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This is one way we can help our dogs feel better about their triggers. It also encourages them to focus on us around their triggers.

Think of it like this:

  • The trigger is the “movie” and your treats are the “popcorn”.

  • You’ll feed your dog popcorn while they watch the movie.

  • When they can “ask” for popcorn by looking at you, they’re probably doing well! They can keep watching the movie.

  • If the movie gets too intense (they can’t ask for popcorn, they can’t eat their popcorn, or they start to vocalize, etc.) we help them take a break from the movie.

How to Use Popcorn & a Movie

  • When your dog looks at their trigger, mark (say “yes” or click) and then feed them a cookie.

  • If your dog doesn’t look at you when you say “yes”, that’s okay, put the cookie to their mouth.

  • Wait for them to look again.

  • Mark and feed!

  • Your goal is to have your dog calmly watching the trigger or disengaging and being a dog.

  • Over a few repetitions, you should notice that your dog is beginning to look at the trigger and then look at you. This is what we want to see!

    • If your dog doesn’t begin to look at you after a few repetitions, assess their body language: Are they too tense? Do they need to move further away?

    • If your dog can’t take the food, they need more distance.

  • Continue to mark and feed when your dog looks at the trigger. If they’re relatively calm, it’s okay to let them look for longer, too!

  • If your dog looks at you after looking at the trigger and you didn’t say “yes”, that’s okay! Still feed them! What a good pup!

Remember to work Under Threshold and to give your dog distance if they need it. Email your trainer if you have questions or need help troubleshooting!