When we are training our dogs with food or toys, they often get very excited about training. We often pull out treats, do a training session, and then abruptly stop training (at least from the dog’s viewpoint). The same thing can happen when we play with our dogs or even when we are done with petting and attention. For example if I am working on my computer and decide it is time for a break, I might head outside with my pup and practice a few of our tricks or play a quick game with some toys. So what happens when I go back inside to get back to finish up my work? My dog is like, “Hey, where are you going ? And what do I have to do to get you to keep engaging with me?” This can create a lot of frustration which inevitably ends in barking or chewing on something she shouldn’t.
So what is the solution? Simply teach your dog a cue that helps them understand that the training or play session are now over. Here are the steps.
- Start this when your dog is already pretty tired and ready for a nap. This will help prevent frustration because they are already satiated.
- Get out your treats and do a quick training session. When you are finished, put the treats away and say, “That’s all.”
- Disengage from your dog completely for about 5-10 minutes (if you have a puppy or young dog, you may need to put them in their exercise pen with a good chew).
- Repeat this when you are done with training, play sessions, and even after returning from walks. The secret is to be very consistent with giving your cue “That’s all” and to fully disengaging (be careful not to say “That’s all” and then start talking to your pup or loving them up—you really need to disengage completely).
Pretty soon your dog will understand what “That’s all” means and you will be able to use this cue anytime you want your dog to understand that the treats or play are no longer available.
Are you interested in other tips on training with food? Check out 5 Dos and Don’ts of Training with Food. https://www.gooddogsantacruz.com/five-dos-and-donts-of-training-with-food/