You can use 123 to help your dog feel better about guests and passers-by when they are moving, talking, or gesturing!

This is a great thing to do while your dog is on their Mat, but you can play it anytime. This is helpful both indoors and outdoors!

  • When your guest needs to get up to go grab a drink, comes back in the room, or says or does anything that might be perceived as scary/exciting by your dog, you can use “123”.
  • If you know something is going to happen, you can tell your dog about it: “Name, watch”. (Or any phrase you choose.)
  • As your dog watches, start to say “1…2…3”. Watch to see when they look back at you.
  • If your dog can play and respond on 1 or 2, great! You can continue to let them watch and occasionally do a round of “123”. The goal is for them to spend their time feeling calm as they watch the guest. And to associate guests doing things with the GOOD feelings of playing 123.
  • If your dog can’t play or can barely play, you’ll want to help them. Ask your guest to tone things down or move your dog further away. Un-pop that bubble!
  • If your dog’s bubble can’t be unpopped, bring them back to their safe zone.

Repeat this as needed as guests move about and do guest things! When your dog is relaxed, you can decrease how often you play. When your dog is more interested, you’ll want to play often enough that their bubble remains unpopped.