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Copyright © Adrienne Farricelli
www.BrainTraining4Dogs.com


About the Author

Adrienne Farricelli has been working professionally with dogs for more than a decade. She got her start in 2006 working in an animal hospital, and in 2007 she started volunteering at the local shelter, where she fostered and trained pets in need of temporary homes.

She is currently a certified dog trainer and behavior consultant. She holds dual certification in dog training. In 2010, after undergoing more than 200 hours of apprenticeship under a master dog trainer, she became certified by the Italian Association for Dog Trainers and Canine Consultants. After teaching basic and advanced obedience classes in Missouri and spending the summer teaching Canine Musical Freestyle, she obtained certification by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CPDT-KA®) in the United States.

Ms. Farricelli is a force-free trainer using scientifically based training methods focused on the rewarding world of positive reinforcement training. CCPDT requires her to continue her education, so she is often attending seminars to keep up-to-date with the latest dog training and behavior-modification trends.

Adrienne publishes a dog blog on PetHelpful and her work has appeared in such online publications as: USA Today, Daily Puppy, Nest Pets, Paw Nation, E-how, and several print publications such as Everydog magazine and the APDT Chronicle of the Dog. Recently she contributed a chapter to the book Puppy Socialization: An Insider’s Guide to Dog Behavioral Fitness, by Caryl Wolff, which includes contributions from renowned experts Dr. Ian Dunbar, Dr. Carmen Battaglia, Dr. Ed Bailey, Dr. Michael Fox, and Peter and Nancy Vollmer.

Adrienne currently lives in Arizona with her beloved Rottweilers, Petra and Einstein, and her husband, Alex.


Introduction

Hello, Adrienne here! In this free e-book you will learn how to play “The Airplane Game,” which is one of the games from my Brain Training for Dogs online dog training course. It is designed to improve your dog’s ability to pay attention to you despite distractions. If you enjoy this game, be sure to check out the full course:

Brain Training for Dogs contains another 20 fantastic games you can play with your dog to improve his intelligence, obedience, and behavior. It also contains simple guides for teaching basic obedience commands, as well as many tips and secrets I’ve picked up over my years of experience working as a professional dog trainer.

As my gift to you, when you pick up Brain Training for Dogs, you will also be given access to Behavior Training for Dogs, my guide to stop common doggy behavioral problems dead in their tracks.

And there’s more… You also get free access to Adrienne’s Archive, a huge archive covering just about every doggy behavior problem you could possibly think of.


The Smacking Sound

Before we start playing “The Airplane Game,” I thought I’d teach you a neat trick you can use to get your dog’s attention whenever you need it. To do this we will use a special type of noise known as the “smacking sound.” But before we can harness its power, we will first need to teach our dog to associate the sound with food.

Once I have trained Einstein to respond to my smacking sound, I can use it whenever I want to get his attention.

To do this, with your dog in a quiet room, make a smacking sound as though you were kissing the air, then immediately give him a treat. It doesn’t matter what he’s doing when you give him the treat (so long as he’s not doing anything bad like tearing up the sofa), the idea is simply to show him that whenever he hears the sound, he gets treats. After doing this for a while, you should notice that your dog looks at you for his treat whenever you make the sound. With continued practice, you can start using the smacking sound in everyday life when you want to grab your dog’s attention!

Keep in mind, however, that the smacking sound may be less effective at times when your dog is too worked up. For example, if he has seen something outside that he reacts strongly to, your sound may go unnoticed. One remedy for this is the “Look at That” game found in the Brain Training for Dogs online training course. In “Look at That,” we will work specifically on teaching your dog to pay attention to the smacking sound despite strong distractions.

Einstein Says: Don’t like using the smacking sound? No problem! You can replace the smacking sound with any other sound you like, such as a whistle or a pop. Just make sure the sound you choose is loud enough to be heard in busier environments, and that it is a sound you can make yourself.


The Airplane Game

Objective: Your dog must make eye contact despite the distraction of a cookie.

You will need:

  • Dog cookies or other large treats

This little brain game will teach your dog that looking into your eyes is what magically grants him a treat. Whether you own a puppy, an adult dog, or a rescue dog, this game is a great way to bond and help him view you as a source of rewards and pleasure! It also improves your dog’s ability to pay attention to you despite distractions.

The only things you will need to play this game are some larger treats that protrude from your fingers (a dog cookie may work well at first) and the ability to act like an airplane, so let’s get started!

How to Train The Airplane Game

Find a quiet area with few distractions. When you’re ready to begin, hold a dog cookie in one of your hands, letting it protrude from your fingers so your dog sees it. Now, stretch your arms out as though you were an airplane, while keeping the cookie in clear view.

Here I am doing my best airplane impression! Notice the large cookie protruding from one hand.

If your dog is highly food motivated, he’ll likely look at the cookie in your hand and perhaps even drool. If he’s the type of dog who gets frustrated, he may bark or paw at you, and if he’s a jumper he may attempt to jump up and grab it! Ignore these behaviors and keep the cookie firmly held so he can’t get it.

Einstein makes eye contact! At this point, say “yes” and immediately drop the treat!

Now, wait patiently until your dog looks into your eyes. The moment he makes eye contact with you, say “yes” and let the cookie fall to the ground so he can get it.

Bingo! Your dog has just discovered that eye contact is what makes you drop the “bomb” (treat)! As he gets good at this you can use smaller, bite-sized treats. This will help him pass the exam with “flying” colors (ha, get it?), as he won’t spend precious seconds chewing on a cookie!

 

Troubleshooting Problems

In some cases, your dog may not notice the treat in your hand. If so, try moving the hand with the cookie around a little to grab his attention. If you really need to, you can lower the hand, let him sniff the cookie, then raise it back up into position. This may lead to jumping, but ignore the jumping behavior and wait for him to make eye contact.

I make the smacking sound from “Look into My Eyes” so Einstein makes eye contact. When he looks into my eyes I say “yes” and drop the treat.

If your dog still doesn’t make eye contact, you may need to give him a little hint. In the Brain Training for Dogs course, the
“Look into My Eyes” game will teach your dog to make eye contact whenever you make the smacking sound we learned about earlier (see page 7). Once your dog has mastered “Look into My Eyes,” you can use the smacking sound during “The Airplane Game” as a hint.

Increase the Challenge

Once your dog gets the hang of this game, you can make it more intriguing by replacing the dog cookie with even higher-value items like your dog’s favorite bone. You can even add a touch of unpredictability by hiding different treats in your hand so your dog doesn’t know what they are until you let them fall to the ground.

To add even more fun and unpredictability, randomly change the hand that holds the treat.

The Exam

When you’re ready, start your timer (a stopwatch works well) and complete three repetitions of “The Airplane Game” exercise in a row. This means holding up a treat with your arms outstretched, waiting for your dog to make eye contact, then dropping the treat—and repeating this two more times. As soon as you’re finished, stop the timer and check the grade table on the following page to find out how well your dog scored.

Here’s a video of Einstein and me completing the exam:

You may have noticed that I use a clicker instead of saying “yes.” In the Brain Training for Dogs course I will teach you all about clickers and how to use them to take your training to the next level.

Einstein’s Tip: to complete the challenge faster, use small treats that your dog eats in one bite, and don’t toss the treat across the room, just let it fall to the ground. This one’s a joint effort between dog and owner to get the ‘A’ grade!

 

The Airplane Game Grade Table

You can make a grade table like this to take notes and follow your dog’s progress.

Grade A: Under 11 seconds
Grade B: 11 – 15 seconds
Grade C: 16 – 20 seconds
Grade D: 21 – 25 seconds
Grade E: 26 – 30 seconds
Grade F: Over 30 seconds


More Brain Games

In the full Brain Training for Dogs course you will discover 20 more great games you can play with your dog to skyrocket his obedience, behavior, and intelligence.

The course also contains simple techniques for teaching basic obedience, and plenty of training tips and secrets I’ve picked up over my years of experience as a professional trainer, so don’t miss out.

Get access to Brain Training for Dogs here:

You will also get access to Behavior Training for Dogs and Adrienne’s Archive, which provide force-free solutions for just about ANY doggy behavior problem you could possibly think of.

These bonuses are free to you when you invest in Brain Training for Dogs today.

Thanks for reading,
Adrienne and Einstein