The Counting Game




The Counting Game is a simple way to help your dog move away from distractions and re-engage with you. Teaching it within ACE Free Work means that they have unrestricted access to food and are therefore interacting with you because they want to engage and not just to get treats.

When your dog is exploring the Free Work, place a treat on the ground and say “one” in a clear, calm voice. Your dog may come and investigate the treat. If this happens take a couple of steps away before saying “one” again and placing another treat on the floor.

If your dog doesn’t come right away, place another treat on the same spot and say “two”. Wait a few moments to see if they respond. If not, place a third treat and say “three”.

If your dog does not respond after three repetitions, quietly pick up the treat pile and move on. Your dog is not yet ready to engage. You can try again in a few minutes. Choose a moment when your dog naturally disengages from the environment.

Sometimes your dog may not respond if they are feeling anxious. Make it easier for them to engage by placing the treat and then taking a step away. If they are very focused on the environment, use a more exaggerated movement as you place the treat so that you catch their attention visually in addition to counting.

The Counting Game lets you see when your dog is ready to engage and gives you a simple way to invite interaction. When your dog knows the game you can use it anywhere to get your dog’s focus back on you. The more you play, the faster their response will become!

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