Teaching your dog self control is one of the ways to develop perfect manners. And it’s also the best way to get the adoring attention your dog really craves from just about every human who walks by! A dog with self control is much easier to deal with for you and the people who cross your path. It’s actually pretty straightforward to develop and maintain with a few simple techniques. And lucky for you, we’re going to cover them right here!
Playing is always fun, so let’s start with a great game we teach to the people and dogs who come out to our dog training classes and day school. We call it Jazz Up and Settle. It’s never too early to start this exercise. You can literally do it as soon as you bring your new puppy home. What you do is get her excited by walking around and talking to her in an enthusiastic way. (You know the way we’re talking about, you little schmoopypoo!) Once she is all wiggly and happy, you change it up and go calm. Talk to your dog in a low comforting voice, petting her softly to help her settle down. What you will see is that each time you practice this, your dog will settle faster and faster as she gets used to this soothing method.
Once you teach your dog how to settle, you can move on to the next stage, which is getting your dog to wait for something he or she really wants. This exercise will really develop your dog’s self control. Before you give your pooch her food, a treat, a favourite toy, go for a walk or go outside, you simply get your dog to sit calmly with her full attention on you before you give the reward. The more you use it the easier it will get, and every day brings numerous opportunities to practice it with your dog. Remember to use lots of praise each time your dog gives you the behaviour you want and has her full attention on you.
Also, use the sit and wait technique before your dog walks through any doorway. This will stop you and your family members from being bowled over everytime you go outside!
Finally, teaching your dog to “leave it” is also a great way to develop self control. Start with the treat in your hand and say, “Leave it,” with a closed fist. Once your dog stops sniffing at your hand and trying to get the treat, say “Yes!” and give it to her. Once she has that down, wait for her to back away from your closed hand, when she does, make a little sound to encourage eye contact with you. When she gives you the eye contact, say “Yes!” then open your hand to feed the treat. From there, you can work on developing even more self control by placing a treat on the ground about two feet away from your dog, telling her to leave it. Slowly stand up. If your dog tries to get the treat, quickly cover it with your foot until your dog settles down, and then try it again. When your dog sits and has her full attention on you, you can tell her to “take it” and encourage her to eat the treat, while you give her the praise she deserves.
Consider taking your dog to training classes to get more techniques you can use to develop a well behaved and happy dog. You can check out our dog training classes by clicking right here!