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Published date: 29 March 2023

Impulse control is an incredibly useful life skill for our dogs. It teaches dogs to resist the temptation to perform an unwanted behaviour, such as eating up any dropped food without asking, rushing out an open door or jumping up on guests. Teaching your dog that certain situations require them to wait and be patient, will not only help your dog learn some manners, but also help to them safe.

Teaching this is very simple, and it involves no instructions at all. We do not want to use instructions because teaching a dog to leave only teaches a dog to ignore something for a bit of food when you ask, rather than a dog that will naturally ignore things without you asking. Instructions do not last; therefore, they are much less likely to work and are typically much less rewarding for the dog.

Teaching this is very simple.

  • Start with a handful of food. This can be a mixture of their cold-pressed Tribal and treats, and make sure you're sitting in front of your dog with your hand out in front.
  • Our job is to reward what we do want and correct what we do not wish to by taking away the reward, and we do this by opening our hand when they step back and ignore and closing it when they go to take the food.
  • When we open our hand when they ignore us, we use our other hand to pick up a piece and give it to them.
  • Over time we can start to wait longer, but make sure not to make it harder and harder continuously, and sometimes give them just for being cute and waiting We can then upgrade this and put the food on the floor. We repeat the same process by having our hand cover the food if they try and take it and then uncover when they ignore it.
  • Remember never to say a word apart from a good boy or good girl when you choose to reward them.
  • Upgrading this can be very simple. You can start playing with the food on the floor, putting it on a plate, doing it in different places or even doing this with toys.
  • It's also an excellent idea to give the dog a release cue which is a word that lets the dog know they can  grab all the food that is left or the toy.
  • This increases the probability of success because the dog knows there is a time they can break this stay. If the dog is never aware of when they can be released, this can lead to dogs getting quite frustrated and feeling

And that is how we teach a dog to leave food alone without instructions. Rewarding dogs' choices will give you much quicker and longer-lasting results than teaching them instructions. This allows you and the dog to win! It can also be mentally stimulating for the dog because it is all problem-solving.

Written by Max at MK9Plus

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