As the countdown to the New Year begins, we all know it’s not just the humans who get excited. Our furry friends can feel the anticipation in the air too, especially when those dazzling fireworks start lighting up the sky. But fear not, I have a game that I learned from Absolute Dogs that will give you a trick up your not so furry sleeve – introducing the game of the hour: Distraction Mark Treat!
Distraction Mark Treat: A Tail-Wagging Solution to Firework Frights
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “What in the woof is Distraction Mark Treat?” Well, my friends, it’s not a secret doggy handshake or a new dance move. It’s a game that’s about to become your pup’s New Year’s resolution for staying cool, calm, and collected during the pyrotechnic pandemonium.
Step 1: Gather Your Arsenal
Before you unleash the firework fiesta, make sure you’ve got your toolkit ready. You’ll need treats – and not just any treats, mind you. We’re talking about the canine equivalent of a Michelin-star meal. Think PB cookies, poached chimkin, or those bacon-flavoured wonders that make even the most stoic dogs do a happy dance.
Step 2: Set the Stage
Find a comfy spot where you and your pooch can practice the art of distraction. The living room, the backyard, or even a dog-friendly corner of the local park – wherever your furball feels most at ease. This is key: you actually start playing Distraction Mark Treat where there are no or little distractions at all. Say your marker word: this can be a simple command like “Booooom!”, “Goooooood”, or “Paaartae!” closely followed by a tasty treat delivered directly to Fido’s mouth. Use a word that lets you draw out the vowel. Why you ask? Because it’s really hard to scream a long vowel sound when you’re in a panic and you’re trying to get your pooch’s attention back to you in an emergency. You’ll know Fido has the hang of the game when you get a whiplash look back to you when you say your marker word. It’s your pupstar’s way of saying “I know to look to you when I see or hear something a bit scary” and should always be followed with a reward.
Step 3: The Real Distractions
Now, here’s where the magic happens. You’re the snackie person, and your dog is the DMT superstar. Gradually introduce distractions once your pupstar has the hang of the game. I use an app that plays noises like thunder, a vacuum cleaner and fireworks. I also enlist the help of people around me by asking them to walk past us, drop a spoon on the ground, throw a ball etc,. You get the idea.
Step 4: Treats Galore!
The goal here is to shift your pup’s focus from the impending apocalypse to the glorious treats raining down like manna from doggy heaven. Encourage them to enthusiastically look to you for a reward and watch as the panic turns into pure tail-wagging delight.
Step 5: Gradual Intensity
As your pup becomes a Distraction Mark Treat pro, gradually increase the distractions. Start with a few gentle sound effects from an app or YouTube – the equivalent of puppy-sized party poppers – and slowly work your way up to the full-blown, ear-piercing extravaganza that is New Year’s Eve. Every time you sense a hint of anxiety, whether it’s the distant sound of a car or that pesky pigeon who torments your pooch from the neighbour’s roof, throw out a Mark closely followed by a tasty treat delivered directly to Fido’s mouth.
Bonus Tip: Keep it Fun!
Remember, this is not a military boot camp for your pooch. Keep it light-hearted, throw in some goofy dance moves, and make it a bonding experience. If your dog associates a noise with treats and fun times, you’ll have a firework-fearing Fido transformed into a fearless Furkid in no time.
So there you have it, peeps – Distraction Mark Treat, the superhero game that’ll have your dog strutting into the New Year like the confident canine they were born to be. Here’s to a barktastic celebration and a howlin’ good time!
Happy New Year.
Game On! Let’s Play!