  we want them to eliminate and do their business. 
That's important too, but nothing trumps the
  relationship that we have with our dogs.
It's all about that engagement. So,   in previous episodes, I've shared 
with you how important it is that
  you do things that engage your dog. 
So, episode 74, I mentioned that   yeah let your dog read pee mail,
but make sure it is something that   is structured and coming through you.
So here on my YouTube channel recently   I shared a video, it's a super 
important video. If you haven't
  had a chance to go over there yet 
and see it, it's called ‘Perch work,   Pivots and Spins.’ And it is the
foundation of getting your dog to   want to be in reinforcement zone. 
Now, I'm just going to as a side
  mention, some of you were saying, you got your dog 
on the pivot, on the perch, but they wouldn't
You need to   be patient with this.

Use the target stick and 
put it right along the dog's shoulder. They're
  going to turn their head to look at that 
target stick. And if you've got a clicker,   you can click the moment
that when they turn their head,   that causes the opposite rear leg to 
step. You've got to be really patient.
  Look at those back legs and click them 
when they start moving.

Of course,   feed your dog. The other
thing you can do is as I   showed in that video step, be patient and 
step towards your dog. All right. So,
  get your dog moving on that perch. 
Now let's say you've come to hear   this in this podcast where you're
like, “Okay, my dogs have got great   perch work. They understand it.”
We need to transition now. So,   I put out a challenge when I did 
episode number 73, I put out a
  challenge that when you've done all 
the pivots on the perch, I'd like you   to go a week without walking
your dog and see if that doesn't   help your dog to walk on leash better. 
And I got at least one person
  came back and said their German Shepherd was   actually walking better just 
by doing stationary work
  without walking.

Well today we're walking.
I want to talk about how to transition that   perch work to getting to move 
forward. All right. So, we're
  going to start by playing just the game of search. 
Now you've heard my podcast before. Search means
  you now have permission to go and 
look for the cookie that I threw.
  So, we're going to get our dog on the perch 
and you're going to say the word “search”,   and then you're
going to throw your   hand back. Now a little game within a game 
that I'd like you to play is, I want you to
  not have a cookie in your hand and 
make the motion like you're going to   throw the cookie back and see
if your dog lifts one paw off   the perch or even worse, leaves.

want our dog to stay at our sides.
  Remember, be seen on our seam. That's what I kept 
saying in episode number 53. And we want our
  dogs to walk beside us.
Now that doesn't mean I want   your dog to stare up at you the whole 
time you're walking, but they need
  to be on a loose leash so that they're not pulling 
you somewhere or dragging you over somewhere
  else. And remember, episode number 74, for those 
times that I do allow my dogs to have some time
  scenting, because scenting is a 
great release for your dogs.
  So, scenting very, very different 
than the word search. That's a podcast   all on its own. And I am going
to get to it at some point because   it's getting to be a little bit of a 
pet peeve, of mine when I see people,
  getting the two of them mixed up. 
So, we got on our perch, we're doing   search and then we're going to
pretend to throw our hand back.   And if the dog stays in position, 
touch your out seam of your pants,
  feed your dog.
Remember that's our   target zone that we want to build value for. 
Out seam, feed.

All right. So, nothing
  new, this is just building value 
for reinforcement zone, combining   search with fake searching. Right. So
that's the first game I want you to do.   Search, come and let the dog 
drive back to reinforcement zone.
  We're doing this with a dog on a leash, right.
Because we want to get the dog used to. If you   stray, fly back to position, 
we've got that. Now, here
  comes the pivot, that is the important 
pivot for all of us who are walking our   dogs in the city. Now for
you who are listening,   I'm going to give you this visualization. 
Imagine you're walking in a straight line,
  let's call it the direction of 

You're heading North.
  Your dog is on your left side. 
Now there's two ways that you   could turn to go back down South. One is
you could turn away from your dog, which means   when you turn and start heading back South, your
dog was going to still be on your left side.   Right. Even if you were walking 
North and you turned exactly
  right on the same spot and you're following 
the same line back out walking South,   your dog would still
be on the same side.
  Now that isn't a great turn to do when 
you're out walking your dog and you want to   get their attention or
get them away from potentially   super huge distraction.

Let's say 
you see, like, there's somebody up
  ahead of you like throwing pieces of 
steak all over the floor, all over   the sidewalk. You know, one of
those steaks’ throwers. You know,   we don't want our dog to see that 
if you did what I call a turn away
  from the dog to go on the opposite 
direction. There'd be a point where   your dog would be closer to the
steak thrower than you were.
  That would be bad because now 
you're saying to your dog,   would you like to go to the steak thrower, or
would you like to go with meagerly little me?   You don't want them to have to 
make that choice. So, turn
  number two, this is a turn towards your 
dog, and this is what it looks like.
  Dogs on your left, same scenario, 
you're heading North, and you see   the steak thrower.

And now what
you're going to do is you're going   to turn towards your dog and head 
back South. So, your dog actually
  is like you and your dog come 
together. Like you're folded   together. Your dog started on your left
heading North, but when you turn towards them and   start heading South, the dog ends up on your
  So, it's a way of changing sides 
which is brilliant because it keeps   your dog's focus on you. And that's
what we're going to start on our perch.   So, we have our dog on your right 
side, and you're just going to
  turn towards your dog, and you started 
very close on your perch facing one   direction. You're turning
towards your dog, and you're   still going to be very close to your 
dog facing the opposite direction.
  So, your dog is just going from a 
reinforcement zone on your right   to reinforcement zone on your left.

pexels photo 6568487

When your dog has got this really good   just throw in the word pivot. 
So, your dog will now know when
  they hear the word pivot, you're 
going to just do that turn towards   them. So just practice that on the
perch until your dog is brilliant.
  I want my dog, Oh, I might do a search, 
they come into reinforcement zone,   I have them in a sit, I'll say
the word “pivot” once I know they're   going to do it and I get them on the 
other side, I basically have just,
  just turned a little circle right 
beside that perch.

The dog goes from   being on my right to being on my
left. It's like magic, but not really.   But the steak thrower is still not 
going to distract my dog, right. Now
  that is a beautiful thing.
So, what we want to do   is we want to try this on something 
smaller, because when we go for a walk,
  we're not going to have this big perch. 
So, you might take like a brick or   anything you find, a flat stone
when you're out walking.   And before you get walking, just warm 
up with this pivot game.

Dogs in
  reinforcement zone, extra long leash.
Now the leash, if you're watching this on   YouTube, that leash is one that 
I get from 4MyMerles. I love
  those leashes cause they're super long. I can play 
games like this and keep my dog on leash. So,
  when I'm playing in the city it's super safe.
  So, play the search game, they come 
and maybe put their feet on a rock,   or I've just found a brick and
then you're going to do a pivot and you're   facing the opposite direction. 
You can transition to something
  that you can carry with you. So, 
what I've got, I've just got a   hard piece of rubber. It's pretty stiff so it
doesn't bend, and I covered it in our yoga mat,   and I'll put that on the ground.
You might start it on the brick and   then you're going to put it on the 
ground so the dog will do the same
  behavior of pivoting from being 
on one side to on the other side   on that little, small target.

And then
they, you know, that target can be a candy   wrapper. You know, it could be 
a chocolate bar wrapper if it
  was dark chocolate that was vegan, 
and you could eat at first and I'm,   okay I'm going somewhere we
probably shouldn't go right   here on this podcast.
Let's talk dog training. Now   you've played that game. You said pivot, 
change directions, let's go cray cray   and try it on the flat. Now remember “our dogs 
always do the best we can with the education
  we've given them”. So, don't jump steps here.
Get a really thorough education. I mean,   it's just fun engagement with 
your dog. Every time you feed
  your dog during this game remember what do 
you do first? It's a test. Put it in the   comments. Let me
see you know   before we feed our dogs when we're playing 
any of these games in reinforcement zone,
  what do we do? Yeah, I see 
somebody’s got it right.
  You take the cookie, you touch your seam and then 
you put it in your dog's mouth. So now we've got
  this game we're walking North, we turn towards 
our dog, whatever side our dogs started on, now
  they're on the opposite side.

You say 
the word “pivot” and they know you're   about to turn and then now
they're on the other side.   It's a great way to get your dog's attention. 
You might do two or three pivots in
  a row.
Like maybe you go away from the steak thrower,   but you go “Man, I really got to go back in that
direction.” So, I'll, you know, get the other   dogs in the neighborhood to 
clean up the steak and then
  you're gonna switch back to the opposite 
direction. I live in a weird neighborhood.   I know, I don't have
steak throwers. I just,   you know, crazy example.
All right. So that's   a game of pivot. It's a great game to play 
with your dogs.

Okay. We're going to do
  another game. We're playing another game. And what 
are these games doing? They're building value
  for reinforcement zone. They're making 
your dog want to be there and they're   taking the food that you
might be training with   and we're putting the value of that food 
into being in this position. It's going to
  make leash walking fun for your dog.

It's going 
to make your dog want to be near you when you're
  leash walking. Okay. Intentional 
layers to build success.
  Okay. Now next game, you're going to have your dog 
facing you, which most of your dogs are going to
  want to do. And you're going to 
feed them in reinforcement zone   but they're facing you. And now you're
going to back up. Now big caveat, big   highlight danger Will Robinson, 
I want to give you a warning.
  Anytime I'm asking somebody to back up, there 
is a challenge, you might trip over your feet   and hurt
yourself. So,   if there's a challenge of that happening, have 
a spotter behind you. Somebody that walks
  behind you when you're backing up that they can 
be there to catch you should something untoward
Like we trip over   our own feet. Things could happen. I just 
want to warn you, have somebody there to
  help you. I do not want to 
see anybody get hurt here.   And you're not running. You're just backing up.
Your dog has got their head in reinforcement zone.   You're just feeding them in reinforcement zones,
it’s just that their heads are going in the   opposite direction.

You might 
go one, two then say the word
  “pivot”, and now you're going to move forward 
so your dog gets in reinforcement zone again.
  So, these are games you can play 
when you're out walking your dog.   So maybe I have my dog walking
and I see another dog coming towards   me and I don't know if my dog 
gets too excited when they see
  that dog so I might just start walking 
backwards, say the word “pivot”.
  My dog goes from being on 
my side, heading forwards   to walking backwards. I can feed them walking
backwards toward me. I say “pivot” again and   then we can walk forward. Or 
they're walking forward, I
  say the word “pivot” and we're going 
back in the opposite direction.   All right, two games.

Now, last thing
I want to share with you,   we've talked about search, great way 
for your dog to break some stress.
  Another great way to break some stress that I love 
to do with my dogs is teach them to tug on their
  leash. Now I could hear, see some of you 
going “Susan, everyone tells me don't let   my puppy tug on
the leash.”   Why? That's because sometimes the dogs, they 
think the dogs are getting control of all the
But when we play   games intentionally, that doesn't happen. 
So, I will get my dogs to tug on the leash
  and again, a nice leash that's 
braided and fleecy and fun.

They're   going to want to tug on it. And I just
as like a great fun stress-reliever and   when I'm walking my dogs, I don't 
have to have a separate toy.
  And so, once you get your dog who loves to tug on 
the leash, and you can do this away from walking
  them, then what you're going 
to do is put the leash on,   have them sit in position, and it's a game of
ItsYerChoice. Now if the dog just grabs at the   leash, she’s crazy about it, I 
want you to break this away,
  put the leash in a bag and put it down 
in front of the dog, open the bag and   pull out the leash. If they
grab for it, put it back in.   This is a game of ItsYerChoice but 
instead of having cookies in your hand,
  you're putting a leash in a zipper bag.
Unzip it, pull it out, if they grabbed for it,   put it back in and zip it up until 
they can learn that they have to
  not grab for the leash until you say, 
“get it” and then they can tug.

So,   once you've got that kind of
understanding, the dog can be on leash.   You can put the leash in front 
of them. They're not going to
  get it because they know the game of 
ItsYerChoice. It starts with just a   little handful of cookies. And if
you've never played ItsYerChoice,   I'm going to put a link in the show 
notes where you can join in the
  ItsYerChoice summit. All right. So that 
leads to being able to do it on leash.   And then you've got a great
release for your dog.
  A lot of times when you're playing 
tug with your dogs on leash,   it tends to invigorate other dogs in the
environment. So, it's a great stress reliever,   but before you turn and let 
your dog tug on leash, take a
  look around the neighborhood and take 
a look around your surroundings and be   confident there's no
other dogs nearby.   Because that might escalate the other dogs 
to want to join in on the fun or say to
  your dog, “Why are you growling? Your mother 
wears army boots and let's have a discussion   about it.”
All right.
  So again, I always give you warnings to be   safe.

When you're playing these 
in your own house, have at
  it. All right. But if we're doing 
them outside, it's a great stress   reliever outside. I love to play tug on my
leash with my dogs, but I'm always aware   that it's a safe environment. 
AKA, we don't want other dogs
  nearby so that things might cause more 
of a challenge than we really need.
  Okay. That's it for Shaped by 
Dog. Hey, I would love for you,   I'd love to put another challenge one more
week like I did an episode number 73. I'd like   to challenge you to play these 
games in your living room,
  in your backyard, in your front 
yard, just short walks. Now,   when I play these games with my dogs, with
my puppy This!, I can maybe get her focused   attention maybe for four or 
five steps right now, because
  I've not done a lot of leash walking.
So, don't be in a hurry to try and   walk around the block after you've 
played this once.

If you want your
  dog walking on a loose leash beside 
you, you're going to be patient. So,   who’s in for another one-week
challenge to play some games and   get our dogs walking on that loose 
leash. Let me know. I'd like to
  know. I'd like to hear from you. All right. That's 
it for Shaped by Dog. I'll see you next time..

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