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Want Better Control of your Dog's Excitement Level? Make a Game of It!

by Robin MacFarlane

The red light, green light game will help teach your dog to listen to you even when they are in a high state of excitement.

Have you ever struggled getting your dog to STOP chasing something? Do you have one of those dogs that won't stop when you try to end a game of tug? How about dogs that shove through an open door and bolt down the street after a bicyclist, skateboarder, or even another dog going by the house?

It is a fairly common problem for pet owners to struggle with getting their dog to listen to them when the dog is chasing something or otherwise in a high state of arousal.

Plenty of people mistakenly think their dog is "trained", but they find out otherwise as soon as something challenges their dog's desire to chase. The urge to chase when a dog sees something moving quickly is pretty innate for most of our canine friends.

Gaining some level of control over that impulse can cause pet owners a significant amount of frustration.

But it doesn't have to be that way. There are some really fun and creative ways to teach your dog to have better impulse control. You can do it without having to be the "bad guy" or come down hard on your dog with tough consequences and harsh punishment.

One of my favorite ways to begin teaching impulse control to my client's dogs is through a game of Red Light, Green Light.

Hopefully some of you remember that from when you were kids? It was a game that involved participants starting and stopping their forward motion on verbal command while making their way toward a target.

The same concept can be played with your dog. The Red Light, Green Light game is a way to practice the concept of stopping while in a high state of adrenaline (chase).

The words you say to your dog involve stationary commands such as: Sit, Down or Place for the Red Light or stop concept and a release cue such as Ok, Free, or Break equals the Green light and freedom to move and chase again.

Playing this game with your pooch can yield several positive results. It begins to teach impulse control, it gets the dog engaged with you and makes you more interesting than the surroundings, (a bonus for dogs that are easily distracted) and it creates a fun association with the act of being obedient rather than just drudgery.

-- Robin

Robin MacFarlane is a professional dog trainer and owner of Thatís My Dog in Dubuque, Iowa. Her best-selling dog training DVDs, JUST RIGHT and JUST RIGHT 2 have helped thousands of dog owners teach their dogs basic obedience and fix problem behaviors through a system of training that you can easily work into your daily routine.
  • Robin writes for Gun Dog Supply on our E-collars Dog Training blog
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  • Pull-Quote= The red light, green light game will help teach your dog to listen to you even when they are in a high state of excitement.

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