How to Teach a Dog or Puppy Self-Control
Dogs of every age and breed respond favorably to game-based dog training methodology. When learning is fun, dogs learn faster and retain the value of the lesson on a deep level. Let your dog show you just how brilliant they can be by using games of choice to teach them nice manners!
It’s Your Choice
It’s Your Choice (IYC) is a critical foundational training game because it sets the stage for teaching a dog or puppy self-control over all future reinforcers (reinforcers = anything your dog or puppy enjoys like treats or toys). IYC teaches our dogs and puppies that all things of value must be earned. The premise of the game is that the “work” is what earns the reward, not just the presence of those rewards in the environment.
It’s Your Choice can be played with anything a dog or puppy finds reinforcing such as toys, people, other animals and environments (i.e., access to the couch or your yard). This game allows a dog or puppy the freedom to choose their own actions which may, through correct choices, earn the reinforcement they want so badly. Choosing correctly earns a dog or puppy the reinforcement and teaches a strong foundation of self-control!
This approach is also less effort for you in the long run because YOU are no longer responsible for telling the dog words like “leave it!” or “aah aah” but rather THEY CONTROL THEMSELVES around things they love, waiting for the words “go see” or “get it” for great self-control choices. Our only job is to observe behavior and choices, and if an incorrect choice is made, YOU may need to control the reinforcement (not the dog), preventing access to the reinforcement should they make an incorrect choice.
It's Your Choice - Wait For Release
The next phase in IYC training is to add a release. This is the beginning of duration training that helps your dog to understand that when you cue a behavior, they need to stay in that behavior until they hear a release.
This exercise also builds up your dog's ability to make and maintain eye contact with you, a necessary element of almost every training exercise. The reason why is that eye contact gives your dog a focus during training - YOU - which helps immeasurably down the road when you're doing distraction training.
Adding movement to this exercise also keeps it interesting for your dog while raising what's called their "arousal state," a mindset that helps your dog to tune out distractions and make them more likely to focus on you.
Give the release cue "ok" as you toss a treat off to the side.
Wait for a sit
and eye contact.
When your dog returns to their original position, you can mark "yes" and give them a treat. Start the game over!
Dog Savvy Los Angeles is a positive dog and puppy training company that specializes in game-based dog training and solving problem dog behaviors like canine separation anxiety, leash reactivity, and aggression.