Saturday, February 18, 2012
Finished DVD: "Pattern Games" by Leslie McDevitt
Moving on to the DVD review...
Pattern Games is a wonderful, 1.5 hour long DVD put together by Leslie McDevitt to present a series of "Pattern Games" that are helpful for dogs that are shy, fearful, reactive, worried, and/or aggressive. She describes 6 specific games that are very rhythmic in nature and, therefore, predictable. Anyone who truly understands dogs knows that they thrive on routine and predictability. That is exactly what Leslie's games set you and your dog up to do. She starts with describing the 6 foundation games and does a good job explaining how you can increase the criteria as you and, more importantly, your dog are ready.
In all honesty, the information I found the most valuable was Leslie's explanation of her LAT (Look At That!) game. (Side note: I do not own her Control Unleashed DVD's, only the book, so maybe she gives more of a detailed explanation in her videos)
There were 3 things in reference to LAT that I found extremely helpful....
1.) The rule structure of LAT. Leslie explained that it is extremely important to have the rule structure set up so that the dog knows that when you are playing the LAT game, he will never, ever, ever be going over to interact with the stimulus and the stimulus will never, ever, ever be coming over to interact with him. If you do want interaction, be very clear with the dog that LAT game is over by using a different cued behavior, then a release word. I never heard LAT explained with this rule structure and, luckily, I never did this.
2.) When teaching the LAT game, start with a neutral object such as a water bottle, book, whatever! It should be something that is boring to the dog. After your pup is getting the LAT behavior down, next introduce a positive stimulus (something the dog likes - whether it's a human or dog) and work on repetitions with them. Lastly, you will progress to doing LAT with the stimulus that is worrisome to your dog. Remember #1 from above...do not let the dog interact with the stimulus during the working LAT game at any point.
3.) Knowing when you should and should not cue the dog for LAT. This is highly dependent on the environment and you should not cue LAT if there is more than 1 stimulus in an environment. In other words, do NOT go to the farmer's market and work on LAT.
So, where do I go from here? I'm actually going to reteach the LAT game from the ground up using an entirely new verbal cue. Since I taught it wrong from the beginning no wonder Oscar has only done an OK job with the behavior!