Lesson #5: Self-control Game
This is a simple, quiet little game that you can play with your dog or puppy anywhere. I saw this for the first time at an Ann Braue seminar and I believe that it’s in the Shaping Success book by Susan Garrett.
You will need:
* You & your dog
* Treats of any kind
This game has one very specific rule:
You don’t say a word – ever!
* Sit on the floor with your dog (the dog doesn’t have to be sitting, just in your area and interested).
* Put about 5-8 pieces of treats on the floor and cover with one of your hands.
* Your dog should be interested in what’s under your hand.
* As soon as your dog relaxes and is just looking (not pawing, licking, barking, or otherwise) at your hand with the treats under it, lift your hand up take a treat out with the other hand and give it to your dog.
* Repeat this until the dog understands that being calm and relaxed gets him a treat.
* Again, you say nothing during the entire exercise, make the dog think, and figure it out for himself.
* Now that the dog is remaining calm in any position, you are going to lift your hand half way up, just a bit from the treats, so the dog can see the treats.
* If the dog remains calm give him another treat from the pile with your other hand.
* If the dog reacts, quickly cover the treats back up until the dog becomes quiet and calm again.
* You are not moving your hand away at this point, you are simply uncovering the treats just a little bit.
* You are going to progress to moving your hand away from the pile of treats completely.
* Your dog can be sitting, standing, or lying down, but remaining calm and quiet, patiently waiting for his next treat.
* Once you have this behavior you are going to start moving your hand farther and farther away from the pile.
* Treat the dog for good behavior and cover the pile for undesired behavior.
* Now progress to moving your hand completely and moving the treats around, randomly placing them anywhere within a few inches of each other.
* Your dog should continue to remain calm and quiet.
* If the dog goes to snatch a treat, quickly collect them all and cover them with your hand.
* If you want to get creative try putting the treats on their paws!
* If the dog gets too excited when you start moving the treats around return to step 2.
* Again no verbal sounds on your part.
This game is intended to teach the dog to think, “what will get me that treat.” Most of all we are teaching our dogs that you don’t take treats, they are given to you! Think about that one for a minute. You (the dog) don’t take anything without permission. So if I drop a treat on the floor that is not automatic permission to take it. The dog may stand there and look at it, until I either release the dog to it, give it to him, or take it away. If I take whatever I dropped away, I will give my dog something else in return, even it’s just a “good boy” with a pat on the head.