Video van Hondenschool de Laar

Impulse Control a Game

In this excercise the dog learns to keep his nose out of a container with food. This can be used when teaching the bucket game. Levi, a borrowed dog, isn’t familiar with this routine.

Make sure the opening of the container is easy to cover with a hand, to prevent treats from falling out if the dog jumps up and to prevent that the dog can take food from the container when you change your position.

Only cover the container at the beginning of the excercise and when you change position. Before you cover it, throw some treats on the floor to distract your dog.

Don’t cover the container when the dog is looking at it, because this could be perceived as a correction by the dog.

Stand in front of your dog holding the container filled with treats. The dog can be in any position. Reward your dog for making the right choice, which is having four feet on the floor, without talking to or cueing the dog. Reward by taking something from the container and giving it to the dog in his mouth as far from the container as possible. By rewarding far away from the container, you teach your dog that keeping distance from the container makes good things happen. Reward often and fast, to prevent that the dog takes the treats himself. You can use treats the dog needs to chew, so you have more time to take the next treat.

In the next step you change your position and the container’s. Before you do, you need to cover the container. Throw some food on the floor for your dog to eat while you cover the container. This way the dog doesn’t see you covering it.

Sit down on the stool with the covered container on your leg. You cover the container to prevent that the dog takes food from it. Because your position has changed, the excercise is different for your dog. Give him time to learn what’s expected of him in this context. When the dog learns to make the right choice, you can take your hand from the container and resume rewarding fast and often, far away from the container.

Change position again, this time putting the container on the stool.
When you stop the excercise, put some treats on the floor for your dog to eat and pick up the container. After you pick up the container, you give the dog another treat. He will learn that when you take something, he gets something. This prevents resource guarding.

Don’t talk to your dog during this excercise, your movements are enough. This prevents your dog from being influenced by your emotions or voice volume. It also keeps the calm in the excercise.

If you want to learn more, check out the book Happy Handling

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