Using the acronym INTERACTIVE, Craig provides us with 11 individual lessons that will greatly enrich and improve you and your dogs play sessions.
He provides expert guidance on choosing the right toy, motivation, empowering your dog without losing control, play as a reward and much more. Whether you wish to use play as a part of training, or simply want to build and strengthen your relationship, this hugely informative guide will provide you with the key to becoming the centre of your dogs world.
Ogilvie begins by explaining how his background in Mondioring, a dog sport where dogs are tested in agility, obedience and the biting and apprehension of a trained and licensed person, has helped him shape his interactive play programme.
The I in the Interactive acronym stands for Interactive for Invincibility. Ogilvie explains that the ways in which we interact with the dog during play is of paramount importance. He highlights some of the common misconceptions and mistakes that we commonly make, adding how these can reduce a dogs desire to play. Ogilvie shows us how with the right kind of interaction we can make our dogs feel invincible, teaching them to love the play experience. He takes us through some of these tactics, including; even tug of war, proud parade moments, and learning from dog- dog play interactions.
N - stands for Non-Verbal Communication. Ogilvie describes how we can communicate with our dog during play without talking. He shows us how to use body language and positioning, as well as actions and associations to converse with our dog. He also adds how to determine whether your dog is uncomfortable with your body language, as well as providing tips on stance and posture, eye contact, distance and movement. Ogilvie then considers physical contact with your dog during play, describing how we can use this for calming and positive stimulation.
T - stands for Toy Selection. Ogilvie comments that choosing the right toy for your dog can makes a huge difference to his play experience.
Factors to consider include;
Your dogs mouth shape
Ogilvie also offers advice on where to find the right toys and, once you have found it, stresses the importance of keeping it just for interactive play sessions.
E - stands for Energy Effects. Ogilvie explains that energy is an important factor that is often overlooked. He divides it into two categories, physical and mental, beginning with mental energy. Ogilvie describes the impact that both positive and negative energy can have on your play session, and what we can do to change our mind set for the better. He then looks at physical energy, comparing an interactive play session to a short physical workout, giving tips on how you as a handler can increase your energy level. Ogilvie also considers your dogs energy level and how to tailor your play sessions accordingly. He then shares some common training mistakes that create confusion, and as a result, unnecessarily tire your dog both physically and mentally, giving advice on how to prevent this. Ogilvie then shows us some ways in which we can improve and maximise our dogs energy.
R - stands for Relationship Building. Ogilvie emphasises how interactive play serves as a fantastic way to cement your relationship with your dog, and can become more valuable to him than other more natural desires, such as pulling on the lead, and playing with other dogs. He examines why the interactive play experience is so powerful, citing one of the key reasons as the handler becoming the creator of the fun, rather than just the reward supplier. Ogilvie then introduces us to the Love for Dogs 80/20 system, and the importance of individual interaction, which are two steps that help you to position yourself as the creator.
A - is for Activating the Toy. Ogilvie introduces us to TAR, which stands for Toy Activation Response, and is your dogs natural desire to chase things that move. He mentions the importance of finding your dogs activation buttons, with a detailed explanation of how to go about activating the toy. Ogilvie also provides some tips for dogs with a naturally low TAR, which include; activation extension, activation location and more.
C - stands for Control during Interactive Play. In this context, Ogilvies defines control as the ability to influence or direct behaviour, or the course of events. Its relevance to interactive play comes in the form of teaching your dog to love letting go of the toy, and teaching cues to start and finish play sessions.
T - stands for Teaching and Timing. Ogilvies stresses that in interactive play it is the quality and timing of teaching that is more important than the quantity. He explains that actually teaching your dog to play is critical. Ogilvie therefore encourages us to think like a teacher, adjusting and adapting our approach to suit the needs of the individual, giving us some advice on turning these thoughts into action. We are also given some pointers on the timing and duration of play sessions.
I - stand for Incremental Steps to Activity. This refers to the importance of building a good foundation and then building upon it step by step. Ogilvie explains the benefits to this, advising us to picture our end goal versus where we are now, which allows us to work out the path to take in order to achieve it. He encourages us to go for, what he calls, a little win during every session, elaborating on what this means. Ogilvie also stresses the importance of consistency in reaching your end goal, and provides some tips on what to do when your sessions do not go to plan.
V - stands for Vocalisation Considerations. Ogilvie argues that although vocalisation can be a valuable tool, we must make sure it is used to its best advantage. He looks at the ways in which it is often mis-used and as a result the complications it can cause.
E - stands for Every Dog is Unique. Ogilvie re-emphasises the point that every dog is different and therefore must be treated as such. He shares a story about two littermates and how they differed in their approach to interactive play to help demonstrate this, encouraging us to think outside the box and embrace the unique element in each dog.
Finally, Ogilvie explains why he felt compelled to write this book, and what he hopes you and your dog have gained from reading it. He also shares what we can look forward to in the sequel.