Do you have a dog in need of exercise? Do you find yourself wishing your dog had an off-switch? Is your dog jumping and nipping at you or your kids with uncontrolled excitement?
'Red Light' is a game you can play with your dog to help him learn self-control. It can be beneficial for your kids too because it teaches them an important safety tool if they're ever chased by a dog. Kids will see how their behavior contributes to a dog's reactions, and it provides a positive training management tool. Best of all, it's a fun way of helping your dog learn that all important "Chill Skill".
I play a modified version at all my Safe Kid/Safe Dog demonstrations.
How to play:
Step One - (Dogs and puppies should know 'SIT' before starting this game.) First teach Fido to sit for a treat by holding one just above his nose and slowly lifting it upward. As the pup's nose moves up for the treat, his rear will move down towards the floor and he should adopt a sitting position. Click and give him the treat. Next, teach the kids and other players how to get the dog to sit for treats.
Now you're ready to start the game!
Step Two - In the beginning an ADULT should be in charge and holding the dog on a leash. Start by taking just a few steps and have the dog 'SIT'. Be sure to reward your dog with praise and treats for all sits he performs correctly. Slowly add more motion and excitement to your game and begin to lengthen the intervals of movement time.
Step Three - (Add more players.) With your dog on leash or with his leash dragging, Call 'Green Light!' and have the players jump, run and wiggle while making happy noises. Just as the dog starts to get excited, call 'Red Light' and have the players stand quietly with hands at their sides like a tree. Depending on your dog's level of training and excitement, you can gradually work up to waving your arms, dancing, whooping and hollering or running wildly about the house or yard. This can be a great tool for controlling a young puppy who may bite or nip. Again, an adult should be monitoring the dog very closely and be ready to step in and regain control if he becomes too excited or out of control.
Step Four - In no time you will playing off-leash and will be able to incorporate some pretty wild behavior by the (human) players. When 'Red Light' is called, the person closest to the dog is responsible for helping to make sure the dog sits and should be the one to reward him with a treat for good behavior.
Safety warning! - Be sure to take your cues from your dog. If your dog is becoming more aroused (instead of less so), be sure to call 'Red Light' more frequently in order to give dogs and kids sufficient time to regroup. If that doesn't work then it may be time to end the game. It is always a good idea to play this game on-leash or with it dragging when kids are involved so you can quickly get your dog back under control in case the game's excitement level escalates.
If your dog is still misbehaving, try playing the game again at another time when your dog might be in a lower key, or perhaps they need remedial training help with sit. It is always best to introduce the game when your dog is already in a calm state. This is a great tool to have in your training tool box for use in real-life situations where your dog's behavior has become too wild.
Variations on the game - You can incorporate music, making it similar to the game of "Freeze Frame" you played as kids yourself. Many of you will find that your dog is quick to catch on to the musical version. Try playing it like a race from Point A to Point B and back again. Remember - less is more, so don't overdo things!
Gooddogz Training will be returning to the Children's Museum this summer for several Dog Bite Prevention events. Bring your kids and come play 'Red Light' with Charlee!
What a great thing for you to post on a day it finally stops raining for 20 mins. We did some practicing of this, but mostly the sit command that is still sorely lacking. But our monster is getting the hang of it.Posted by Chuck
LOL Chuck. Just a little while ago I nearly got in a car accident at the sight of a patch of blue sky.
It should come in handy once everyone is running around outside.