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PPG Summit 2020 Sessions: Zen Games – Should I Stay or Should I Go?

BARKS presents session details from PPG’s 2020 Summit and Workshops in Phoenix, Arizona

Session Details:
Presenter: Dr. Deborah Jones
Session Title: Zen Games – Should I Stay or Should I Go?
Session Type: Lecture/Lab (1.5 Hours)

© Dr. Deborah Jones

As trainers, we use Zen games as a way to teach dogs the concept of impulse or self-control. A dog who understands this concept is a much easier dog to live with and to train. Dogs who are in control of their behavior are more thoughtful and less reactive; they think before they act.

The presenter’s goal is to teach impulse control in a way that avoids frustration and pressure. Rather than denying dogs what they want until they give up (a common approach) the focus is on teaching dogs to listen for verbal cues that tell them when they can have what they want. This approach focuses on teaching the “go” rather than the “stop.” In the process of learning this, the concept of “wait for permission” comes along as a natural side effect.

A dog who has learned the general concept of “waiting for permission” is a much easier dog to manage. These dogs learn to work with their trainers and cooperate, rather than take what they want whenever possible, because it leads to the best possible outcome. Imagine how much more adoptable this type of behavior could make a dog.

This session we will introduce two types of verbal markers (calm and active release). It will also include a variety of games, starting with the two bowls game that teaches the fundamental concept of listening for the cue before taking what you want. It will also work through a variety of Zen exercises that increase in challenge (closed hand, open hand, bowl, floor).

Learning Objectives:

  • Understanding the concept of impulse or self-control.
  • How to teach impulse control without frustration or pressure.
  • Introducing marker cues that tell the dog when he can take what he wants.
  • The two bowls game and why it is so important to this concept.
  • A series of increasingly challenging Zen games.

PPG Summit 2020 will take place in Phoenix, Arizona and offer two unique programs:

Program 1: The Four-Day Summit
Program 2: The Four-Day Summit + Daily Off-Site Workshops at the Arizona Humane Society

Dates: Friday, September 18 – Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Event theme: Collaborative Care and Enrichment – Creating Partnerships for Positive Results

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