Teach Your Dog To Be Calm, Ignore Distractions and Deal With Frustration
Teaching your dog with wait in a boundary is an AWESOME way to not only encourage calmness within your home, but this also helps when you are out and about. Following the steps set out below, you dog will start your dog on a journey to fantastic self control and ability to deal with frustration regardless of the challenge set before them! And it all starts with a bed.
What Do We Want To Achieve?
1. Send your dog to a place on a cue.
2. Calmly remain in this area.
3. Release your dog from this area on a cue.
4. On release, you will interact with your dog.
Add value to their bed
Start by rewarding any interaction with their bed (using cue and food), whether that is taking steps towards it, putting a paw on the bed or even looking at it.
Reward your dog for choosing to go to their bed without a cue, this is the exact behaviour we want your dog to learn.
Once you dog is on the bed, open the treat tap! REWARD REWARD REWARD! Slow Drip feeding to the bed instead of directly to your dog will encourage calmness. Slow the feeding down and release the food for your dog to get when you notice a moment of stillness.
Choose a cue for them to come off the bed, whether it is "release", "Free" or "Break", you decide. After saying the cue to them, wait a second or two then throw food away from the bed for them to get.
Hopefully, you dog will now try to work out how they continue to get food, and the only way is for them to go back on the bed. Now this one may take a while, but when they do it reward like theres no tomorrow! Loads of praise and food.
Continue to repeat the release cue, and throw the food, then reward when they return to the bed, the release cue is vital to this training.
Change Positions and Create Calmness
Their boundary is their space, what they do in it is up to them. While they are there, they may change position to sit, lie down or stand up, that's fine and we can even reward it.
Time to mix it up a little. While they are on their bed, change the speed of your rewards, maybe wait for 5 seconds, then 10, then drop back to 3. Solely extending the time between rewards will only make your dog bored and distractions look more appealing.
They may leave the bed, most dogs do. Although we don't want to force them to stay there, we do want to limit their choices. If they leave their bed, gently hold their collar or harness and let go close to the bed and wait for them to return, if they try to move away from their bed, hold their collar or harness again. If this is happening frequently, you can increase the frequency of their rewards.
Fiddle with the food in your hands, maybe drop some on the floor. If they stay in calm in their bed, they they can be rewarded. Try standing up, sitting back down, maybe even a little dance, and if they stay, then reward!
Throw in some release cues, don't forget these are key to the whole thing!
BONUS - The Cage
Using some high value food, try to tempt them off their bed. Put some on the floor outside their bed, if they move to try and get it then create a cage over it with your hand. When they move back to their bed, remove your hand and feed them some. If they have not moved to get the food, reward!
While a small part of their food is on the floor and they are in their bed, use the release cue for them to go and get it.
This will reinforce the release cue, and that they only get rewarded when its used or they remain in their bed.
Party On! Party Off!
Take your boundary out and about, to the park, in the car, friends houses, wherever you go. While you are there, have people walk past the bed. While your dog remains calm, reward! No response is the best response. You may need to start with the person quite far away and gradually get closer, if your dog is unable to remain calm, go back a step or two.
Walk around, walk past the bed, drop toys, drop food. Reinforce your dog for not reacting. Calmness is the goal here, so reward when you have it. The ultimate distraction is another dog, so when you feel ready, bring one in.
LETS GET THE PARTY STARTED! Crank up the arousal, get your dog excited with some excited "READY?"s. Reward your dog for staying in their bed.
Once your dog is a PRO, lets crank it all the way up! Try 2 dogs in close proximity each in their bed, release one dog and play with them, get them to do some tricks while heavily rewarding the other dog for remaining in their boundary.
So there it is, this super fun boundary control has not only created calmness in your home, it has also built up a tolerance of frustration which will transfer to anything your dog is doing, along with AWESOME self control.
Ditch The Dog Bowl! Use your dogs daily food allowance to reward for all the games you play and great choices your dog makes.
This is 24/7 dog training! so practice regularly, you don't have to be in training to reinforce your dogs choices.
Mix it up! Vary the boundaries, dont just use the bed, get creative!
Remember the release cue each and every time, this is super important and key to the whole game.
Find new places to reinforce the boundary, and new ways of tempting your dog out their boundary.