As your puppy begins maturing, they will naturally start to become more wary of “weird” things. This is a natural survival mechanism! Unfortunately, starting at times to bark, growl, and lunge and “weird things” is also a survival mechanism. Instead of leaving our dogs to feel like they have to interpret and then respond to all of the “weird things,” we can do a simple behavior modification game in these moments to completely change the game.
Instead of freaking out at alien sightings (skateboards, cars, buses, lawnmowers, hats, you name it… 🛸) we want to turn our dogs into relaxed observers! 👀🍿
Sitting Still in Exciting Environments: A Simple & Positive Exercise for High-Drive Dogs
This is a modified version of a game I made up many years ago that won a Maxwell Medallion for best dog training article from the Dog Writer’s Association of America. You can check that article and the video within in out (but please follow the above protocol) to get any idea of why this type of trigger training is valuable. The dog is desensitized to the the trigger by practicing safe exposure, counter conditioned to the trigger through food, learns to defer to human moderation rather than freak out, and learns to decompress all at the same time
This article explains many contexts where this sort of training is profoundly important.