The First Rule of Week 3…
When it comes to food, especially high value food, dogs are pretty quick about hoovering up any morsel they can get to, so, the first rule of this week’s games will be that mugging = nothing but patience = yummies.
Your powers of observation are needed here again – this time you are looking out for polite behaviours to reward.
Polite-list behaviours that you might reward include:
- four feet on the floor (no jumping up)
- quiet (no barking or whining)
- moving back from you
- being still
- standing away from you
Can you come up with a list of behaviours that tell you your dog is being patient and polite?
Practice for 1-2 minute sessions and then take a break. Have a few sessions today.
Try fitting each short session into your routine; for example, while you wait for the kettle to boil, during the ad break of your TV show or while you wait for the computer to start up.
For this exercise it’s best to get this really well established before allowing children participate in this one, just in case this excites and frustrates your dog a little at the start.
Top Tip for Today’s Training Games:
If your dog gets stuck with any of our exercises this week, think of ways that you can make it easier for him to succeed and then build again more gradually.
Options to try might include:
- having the food in or under a tighter hand
- using lower value food
- working when your dog is calmer and the house is quiet
- practicing after your dog has been fed so he’s not as hungry
- making sure there are no other dogs around
Beginner Level Game
Start standing up, holding a handful of yummy treats – you can have the treats in a treat pouch, in a bowl or any container you wish.
Make sure your dog notices the yummies and wait for him to approach.
Before your dog gets to you, toss a food reward just behind him.
He will approach again; repeat.
There’s no talking in this game – so don’t ask your dog to do a behaviour!
Not only does Benny the puppy offer polite distance but he also sits – dogs do what works, so if you reward it, they will do it!
We are easing your dog into this game by rewarding him where we want him to be – a little bit away from us so there’s no mugging!
After some practice at this game, try our advanced games next.
Advanced Level Game
Now that your dog has learned how to be a bit more polite when you are standing up with treats, we are going to increase the challenge little by little.
- holding your treats, bend at the knee a little
- as soon as your dog approaches, toss a treat away
- repeat lots, bending a little lower each time if you can
Still no talking or asking your dog to do behaviours!
A greater challenge:
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to watch your dog and reward him every time he is being patient and polite.
When you begin with this game, just choose one polite behaviour at a time to reward.
When your dog is offering that one, choose a second polite behaviour and reward that, and so on.
Each time you see your dog offering one of these behaviours reward him with a teeny treat.
Holding your treats, kneel on the floor or sit on a low chair or stool.
Work through your list of polite behaviours, watching your dog closely.
Reward your dog where you want him to be so hold your reward right at his nose and guide his head away from you before releasing the reward.
If that’s too tricky, don’t worry – sit on a chair instead.
Can you see what we are doing here?
We are slowly making it harder for your dog to be polite by gradually increasing the challenge each time he is successful.