Engage Disengage Game – Reduce Your Dog's Reactivity! | Pupford
May 1st, 2023
Filed under Training
The Engage Disengage Game was created to help overstimulated dogs manage their stress in a more productive way.
The point of this dog training game is to get your dog to focus on you rather than their triggers.
Whether your dog's trigger is people, squirrels, dogs, or inanimate objects, this game can be helpful for you.
And when playing this game remember to set your dog up for success. So start even further away than you would think from your dog's triggers.
But before we get to the game, we want to introduce you to .
CONNECT WITH BRITT
Britt is a certified positive reinforcement dog trainer and works to help all kinds of dogs, from basic puppy classes, agility and nose work, to dogs with aggression and severe anxiety.
Along with being the owner and trainer at Good Boy Training, Britt is also:
- Certified NJ Animal Control Officer
- Certified Animal Reiki Practitioner
- Certified in Pet CPR and First Aid
- American Kennel Club Evaluator
- Proud Member of (APDT) the Association of Professional Dog Trainers
- Proud Member of (IACP) International Association of Canine Professionals
- Proud Member of (PPG) Pet Professional Guild
- Fear-Free professional
- Veterinarian recommended
HOW TO PLAY THE ENGAGE DISENGAGE GAME VIDEO
To play the Engage Disengage game you'll first want to identify your dog's triggers so we can help avoid and manage them!
Second, you want to figure out your dog's trigger threshold! Approximately, how far away do you need to be from the stimulus to have your dog leave it alone successfully? For some dogs it’s 10 feet, for other dogs, it’s 10 blocks. Those steps are vital for successfully playing the Engage Disengage Game.
WHAT YOU DO NOT WANT YOUR DOG TO LEARN
- That when they react, the trigger walks away. This teaches the dog that their actions are successful and worth repeating.
WHAT YOU WANT YOUR DOG TO LEARN
- How to decrease their stress around triggers (anything that is causing a strong emotional response)
- How focusing on us is WAY more rewarding and how to self-interrupt themselves before they go over their threshold.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
HOW TO PLAY ENGAGE DISENGAGE
- Begin at a safe distance away from your dog’s trigger. You want to be far enough where your dog isn’t reacting at all to the trigger. Wait until your dog notices the trigger on their own
- At the exact moment your dog ENGAGES by looking at the trigger, CLICK (or praise).
- When your dog turns their head toward you after hearing the click, feed them a treat.
Note: If your dog reacts or doesn’t look at you when you click, you may be too close to the trigger and you should reset further away. Remember that you want to set your dog up for success
Keep on repeating this successfully (where your dog looks at the trigger without reacting) at least 5 times.
If the trigger is moving or changing in intensity, keep on practicing this until your dog has calmly engaged with or looked at the trigger in all different directions.
- Again, let your dog notice the trigger, but this time wait 1-5 seconds to see if your dog will offer to look away without the clicker. If your dog is fixating on the trigger for longer than 5 seconds, go back to Level 1.
- At the exact moment your dog disengages by looking away from the trigger, CLICK.
- After the click, give your dog a treat immediately. If your dog reacts or is not turning back to you after the click, move further away from the trigger to reset.
Repeat this successfully 3-5 times before repeating with the engage steps 1-5 ft closer (or whatever your dog can handle)
Troubleshooting: if your dog does not turn their head after you mark the behavior, you need to move further away from the trigger!
RECAP OF THE ENGAGE DISENGAGE DOG TRAINING GAME
To learn more about , and body language in general, check out our in Pupford Academy. There you will learn about stress signals in dogs, calming signals, how to read your dog's body, and so much more!
You’ll also get:
- Video breakdowns of the most common dog body language signals
- Pictures and videos depicting these common body language signs
- A PDF 'cheat sheet' to help you understand and remember all dog body language
- In-depth breakdowns of what you need to know about dog boy language
Have other questions about dog body language or the Engage Disengage Game? Let us know in the comments!