The Puzzle Week – Part 15: Superbowls Wrap-Up

In part 14 of Puzzle’s Superbowls series, we reached our goal: Puzzle is now fluently taking me to bowl #5 and back, and doesn’t worry about the vacuum we’ve plugged into the pattern. This video is a 6-minute review of the training process (explaining the pattern to Puzzle) to the first scary stimulus she conquered with its help (the vacuum).

If you are familiar with CU, but new to the Superbowls game, this video should give you a pretty good idea of how it works:

Will it always take 25 sessions to reach the goal?

We worked on the Superbowls game for 25 sessions. Will it always take this long?

Not necessarily. Remember that the first few sessions were an explanation of the pattern itself – they were not about the vacuum, but about teaching Puzzle how she could make the next treat appear (eye contact), and where that treat would show up (in the next bowl of the line). The first nine sessions were all about the pattern rather than about a specific trigger.

Now that Puzzle knows the Superbowls pattern, we can plug different triggers into it. Say, for example, Puzzle was scared of the coffee maker. I could start my work with the coffee maker right away, and plug the coffee maker in the same spot where the vacuum sits in the video above. Or if Puzzle was scared of grandma, I could ask grandma to calmly sit in a chair in the spot where the vacuum was in this session. I won’t have to start over with a trigger-free line up.

Unless I plug something excessively scary into the pattern, it is also likely that Puzzle will reach the goal faster with each new trigger: in the vacuum series, she wasn’t just learning about the vacuum – she was also learning about the fact that within the structure of the Superbowls game, she will never, ever directly have to interact with the trigger. Every approach will be followed by a retreat, and there will be no touching of or being touche by triggers. This is HUGE. With every new trigger we work with, Puzzle’s trust in the pattern itself will grow, empowering her be braver faster.

Want to learn more?

To learn more about the Superbowls game and other pattern games, make sure to get Leslie McDevitt’s book Control Unleashed: Reactive to Relaxed. You may also want to follow the Friends of Control Unleashed group on Facebook to kearn about upcoming CU-related events. And make sure to keep an eye out for Julie Daniels’ CU classes over at FDSA!

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For more dog training tips and videos, join Chrissi’s February class at FDSA: Calling All Dogs!

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