I was recently challenged to offer foundational support regarding Games Based Dog Training. Some people need proof that something new and revolutionary works, and so I wrote a reply. I think some of you may find what you need here as well.
Games Based Dog Training draws from many sources. There are shades of Skinner who did work in the 1960s. I see commonality with Susan Garrett, Suzanne Clothier, Patricia McConnell and Victoria Stillwell, but Games Based Dog Training is innovative and new. It draws from human psychology with the Russell Dimensional Model which defines emotions as Fear, Worry, Excitement or Calmness. Many so called reactive dogs spend all their time in Fear or Worry and never reach Calmness. I know my dog never did until I found Games Based Dog Training which gave me the tools to lead her to Calmness where she makes far better decisions than those that came from a state of Fear or Worry.
Tom Mitchell is a Vet Behaviorist in the UK and his partner, Lauren Langman trained as a lawyer, worked as a teacher, and is now running the biggest dog training facility in the UK and one of the largest in the world. She also competes with great success in agility on the world stage.
They both live Games Based Dog Training 24/7.
As science builds on repeatable results, Tom did many experiments during his studies. The one he often refers to tests whether a dog is a pessimist or optimist. Once that was determined a correlation of behavior issues could be seen in the dogs determined to be pessimistic. A friend of his ran a separate study of shelter dogs. She measured the level of stress hormones in dogs housed in a shelter and found the dogs that huddled frozen in their cages had significantly higher stress hormones circulating than those that showed some form of behavior. This led to the conclusion that by choosing a behavior, any behavior, the dog was able to disperse stress hormones. However, the behavior could be anything. Barking. Pacing. Biting their Tail, Lunging at the Gate, or Offering a Paw. It all relieved stress.
Dogs are efficient. They will do what makes them feel better, even if for only a short time. The issues can start when that behavior isn’t the best choice. Games Based Dog Training works because it reinforces better choices, builds an amazing bond between dog and owner, and by giving them the skills they need to fit into our lifestyle. Dogs learn to use their efficient brains to make better behavioral choices that make everyone feel better.
Games Based Dog Training helps active puppies through delicate seniors, both with behavioral issues or not. Simply put, the Games give them skills to navigate our human constructed society. My next puppy will grow up with Games Based Training, and my now senior dog will live out the rest of her life playing these scientifically designed games that finally gave her peace and happiness. I still marvel at how far she has come.
There is, of course, more to this, but that is better expressed in a consultation or class setting. Know that Games Based Dog Training is firmly rooted in science. It sprang from a creative dog behaviorist and a professional dog trainer. They were seeking a better way to work with their own dogs which has led to changing the lives of thousands of dogs around the world. You can find some of our games on the RosyDogs FaceBook group, and I encourage you to play them. The games are fun, easy, and require no special equipment. It can be difficult to clearly assess your own dog so a Certified Games Based Dog Trainer is recommended especially for dogs already struggling. Additionally, once you begin to see progress, you will realize how special this training is, and you will likely want to learn more. I would be honored if you let me share what I know with you and your dog.
I am an active member of a global community of other Games Based Dog Trainers who support one another. I am also a member of the writing team at Absolute Dogs, the Training Location where Lauren and Tom teach. If I can't see the best way forward, I have the ear of a global community to help your dog. Each week new games are designed as we continue to stretch our creativity. It's an exciting time to be a part of something this big. I do hope you give it a try. I know you'll be amazed.
Rebecca Porter has been fascinated by dogs for decades, but it took a frantic mixed breed to send her on a journey into innovative and real life solutions in dog training.