Dog Training Today with Will Bangura for Pet Parents, Kids & Family, Pets and Animals, and Dog Training Professionals. This is a Education & How To Dog Training Podcast.

Dog Training Today with Will Bangura: #141 Boosting Your Dog's Confidence Through Play and Positive Patterns

January 02, 2024 Will Bangura, M.S., CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, FFCP is a World Renowned Dog Behaviorist, Certified Dog Behavior Consultant, Certified Professional Dog Trainer, and a Fear Free Certified Professional with over 36 years of experience with the most difficult of Season 5 Episode 141
Dog Training Today with Will Bangura: #141 Boosting Your Dog's Confidence Through Play and Positive Patterns
Dog Training Today with Will Bangura for Pet Parents, Kids & Family, Pets and Animals, and Dog Training Professionals. This is a Education & How To Dog Training Podcast.
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Dog Training Today with Will Bangura for Pet Parents, Kids & Family, Pets and Animals, and Dog Training Professionals. This is a Education & How To Dog Training Podcast.
Dog Training Today with Will Bangura: #141 Boosting Your Dog's Confidence Through Play and Positive Patterns
Jan 02, 2024 Season 5 Episode 141
Will Bangura, M.S., CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, FFCP is a World Renowned Dog Behaviorist, Certified Dog Behavior Consultant, Certified Professional Dog Trainer, and a Fear Free Certified Professional with over 36 years of experience with the most difficult of

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Ever wondered how your canine companion can become the confident pooch you always knew they were? Unlock the secrets to your dog's self-assurance with our step-by-step guide through the world of pattern recognition and positive reinforcement. This episode delves into the art of using classical conditioning and clicker markers to not only train your pup but also to tackle their fears head-on. Discover the transformative power of creating predictable, positive experiences, and watch as your furry friend learns to navigate the world with a new-found confidence.

Transform playtime into a confidence course with our Frisbee pattern game, designed to reinforce positive associations and gradually introduce your dog to anxiety-inducing scenarios. Learn how this simple game, paired with high-value treats, can become a cornerstone in helping your dog overcome their deepest fears, from stranger anxiety to vet visit phobias. As we guide you through the game, you'll see how consistency and repetition can make all the difference, turning a skittish pup into a self-assured companion ready to take on any challenge. Join us on this journey, and let's help our dogs leap towards a happier, more secure life.

Support the Show.

If you need professional help please visit my Dog Behaviorist website.
Go here for Free Dog Training Articles

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

Ever wondered how your canine companion can become the confident pooch you always knew they were? Unlock the secrets to your dog's self-assurance with our step-by-step guide through the world of pattern recognition and positive reinforcement. This episode delves into the art of using classical conditioning and clicker markers to not only train your pup but also to tackle their fears head-on. Discover the transformative power of creating predictable, positive experiences, and watch as your furry friend learns to navigate the world with a new-found confidence.

Transform playtime into a confidence course with our Frisbee pattern game, designed to reinforce positive associations and gradually introduce your dog to anxiety-inducing scenarios. Learn how this simple game, paired with high-value treats, can become a cornerstone in helping your dog overcome their deepest fears, from stranger anxiety to vet visit phobias. As we guide you through the game, you'll see how consistency and repetition can make all the difference, turning a skittish pup into a self-assured companion ready to take on any challenge. Join us on this journey, and let's help our dogs leap towards a happier, more secure life.

Support the Show.

If you need professional help please visit my Dog Behaviorist website.
Go here for Free Dog Training Articles

Speaker 1:

Dogs are masters at figuring out patterns, especially when it comes to us humans, because they've evolved with us for 50, 60,000 years. They've been traveling around the globe with us and they understand our body language, they understand our facial gestures and they just understand patterns. You know, one of the ways that dogs make sense out of the world. One of the ways that they learn is by association. In some respects, the way dogs learn everything is a very black and white cause and effect association. Now, when it comes to dogs with fears, one of the best things that we can do for dogs that are afraid are to create patterns, creating positive patterns, creating positive patterns where they can predict what's gonna happen and at the end of that pattern, it's gonna be something fantastic. If you've got a dog that has some confidence issues or maybe is full blown fearful, you wanna check out this episode of dog training today? Don't go anywhere. We're gonna be back in 60 seconds.

Speaker 2:

Raised by wolves with canine DNA and his blood. Having trained more than 24,000 vets, helping you and your fur babies thrive, live in studio with Will Bangura answering your pet behavior and training questions. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome your host and favorite pet behavior expert, Will Bangura. Oh my.

Speaker 1:

God, oh my God, would you like to go on? Wookiees, beeps. Good day, dog lovers. I'm Will Bangura. Thanks for joining me for another episode of Dog Training Today.

Speaker 1:

Hey, if you are not subscribed to the podcast, the audio podcast, dog Training Today, what are you waiting for? We've got some incredible things that we're gonna be doing in 2024. You wanna make sure that you never miss an episode of Dog Training Today? So, wherever you listen to your podcast, wherever you get your podcast, whether that's Apple Podcast, whether that's Spotify, do me a favor, go up there, make sure you're listening to us at Dog Training Today. But not only that. Make sure that you subscribe. So hit that subscribe button. And also, while you're doing that, hey, if you love what we do here at Dog Training Today, do us a favor. The best way that you can thank us is to give us a five-star review and share. Share this podcast with your friends, with your family.

Speaker 1:

All right, as I was saying in the opener, one of the ways that dogs learn, one of the ways that they think, one of the ways they process information, is by being experts at seeing patterns.

Speaker 1:

Dogs learn by association, or what you might call classical conditioning or classical learning, or associative learning and that type of learning, the way dogs learn.

Speaker 1:

Everything is extremely black and white, where there's a very black and white cause and effect association. So when we talk about clicker training or we talk about marker training, when we talk about using clickers or using markers in training, the first thing that we needed to do was to condition the marker or condition the clicker, because initially the clicker means nothing, a marker means nothing. But when we associate that clicker with high value food rewards, we give a click and immediately follow that with a treat, and then give another click and immediately follow that with another treat, only to give another click and immediately follow that with another treat, and do that repetitiously, over and over pairing and creating the association that that click means a treat is coming. Once we've got that conditioned, once the dog has been classically conditioned, once there has been that associative learning, that click means treat. Now we can use that clicker to mark behaviors right. Those of you that have been following this podcast and know what marker training is know what clicker training is.

Speaker 1:

And by the way, if you're not using markers in training, if you don't know what a marker training system is, you and your dog are missing out. Do yourself a favor learn about marker training, whether you use a clicker a clicker is just one kind of marker but learn about marker training and learn about using markers and training. You can go to my website and learn more about marker training by going to dogbehavioristcom. Again, that's dogbehavioristcom. Go to the menu and look for where it says articles. Click on articles and you can scroll through. There's probably about 85 different articles, All kinds of great free dog training, dog behavior articles that are up there for you. I don't care what kind of problem it is, it's probably up there. So check out dogbehavioristcom and you can find the article on clicker training, which is also marker training. Again, clicker is just one type of marker, but learn about it. Also, if you are listening to the Dog Training Today podcast, how about you check out episode 80? Episode 80 of the Dog Training Today podcast is all about markers, using markers, markers in training, how to condition a marker or a clicker, or how to use clickers in training. Check that out, you will not regret that. Now, just like with marker training, just like with conditioning a clicker, just like with a dog, learning that click means treat, because one of the things that they are like hardwired to do is to see the patterns in the world and to understand things that are very black and white cause and effect associations.

Speaker 1:

Now, I said earlier, if you've got a dog that maybe isn't too confident, maybe you have a dog or a puppy that needs more confidence building. Maybe they're a little bit nervous or fearful or skittish, maybe they're just full blown afraid of everything. One of the things that every animal I don't care if it's a dog, I don't care if it's a human, any animal that is experiencing fear, anxiety one of the things that helps them the most is to be able to predict what's going to happen in the future. Think about it, think about it, think about if you've got a dog, you've got anxiety, if you've got fear. How different would it be if you were able to predict what was going to happen in the future. Being able to predict what's going to happen, that's half of the fear, fear of the unknown, right. And it's no different for our furry friends not to be anthropomorphizing, but they experience fear like we experience fear, and dogs love structure, they love routine, they love patterns, they love being able to predict what's gonna happen next. And if there's any area where that becomes extremely important, it's when we're dealing with dogs that don't have confidence, when we're dealing with dogs that are nervous and fearful and skittish and anxious and stressed. So one of the things that I wanna teach you today is a pattern game, and I don't know that I have it 100% correct, but I know it works because I do it. Anyway, I gotta give credit where credit is due, and I learned this from Leslie McDovitt, and she's known for her pattern games, and I watched her demonstrate this pattern game and she had mentioned how this can really help dogs that are fearful, that are anxious dogs that really don't have a lot of confidence, and this is an exercise that you can use, that can help build confidence. This is an exercise that you can use as a way, and there's many different ways, but this is one of many ways you can begin to counter, condition and desensitize your dog to some fears.

Speaker 1:

Now the first thing that we need to do is we need to get like, let's just say we need four Frisbees. Okay, I like to get different color Frisbees, four of them. All right, you know the kind of the plastic kind. You're typical plastic Frisbee. You don't need to spend a bunch of money on this, just get four of them different color.

Speaker 1:

Now what I want you to do is I want you to turn those Frisbees upside down on the ground, okay? So if we were to say, hey, if we turn a Frisbee upside down, it makes this extremely shallow bowl. You know what I'm talking about, right? So turn the Frisbees upside down. And I want you to create a straight line with these Frisbees, these four Frisbees on the ground. So the first thing you're gonna do is you're gonna set the first Frisbee upside down on the ground, then take a step or two forward and in that same line, but ahead of that first Frisbee that you set down on the floor, a step or two behind, you're gonna take that second Frisbee, again, setting it down on the floor upside down, and it's lined up with the Frisbee behind it, the first one. Then you're gonna take a step or two forward again and you're gonna take your third Frisbee and you're gonna set it upside down on the ground, lined up with the two Frisbees behind it. All right, so now we've got three Frisbees all in a line, all upside down. Now we're gonna take one or two steps forward again and we're gonna take that last Frisbee and we're gonna set it on the ground upside down. Now we've got four Frisbees all lined up in a line. Each Frisbee is about a step or two apart as far as distance goes.

Speaker 1:

All right, what we're going to do is we're gonna create a game that's very, very simple and that's a game of having the dog take a treat out of the first Frisbee and then go to the second Frisbee and take a treat out of the second Frisbee, only to go to the third Frisbee, take a treat out of that third Frisbee and then go to the fourth Frisbee, take a treat out of that one and then turn around and head back the other way doing the exact same thing. So if we were to number the Frisbees remember our first one we set down let's number that one. Then we took a step or two forward, set down the second Frisbee we'll call that number two. Then we went a step or two forward, set down the third Frisbee we'll label that. Number three. And we took a step or two forward from that one and set down the fourth Frisbee upside down. We'll label that. Number four.

Speaker 1:

All right, let's go back to Frisbee number one. We're standing at Frisbee number one. We've got a treat pouch. We've got high value food rewards, like cut up pieces of chicken, but they should be small. But yummy, yummy, Small. What do I mean by small? About the size of a pea? All right, what you're gonna do is you're just going to Take a treat out of your treat pouch. You're going to set it down in the Frisbee and point to your dog to let your dog know hey, there's a treat here. When your dog eats that treat, you're going to walk up to the second Frisbee and place a treat in the second Frisbee and if you need to help the dog point to it so that the dog knows there's a treat, it's that one. When your dog eats the second one, you got it. We're going to that third Frisbee. We're going to put a treat in that third Frisbee. The dog eats it.

Speaker 1:

We go to Frisbee number four. We put a treat in Frisbee number four. The dog eats it. Now we go to Frisbee number three. Drop a treat in it. Technique the dog eats it. We go to Frisbee number two. Drop a treat in it. The dog eats it. We go to Frisbee number one. We drop a treat in it, the dog eats that. And we go to Frisbee number two Put a treat in that Frisbee dog eats it. Go to Frisbee number three put a treat in that one, the dog eats it. Then we go to Frisbee number four. Put a treat in that one, the dog eats it. You get the idea.

Speaker 1:

So we're moving back and forth, back and forth, through these Frisbees One, two, three, four, three. Two, one, two, three, four, three, two, one back and forth. And as we get to each Frisbee we put a treat in the Frisbee and the dog eats it. So the dog learns that this is a wonderful Frisbee pattern game. That's right. There are Frisbees that are lined up and we go from one Frisbee to the next and then to the next Frisbee and then to the next Frisbee and then to the next Frisbee, and each step of the way wonderful things are happening. I'm getting this yummy chicken on each Frisbee. I love moving back and forth with these Frisbees.

Speaker 1:

Now I'm going to do that with a dog that needs confidence building. I'm going to do that with a dog that might be skittish or a little fearful and I'm going to play that pattern game in places where the dog has no fear, and all I'm going to do is now this is the key if you've got a fearful dog, you've got to practice this first, where there are zero fears, and all you're doing is teaching this game. Hey, when the Frisbees come out, we go from one Frisbee, take a treat, go to the next Frisbee, eat a treat. We go to the next Frisbee, eat a treat, go to the next Frisbee, eat a treat, and then we do it all over again. And you want to practice this repetitiously.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so let's say we've got the four Frisbees right. So I might go ahead and do three passes, right? I might go Frisbee one, then go to two to three to four that's my one pass. Then I go to three to two to Frisbee one that's my second pass to Frisbee two to Frisbee three to Frisbee four that's my third pass. So I've gone back and forth three times through those Frisbees, each time stopping at each Frisbee, and the dog's eating a treat. And we want to do that all over the place, but it's got to be places where the dog has no fears. So if you have places in the house where your dog does not have any fear, then make sure that you're doing that in all of those areas. If there are places outside that your dog doesn't have fears, then do it outside, but you've got to do this where there are no fears.

Speaker 1:

Okay, and I need you to do a minimum of three passes. So you're going Frisbee one, two, three, four. Frisbee three, two, one. Frisbee two, three, four Each time you're putting a treat there, and I need you to do that three times a day. Make sure that there's at least a half an hour to an hour time between training sessions. When you're doing this three times a day, it literally takes about two minutes or less each time you do it. So if you're doing this three times a day and I'm telling you two minutes would be a long, long time, okay, but even if it took two minutes, we're talking a total of six minutes a day and I want you to do that every single day and I want you to do that for several weeks, several weeks, and this should be the highlight. This should be the highlight of your dog's day. Nothing should be more fun than playing the Frisbee pattern game.

Speaker 1:

Now, once your dog loves doing this and you're doing it all over the place and your dog is conditioned. Your dog understands exactly. Oh man, I know exactly what happens when the Frisbees are out. I can predict what's going to happen. We're going to go in a very specific direction and each step of the way, wonderful things are going to happen. I'm going to get a yummy, yummy, yummy treat T one I love trước Tim'sère's show Ro deadline. I actually do it to the next work a couple of weeks ago. You know, if an dog is probably not performing highs up or lows up and I get food seasoning, it's when my dog's having too much of a reforms table.

Speaker 1:

If there's a draft or a prefeed feedback, I'll talk to you about general therapy or ש slee. That now can be something that we can use. That now can be something very powerful. Remember, when I started things out, I said one of the things that dogs, one of the things any animal that has fears, needs more than anything to help them not be so afraid, is to be able to know what's going to happen. If you can predict what's going to happen, that diffuses most of the fear right there. So if I have a dog that has this wonderfully conditioned pattern game with these frisbees that are easy to carry around and easy to do. I can begin to move this dog around in areas where it might not be so confident and I can mitigate a lot of that fear. I can take something positive that the dog has experienced over and over again. I can take this pattern that the dog has experienced over and over again and has been conditioned to predict good things are going to happen, and I can bring that into environments where otherwise the dog would be extremely fearful to go into.

Speaker 1:

Now, granted, I'm not going to be flooding the dog. If those of you don't know what flooding is, listen. If the dog's afraid, let's say to be around strange dogs. I don't go to a dog park and take that dog and toss the dog in the middle of that dog park around 30 dogs and have 30 dogs surrounding it. That's what we would call flooding in psychology and that's torture, that's emotional torture to do that. But let's say that same dog that's afraid of strange dogs. Maybe there's a distance that that dog can be far enough away from a strange dog where it can see it, but it's far enough away where you know what. It really doesn't care because it's so far away. Yeah, I see that strange dog. But I don't care, it's far enough away, I just don't care. But then if you get within a certain distance, ok, now the anxiety starts and then it gets even more severe and then it's full blown and then, boom, the dog goes into fight or flight.

Speaker 1:

And we want to begin the process of bringing this dog around things that it's nervous about. And granted, we're going to start at a distance that's safe for the dog. We're not going to throw the dog right into it. We'd be setting the dog up for failure if we did that, and that says more about the person doing the training and their lack of understanding than it does about the dog's ability to be confident and handle those triggers. So we want to set the dog up for success by making sure that we're not flooding the dog, that when we're exposing the dog to situations and places and things that the dog is nervous about, things are scary, whether it be, hey, I'm nervous about strange people or I'm nervous about strange dogs, I can, at a distance, start to play that Frisbee pattern game and I can start to, very slowly, very gradually, inch my way closer and closer to that trigger that I'm working on, whether it be again, I used a couple examples.

Speaker 1:

Whether it be a dog that's afraid of strange dogs or a dog that's afraid of strange people, that pattern game can be a way to very gradually, very systematically, move the dog closer and closer to the trigger and do so in a way that right from the start it's positive. Right from the start it's something that is familiar, because the pattern game is familiar for the dog. Right from the start it's something that the dog can predict and right from the start it's something that the dog knows and can predict and is familiar and is positive. It's got that positive association. So I thought, when I saw this being done, boom, that light bulb went on. I'm like man, this is so simple, this is so easy, it's so black and white and can be so beneficial to be able to start moving a dog around and also giving them something else to do so they're not just hyper focused on the trigger.

Speaker 1:

When we're doing classical counter conditioning and we're doing classical exposure therapy, we are exposing dogs to their triggers and doing counter conditioning where we're, say, pairing high value food rewards at the exact moment they're seeing the trigger that has been scary for them. Now, granted, we're doing it at a distance where the dog. Yeah, I see it, but I really don't care. We are creating a pattern there. We're creating a pattern of positivity and associating that with the trigger. But when we start that process, there's no predictability, there's no being familiar with something and there's no. Hey, I know this is going to be positive.

Speaker 1:

But when you have conditioned this pattern game ahead of time and created this pattern of positivity that is predictable, that is familiar, that's positive, that you can take with you anywhere, imagine that you've got a dog that's afraid to go to the vet's office. Imagine working that pattern game outside in the parking lot and little by little, using that pattern game to get your dog closer and closer to the front door of the vet's office and then eventually using that pattern game to get your dog to take a step inside, only to take three steps back out. Okay, so we only got one Frisbee inside the vet's office, three are outside and we're going back and forth, making it easy for the dog. Then eventually we've got two Frisbees inside and two outside and eventually three Frisbees inside and one outside and little by little, gradually, systematically, we can move this dog that's afraid of the vet's office all around in that vet's office. It's a tool, it's a technique.

Speaker 1:

It doesn't take rocket science to do it, but it can be extremely, extremely powerful. So if you've got a dog that's got some anxiety, some stress, some fear, some phobias, need some confidence. Building is a little bit skittish. Hey, try that Frisbee pattern game and create something really positive and wonderful for your dog and then bring that into situations where your dog's a little unsure and before long you've got a confident dog. Give that a shot. I'm out of here.

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