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  • Liz MacHaffie

Jazz Up, Settle Down!



This fun and easy game, created by veterinary behaviorist Dr. Ian Dunbar, is one of our favorites!


The goal of this game is to help develop your dog’s ability to listen to you, even when he is excited.
 It can transfer to real-life situations. For example, when he is very excited that company is over, we can interrupt him with a “Pup, sit”, and help him calm himself before releasing him to engage again.



How to Play


  • Start by getting your dog excited for a few seconds. You can play, run around, use a toy, whatever works for you.

  • Stop, stand up tall and quiet, and say “(Your dog’s name), sit” in a neutral or happy tone.

  • If your dog sits, say “yes”, then release him with “okay” and resume play!

  • If your dog does not sit, calmly wait. You can help him out by using a toy or food to lure him into a sit. If he needs help more than 2-3 times in a row, make things easier for him. (Be less exciting on the next try.)

  • Over several sessions, increase the intensity of his excitement when you ask him to do this. He should be at least 80% successful (responds to sit when you ask at least 4/5 times) before you make it more exciting.

  • Start using it in “real life” situations that excite him to help him learn to practice self control.

  • Want to make it more advanced? Add in "down"!

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