In this game, you and your dog walk down a line of “bowls”, advancing only when your dog looks at you. It’s very simple and very useful!
You’ll teach her the game first, then you’ll start to use it around your dog’s trigger(s)!
Playing the Game
Lay out 4 – 6 “bowls” (These can be bowls, upside-down frisbees, plastic plates, tupperware containers, anything convenient for you.). Consider using things that won’t blow away outside and are okay if they get wet.
To start, they should be only a few feet apart. They should be in a relatively straight line.
To start the game, approach the first bowl and put a treat on it for your dog to eat. If she eats it, it’s game on! Stand still and wait for her to look at you. (Don’t tell her to look, just wait.)
When she looks at your face, praise her, walk her to the next bowl, and drop a treat on it. Repeat until she’s reached the last station. Then, you can celebrate and toss some treats for her to eat or turn around and lead him back the same way.
Our goal is to get her looking at you regularly!
Once your dog is doing well with it in one room, try playing in another room.
If you’ll be using this game for triggers that happen outdoors, you’ll also want to practice outdoors without the trigger around. (You may need to use higher value treats.)
That’s it! Once she’s really good at it, you can use this game to give your dog a way to relax around their triggers, as well as to further encourage her to look at you when she sees a trigger. You’ll go over how to do this at a future session.
We recommend very short practices of “Bowl Game”: Just 30 seconds to 3 minutes is great!
This is based on the Super Bowls game developed by Leslie McDevitt! Her book, Control Unleashed, is a great resource for pattern games for dogs.