Pattern Games DVD

May 30, 2012 at 7:38 am 2 comments

Leslie McDevitt’s PATTERN GAMES DVD was my birthday present from our trainer Sarah. I finally got chance to watch it last night, taking notes as I went along.

I broke down each game into “Click Points” and “Tag Points” on my notepad..

I already had a copy of Leslie McDevitt’s book Control Unleashed®: Creating a Focused and Confident Dog but I hadn’t read past Chapter 2. The only CU game that I was already familiar with is Look At That (LAT), similar to BAT Stage 1. In LAT, the dog is rewarded for looking at a trigger + reorienting to the handler over many repetitions.

On the Pattern Games DVD, there are 6 games – explained with live demo footage – and they look unbelievably simple. According to Leslie McDevitt, any dog who is comfortable on leash can play these games. No other prerequisite training required. From what I can see, the Pattern Games are about maintaining a fast and consistent rhythm in clicker training, and it is this rhythm that gives the dog a sense of safety (and something to focus on!), and keeps both human and dog strongly connected even when there are distractions present.

A few days ago, Sarah, Boogie and I went for a big long walk around our neighborhood and Sarah demonstrated Pattern Game #2 – Take three steps forward, click and drop a treat behind your feet. 1,2,3, Treat…. 1,2,3, Treat… 1,2,3, Treat… repeat. This particular game has nothing to do with what the dog is doing, and is primarily for the dog handler to practice getting into a rhythm which is harder than it sounds if your eyes, hands and feet are not totally coordinated. I found myself way too consciously counting my steps (1-2-3) then fumbling for the treat, forgetting to click, etc.

On the DVD, there are two live demos per game, and in the second demo,  another person shows up in the training scenario and Leslie McDevitt demonstrates how to incorporate the other person into the game (Look At That) so that what is potentially a trigger or distraction becomes part of an already familiar and fun rule structure for the dog. And this is particularly useful if the dog is likely to freak out around new dogs/people or sudden environmental changes.

Sharing here a short video clip of Boogie at his favorite window. That’s one of his beds right next to it. Remember when I covered all my windows with film? I had to leave one window uncovered because I need to breathe, and this is the window that Boogie continues to stare and bark out of. It’s not a big deal, because I have sort of managed to teach him to look outside and turn back to me. Almost like LAT. Cue: “Boogie, who’s there?”

The world outside is always a very fascinating place….

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Entry filed under: Books & DVDs, Training. Tags: .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Alex  |  June 13, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    Love your blog! I adopted a reactive dog last year and it’s great to read about yours and boogies experiences. I feel less alone! So are you using strictly positive (clicker) methods with boogie?

    Reply
    • 2. lili  |  June 15, 2012 at 6:03 am

      Hi Alex,
      Yes! I am using positive reinforcement methods now and lots of BAT and classical counterconditioning No corrections/positive punishment at all. Boogie has made so much progress :)

      Reply

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