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  • Liz MacHaffie

Using 123 to Pass Other Dogs



Teach your dog to engage with YOU when they see a dog on walks! This is great for preventing leash reactivity and for dogs who show mild signs of it. You can do this with any trigger, including bikes, people, etc.

  • For the first week or two, teach your dog the 123 game!

  • Once they know it, you can use it to pass by other dogs.

  • "123" is a QUESTION, not a "command" or cue. We're really asking our dogs, "123, can you look at me?" If they say YES, we're good! If they say NO, we need to help them out.

  • Here's how to play!

  • When a dog (or your chosen trigger) shows up, start counting!

  • If your dog can respond by 1 or 2, great! You can count a few more times as you pass by.

  • It's okay to let your dog look at the other dog a bit.

  • If your dog can't respond or responds on "3", they're telling you they're climbing up their stress ladder and need more space! Move further away, walk faster with a happy voice, or go behind a visual barrier like a car.

  • As your dog is comfortable, you can play less often.

  • After a few weeks, you should notice your dog is starting to look at YOU when they see a dog! Their "bubble" of comfort should get smaller and they should be comfortable closer to other dogs.


Not seeing what you were expecting? Let your trainer know so we can help!

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