Have you heard of pattern games for dog training?
If you're in the positive reinforcement training community, you likely have!
They are very simple and have been used unknowingly by many trainers, but the one trainer who brought large scale attention to them recently is Leslie McDevitt, creator of the Control Unleashed program.
She built an entire program for sport dogs based around pattern games to calm arousal and more.
As the methods grew in popularity, she learned that the pattern games were hugely effective for reactive dogs as well - not just overexcited sport dogs.
Reactivity is a response to distractions usually characterized by barking, lunging on leash, pulling on leash, jumping, whining, growling, and more, especially in response to other dogs or people.
A very common example of reactivity is a dog who barks at visitors to the door or outside the window.
Reactivity can have many root causes including excitement or anxiety.
What do I do?!
This is a common complaint I hear from almost everyone first beginning their training journey with me.
Loose leash walking is the biggest skill my clients seem to want and struggle to get.
It seems elusive and confusing.
While it may be daunting and overwhelming at first glance, when you break it down, loose leash walking is easy and can be trained through simple, fun games!
Here are the six key things I teach all my clients for a great loose leash walk and some games to play for each!
Most dogs have a conflicting view on their name. We usually use our dogs name for both good things and bad things, like a bath or scolding for chewing the couch.
In order to work well on leash, we want our dogs to know their name as something super positive and exciting. That way, you can get their attention at any time in order to call them to heel to pass a dog or leave the nasty chicken bone alone.
Why they bark at the mailman...
Why they can be fine one moment and the next hyper and wild, zooming around the room at top speed...
Why they are ALWAYS sniffing...
I could never tell you everything you need to know about your dog in one blog post, but what I can do is tell you the top five books I've read as a professional dog trainer that have helped me understand my dogs.
And in turn, have helped me view them with compassion and empathy.
Each book will have a brief synopsis of what I enjoyed and which aspects of your dog you will learn about as well as a link to purchase them online.
*I may receive a small commission if you purchase using these links. Thank you for supporting my content!*
And now, let's get started with number one!
This book is at the top of my list because it is the book that I wish everyone would read before purchasing or adopting a dog. Even if it's not their first!
This book walks through...