A storm has knocked the power out here in Mississippi, and we’re moving about the house by way of headlamp. This situation brings up a great topic for discussion on socialization and desensitization.
Ideally, you should introduce your dog to headlamps and flashlights during a controlled training session, but what do you do when you’re thrown into the situation blind? You make it as fun and positive as possible!!
You’ll notice from the picture above that your dog is sort of blinded by the light and can’t see what exactly is coming at them. This can be disconcerting to them initially and continue to cause issues even after they know it’s you, their trusted handler. A dog looks to you for guidance and they look you in the eye. They can tell a lot about you and the situation by reading your eyes. Once they’ve been thrust into a new situation (complete darkness), with a handler that might be somewhat flustered (after scrambling about to find a flashlight after the sudden onset of darkness), they will be unsure and want to look to you for guidance (but they can’t actually see you)! To help ensure your dog has a positive experience with the power outage, shine the light towards you and call your pup to you in an upbeat voice. Give them treats and reward them with petting and lots of verbal praise. Shine the light around the room, let them smell the light and check it out, then put it on your head and proceed with praise and treats as a reward for hanging out with you and the new blinding light! You’re pup will be so excited about all the attention he will forget what he can see and can’t see! All he needs is his sniffer to find the treats!!