Featuring Jen Larson, KPA-CTP
Concept by Courtney Emken

Happy Friday! We are going to continue our Pattern Games series. Today’s game is called “The Chair Game!” Watch and learn, then try it yourself. For extra credit, let us know in the comments how your dog responded to the game.

With this heat, indoor games like this are especially helpful for keep your dog active and stimulated. You can use pattern games for a couple of different functions. You can use them just to work on basic foundation skills like focus on attention or leash walking and to help dogs that are reactive.


Hi, I’m Jen and I’m the manager of the training department and I’m here today with Copper. She’s a vizsla and we’ve been working with her since she was a little puppy and she comes to our day school program so she’s a really good assistant. So what me and Copper are going to be showing you today is another of pattern games so just kind of a refresher on pattern games, you can use them for a couple of different functions. You can use them just to work on basic foundation skills like focus on attention or leash walking. But you can also use them to help dogs that are reactive. So dogs that are reactive often bark or lunge or growl at whatever their particular trigger is. So that might be another dog on leash or dog behind a fence. Might be a man in hats, get on a skateboard, whatever their trigger is, we can use pattern games to help them feel better about that by getting them into this sort of rhythmic pattern of behavior where they know what to expect. It’s predictable, it feels safe and then we can introduce their trigger at a working distance to start doing some conditioning to make them feel better about that trigger. So the game that I’m going to be playing with Copper today is a little chair game. I’m gonna be asking her to hop from chair to chair and give me a different behavior until she’s really kind of working in this pattern and feeling really really comfortable with it. And then if she were reactive I could maybe introduce a trigger or something like that, but today is just for fun. So I’m gonna start Copper over here on this first chair. We’re gonna work our way down to the 4th chair and then we’re gonna come back. And I’m just gonna keep doing that with her until it becomes this really predictable framework of behavior here. Hop. Good. Hop. Good. Hop. Good, good girl. Hop. Good job. Hop. Good. Hop. Good girl. Hop. Good. So she’s doing so good with this bit, I’m gonna start, I’m gonna add a new, fun behavior just because she’s feeling so comfortable already. So now I’m gonna have her hop up. Sit pretty. Good. Hop. Sit, sit pretty. Good. She’s got some ab muscles. Hop. Sit pretty. Good. Good girl. Hop. Sit pretty. Good, good girl. So that’s our other little pattern game there and that’s just a little chair game. So you could do that with anything. You could do that with mats, towels, blankets. I picked chairs just because she’s comfortable on chairs. But I would not recommend doing this on chairs if your dog was not comfortable on chairs. So if you’re interested in learning a little bit more about pattern games, I really recommend this book called, “Control Unleashed” by Leslie McDevitt. And she works primarily with reactive dogs. So you can learn lots of different, fun pattern games and kind of a little bit more about reactivity too.

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