This goal seems unattainable, doesn’t it? Unless you’ve been taking your doggie to obedience school since Day 1.
It IS attainable. That’s what Jen Gabbard in Puppy Leaks believes and practices. And after reading her article, I believe it is possible too, and easier than I had believed.
Wouldn’t it be nice to go to the dog park and not worry about your dog jumping on people, chasing after a squirrel? And wouldn’t it be nice if your dog actually DOES what you ask of him when there are gazillion things that could distract him at the park?
So if this is something you would like your dog to learn–a certain degree of self control–this article would be of value.
The general idea is to start really small, and build on your dog’s success. The foundation is to have your dog focus on you, taking the cue from you, and reinforce the desired behavior with whatever is meaningful to your dog.
Then increase the length of time of this behavior before giving the reward–treat or praise or something your dog considers wonderful.
There is also a video demonstrating how to do this.
Here’s an excerpt from the article:
Laika [Jen’s dog] used to be extremely leash reactive – anytime we encountered another dog, cat, horse, or creature on a walk she’d become a trembling, howling, pulling mess. Luckily it never ended up with any serious consequences, but it was always a possibility … it’s a major liability.
That was my biggest goal with Laika – keeping her calm on walks.
Start By Teaching Your Dog to Look at You
The first step to increase your dogs focus and impulse control is to teach him to sit and look up at you calmly.
Up The Ante – Have Your Dog Wait for a Highly Prized Treat
Grab a big piece of ham or some other highly valued treat (or toy) and repeat the first step – waiting for a calm look.
Continue to Reward Patient Behaviors From Your Dog
Once you’ve done a few impulse control sessions with your dog you can apply it to any other daily routines or experiences.
Decide how you’d like your dog to react in given situations and give him a chance to work at it.
After awhile it becomes so natural that you might not even have to ask your dog for certain behaviors – he’ll start doing them on his own. Don’t forget to keep up with the praise and consistency.
You can read the entire article here.
Article source: Jen Gabbard in Puppy Leaks
Image source: Nick LoCicero on Flickr.com