How To Keep Dogs Off The Couch

From time to time I get asked how families can keep their dog from jumping on their sofa or chair. I have also gotten asked whether or not they should even allow their dog on furniture.

Cincinnati Certified Dog Trainer Lisa Desatnik, CPDT-KA, has tips for stopping your dog from getting onto furniture.Let’s talk about the second sentence first. Unless you have a situation of location guarding, meaning your dog stiffens or curls his mouth, growls or snaps at you when you approach him lying on your chair, that really is a personal choice. (If you do have a dog that location guards, please seek assistance from a trainer who uses positive strategies to help.) As you can see in my photo, if it is at night time and I get up from a spot I have warmed to get a snack, I have pretty much forfeited my spot to Sam. In our family, we don’t mind. He will come off his resting spot easily when we want him to. We even put a blanket on his favorite couch in the computer room, so he doesn’t dirty it when he lounges during the day.

However, if your choice is to allow your dog on furniture, there should not be a ‘sometimes’ contingency within that sentence. Saying that your dog is allowed on furniture when it is just your family around but not allowed when you have company over, is very confusing to a dog. Additionally, some family members may enjoy having your dog’s company on the couch and others may not. Another problem comes into play when you want to allow your dog on only certain furniture, but not others.

Inconsistent rules are pretty tough to live by for an animal, especially when it does not speak our language. Can you imagine what that’d be like to have a bowl of chocolates out within reach of a child and you told the child he could only take candy ‘sometimes,’ how difficult we would be making it for him to make a aright decision?

Now, let’s say that you do not want your dog on furniture. How do you teach that?

Prevention is key!  Remember, more often than not, your sofa or chairs may very well be the softest places inCincinnati Certified Dog Trainer Lisa Desatnik, CPDT-KA, has tips for stopping your dog from getting onto furniture. your whole home to rest. They are also great spots to be higher for looking out windows or being closer to their favorite humans. Given an option, can you see why your dog would CHOOSE to jump on sofas and chairs? Your pet is always simply making behavior choices based upon where the value is for him in that moment. Every time that your pet gets onto your furniture, that choice is being reinforced. It is giving him more reasons in the future to make that same choice when given the opportunity.  If you are not liking his choices, then it is up to you to teach him new choices.

This is where prevention comes in. If your dog even ‘sometimes’ gets onto furniture and gets reinforced, it is being intermittently reinforced and that schedule of reinforcement builds very strong behaviors. It is the culprit behind most – if not all – of problem behaviors. While you are teaching your dog a better choice (from your standpoint), you will need to find a way to eliminate access to practice. The photo shows one way that a friend of mine is using. You can also gate off that area when you are not around to actively be in teaching mode. You may also want to cover a window if the sofa is a means for looking outside. Brainstorm ways you can cut off access to keep that jumping on furniture behavior from being practiced.

Build value for an incompatible behavior! If you do not want your dog jumping on your soft plushy sofa, get your dog his own soft and plushy area to lay down on (better yet, get your dog MANY plushy beds for choice and have them located in central locations where you spend time) and then spend time teaching him that hanging out on that bed is super awesome. Not only is it soft, but other good things happen when he is on that bed too like getting tasty treats and human attention. Really spend time making sure that you are adding extra value to being in that soft place. Remember, your pet is making behavior choices all the time based upon where the value is for HIM, so just telling him no when he has made a choice you do not agree with is not helping him to know what you would like for him to do instead.

Additionally, proactively teach your dog what you would like for your dog to do while you are on the couch BEFORE your dog decides to jump on board. When you are in training mode, practice spending some time with your dog around furniture but on the floor to build value for the floor. If your dog looks toward the furniture with intent, you can redirect his attention BEFORE he begins the process of actually jumping onto the furniture.

Be prepared for mistakes. The goal here is for there not to be errors, to be the most effective, but in the case that you may forget one day to take your dog out of the room when you leave for a minute and he chooses to take your spot on the couch, be prepared. (And then do not let it happen again.)

What you DO NOT want to do is pull your dog by the collar to get him off or use another form of aversive punishment. Not only is that not fair to a dog who simply saw a comfy place to lay his head, it will teach him that bad things happen to him around you. And will teach him that if he wants to make some choices, he had better do them out of sight of his human. If you do not have a resource guarder, you will be giving him reason to become one in the future.

Another thing to be careful of, is that you not lure him off with food or a toy as you may actually be adding value to that decision of getting on the sofa since, from your dog’s perspective, getting on the sofa got you to produce high value treats or play.

Instead, consider just ignoring him and going to his pillow to have a good time without him or doing something fun in the other room. Eventually he will come off, and then you can work building value for being in his bed. After which, you can remind yourself that better management must in practice if you are really going to make a solid behavior change in your dog.

My challenge to you is this: When your pet is doing something you do not like, think about what you would like for your dog to do instead. Be the giver of good things for good choices. Your dog will thank you for it!

Teaching Impulse Control

teaching dog impulse controlMany of us get annoyed when our dog jumps on us, whines, or nips at us for attention. Or when our dog impulsively dives to grab a shoe. We wish our dog could see an open door and not bolt through it. We get irritated when our dog barks, jumps and/or runs around when we take out a leash.

Here is the thing. Seeing something it wants and sitting near it unless or until told it can have it, is not something dogs inherently do, just as a young child taken to a candy store would more than likely not choose to sit in a chair and read a book. Unless, that is, that the dog has been taught that sitting near something it wants is what gets him the opportunity to have it; or the child has been taught that sitting in a chair in a candy store gets him/her a piece of candy or something else of value.

While choices in life are always made based on where the value is at that particular moment in time, impulsivity is the tendency to act without thinking for instant gratification. I may eat that chocolate cake sitting in front of me because it is there and it is REALLY tempting even though I know I am trying to lose weight. I may buy that expensive dress because it looked great on me in the store even though I have no immediate place to wear it and it is more than my budget would allow. I am willing to bet that all of us have made impulsive decisions at one time or another.

Dogs are the same way. In the moment, a dog may see a shoe on the floor and put it in its mouth, may see a leash and bark and run in circles, or may be excited to see its humans and will jump on them. The list can go on.

Here is the thing to always remember (I know, I keep repeating myself), while impulsivity may affect that split second decision, experience is what teaches the learner to repeat and strengthen a behavior or to modify and weaken its occurrence.

When we share our homes with pets, it is so important for us to realize we have a lot to do with the behaviors we see in our non-human companions. We need to be aware of our pet’s needs for physical and mental stimulation.

We also need to be aware that with every interaction of every waking moment, it is the consequences of behavior that determine the future rate of that behavior.

So, think about how you can incorporate this into your everyday life to live with a pet that makes more human acceptable choices. In another post, I wrote about a basic exercise for teaching self control – teaching your dog that the choice of going after food in your hand makes the opportunity go away but the choice of backing up from your hand gets the food. Think about how that exercise is expanded to other everyday life.

  1. The choice of barking in a crate gets humans to walk away or ignore him but the choice of sitting quietly gets the crate door to open.
  2. The choice of sitting at a door that opens gets him the opportunity to go outside but the choice to make a move toward the door makes the door close.
  3. The choice of dropping a toy at his owner’s feet gets him a tasty treat or a game of tug or something else but the choice of running away from his owner with the toy or keeping the toy in his mouth gets the owner to ignore him.
  4. The choice of walking by your side gets your dog the opportunity to receive a tasty treat or the opportunity to go sniff flowers or a hydrant with you but the choice of pulling at the end of the leash makes you stop forward movement.
  5. The choice of barking and pushing over you gets you to stay seated and keeps the car door closed but the choice of sitting in the car seat gets the door to open.

What can you add to this list?

At the same time, think about how you can add greater value to the acceptable behaviors your dog does so that he will choose to do those behaviors more often. Or what behaviors do you need to teach your dog that can help him to succeed in that circumstance?  If you want your dog to choose to lay in his bed instead of bumping you while you are working at your sink, how can you make that choice more valuable for your dog (while ignoring the behavior of bumping you)?  If you want your dog to lay down with relaxed muscles when you stop playing, how can you build value for your dog to lay down with relaxed muscles?

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Tips For Stopping Your Dog’s Begging

dog training tips to stop your dog from begging

Can you relate to the photo? Over and over my mom tells Sam to go away when she sits on the sofa at night and he looks at her this way, but he knows better. If he persists, eventually she will get up and get him a chew toy.

Sam, like all our pets, is no dummy. He knows his behavior can get him a consequence he wants. No matter how many times I talk to my mom about it, she will continue her pattern…and as a result, so will Sam.

If she REALLY wanted to solve this, some ideas include:

She could use management, like keeping him in the kitchen behind a gate, when she wants to sit on the couch at night.

‘Before’ Sam begins his staring behavior, she could give him a longer lasting chew toy that he values. When he is focused on something else, he is not focusing on staring at my mom.

‘Before’ she sits down on the couch, she could play some games with him or engage him in training which would cause him to value resting more and staring at her less when she sits on the couch.

She could teach Sam to do another behavior when she sits on the couch like laying in his bed.

AND, while doing these things, if Sam should still sit in front of her and stare, she should stand up, be a tree and ignore him….giving no value at all to the unwanted behavior.

Remember, our pets are always making decisions based on where the value is for them. By making the wanted choice, the most valued choice for our pet, they will choose to do the wanted behavior. And that is good for everyone!


Can I be of help to you and your pet? Please contact me

Proofing and Fluency In Dog Training

It happens so often. People will tell me their dog knows behaviors such as sit, down, and stay but when I ask them to show me, either their dog does not immediately do the behavior or does not do the behavior at all. Or many times a dog will do the behavior that is proofing and fluency in dog trainingcued in one setting but not another.

When it comes to having dog training success (for you and your pet), it is important to understand the concepts of proofing and fluency – used interchangeably sometimes. What they all refer to is how well your pet REALLY knows and understands the behavior in a variety of circumstances and difficulty.

These are some great criteria to think about in terms of proofing and fluency:

PRECISION:  Is your dog doing the behavior just as you want the behavior to look? What should that behavior look like?

SPEED: How quickly does your pet do the behavior?

DURATION: Will your dog remain in position or continue doing the behavior until released to do something else?

LATENCY: Latency is the time between when you give the cue and when your student offers the behavior. Does your dog sit immediately when you ask?

DISTRACTION: Can your pet do the behavior when there are distractions present, of varying levels?

DISTANCE: Can your pet do the behavior when you cue it from 3 feet away? How about across the room or at the other end of the yard?

Different behaviors will have different criteria of relevant importance. In teaching stay for example, the most relevant of these criteria are duration, distance and distraction.

Teaching These Criteria

Firstly, remember, when it comes to teaching behavior, knowing what it is specifically that you are looking for (what should the behavior ‘look like’) is important because if you do not know, you will provide unclear guidance to your learner. For this article, I won’t delve a lot into teaching cues; however, please click here to read more. That is an important step in teaching fluency.

A few more tips on proofing behavior in dog training

  1. Work on one fluency criteria at a time. Initially, you have to ‘get’ the behavior to happen in order to reinforce it (and reinforce it heavily to build value), and give it a cue. So that comes first. (I’m talking about active behaviors vs a stay.) In teaching a stay, the three most important criteria are duration, distraction and distance. As you are working on teaching one criteria (and increasing its difficulty), lower the criteria you are looking for in the other areas. For example, once I have given a cue to the behavior ‘sit’ with specific specifications of what ‘sit’ looks like; while I am teaching latency (sitting immediately when asked), I’ll lower the criteria temporarily of what the behavior of ‘sit’ looks like. When working on a ‘stay’, if I have built up to a minute of duration indoors, I will dramatically lower the duration of the stay when I move to another environment. I will also lower the duration when I introduce distractions.
  2. When introducing distractions, begin with a low level distraction in the same environment with a high rate of reinforcement. As you move to new environments, in the beginning, keep the stimulus (like a group of people or person walking another dog) far enough away that your dog can continue to focus on you. You may want to increase the value of the reinforcer you are using also. (Please click here to read about your pet’s Awesome List.) Only increase the proximity between you and the stimulus when your dog is giving you feedback that he can still do the behavior and show interest in the reinforcer. Always start where you know your dog can succeed; and if he cannot, then take that as your feedback that you need to get further away (and/or lower your criteria and/or have higher value reinforcers).
  3. Once you work through these steps on several behaviors, you’ll find that all subsequently taught behaviors tend to generalize more rapidly.

Remember, learning will come much more quickly when the teacher gives a lesson plan filled with fun!

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Tips For Getting Out Of Show-Me-The-Money Cycle

Are you among the many dog owners who have a pet those goes into ‘Show me the money’ mode before deciding whether to do anything you ask?  It is such a common problem.

Why does it happen? Well, for one, humans are pretty good at holding food in their hand held in plain view when teaching their dog behaviors (so the student is being lured); and humans are also pretty good at responding to attention seeking behaviors by doing something deemed valuable by a smart dog – such as giving attention, a piece of food, or beginning a game of fetch.

Will your dog only listen when you have food? Here are some dog training tips.Humans are also pretty good at inadvertently teaching different meaning to cues (such as giving a cue for ‘sit’ and when the dog walks away to find an awesome toy,  is called back and given a treat upon arrival which is a multiple reinforcer for walking away instead of ‘sitting’ after the cue). In general, humans are pretty good at breaking down cues by using them at times when the chances are low that there will be success (among many other ways). And dogs are pretty good at figuring out that when the clicker comes out or a bag of treats appears, that suddenly the predictability of reinforcement for certain behaviors goes way up. (Please see my post on discriminative stimulus.)

Ugh, so, how can you break this cycle?

One way is to build ‘training’ into your everyday life. In other words, always be on the lookout for what your dog values at that specific time such as going for a walk, going out the door, playing tug or fetch, or sniffing a fire hydrant; and have spontaneous teaching moments using those things as reinforcers for wanted behaviors.

Note here that those ‘wanted’ behaviors should be taught in advance in a real training session.

Here are some dog training tips:

Make going out the door contingent upon your dog sitting on a mat until released. (Click here to read how to teach this.)

Make a game of tug contingent upon your dog sitting and waiting until you give your dog a cue to grab the toy.  Or you can ask your dog to do any number of already learned behaviors prior to a cue for GAME ON.

Call your dog to come from another room with some kind of reinforcer – be unpredictable here. It could be that sometimes coming to you results in a game of chase or fetch. Other times you may run grab a cookie when he gets to you, or attach a leash (if he enjoys walks).

If your dog is behind a gate, you can teach your dog that his remaining seated while you walk up to and over the gate is what gets you to step over and pet him; while his getting up results in you walking away from the gate.

Do you see the pattern?

With all of these scenarios, the common elements are:

Consistency in cues/feedback to your dog
You are taking that dependence on food out of the equation
You are building value for listening to you and for doing behaviors you ask by teaching a positive                  association between you and positive consequences of behavior
You are decreasing that dependence on ‘Show me the money’

Here is a challenge for you. Can you name four or more things that your dog values? And can you brainstorm for ways in which your dog can use behaviors to GET those things of value?

Solving Loose Leash Walking Problem

Is it an issue of having more control?

dog training tips for solving dog leash walking problemsThe other day I began working with a client (and his dog) on loose leash walking skills. As I initially watched them walk together, I saw that, while they walked side-by-side without distractions, if Fido’s nose picked up on something to sniff, he simply stopped to sniff while his owner stopped with him. And, if Fido saw something ahead that he wanted to get closer to, he walked faster to the end of the leash until it was taught.

Why was this happening? Was this an example of a bad, stubborn who needed to be controlled better by his handler?

Not from my eyes. What I observed was a dog who was simply making behavior choices based upon where the value was for him. There is great sensory stimulation for sniffing; and, as for the pulling, well, it worked to get them to move toward what it was he wanted to get closer to. He was also saying with his actions that there was far greater reinforcement history with stopping when he wanted to sniff or pulling on the leash to go forward, than there was to walking by his handler’s side.

Note: In a previous post, I shared some of the reasons why people have problems with loose leash walking their dog. You can read them here.

Something else that I observed what that his handler had not taught him with clarity as to what ‘he’ wanted Fido TO DO when the leash was connecting the two of them; and without that clarity, Fido made his own choices for getting what he wanted.

Always when working on solving pet behavior issues, I like to work from a standpoint of focusing on what it is you WANT your pet to do instead of focusing on stopping the unwanted behavior; while preventing or at least minimizing opportunity for practice of the unwanted behavior – and especially for reinforcement of the unwanted behavior.

I won’t get into the mechanics here but with loose leash walking, that means spending time teaching your dog how you WANT him to walk on a leash (whether by your side or simply with a loose lead) with positive reinforcement. And, as for those distractions, instead of keeping them off limits to your dog, think of them as powerful positive reinforcement tools you can use in your training kit. You can teach your dog that walking a few steps by your side earns him the opportunity to go sniff that incredible fire hydrant; or that walking next to you and sitting or stopping when you stop gives him the opportunity to say hello to that person across the street.

Stop thinking about controlling your pet, and switch to controlling the consequences of your pet’s behavior. And always remember to have fun along the way.


Can I be of further help to you and your pet? Please contact me!

Teaching Cues In Dog Training

I see it happen a lot. People ask their dog to do a behavior (give their dog a cue) and their dog does any number of things EXCEPT the behavior that is asked of it to do.

In dog training, why cues break down and tips for teaching strong cues.Why this happens can be any number of reasons.

Among those reasons:

In your dog training, the cue has been severely weakened by negative consequences occurring after a behavior (as an example, you call your dog to come from play and then lock him in a room by himself or you ask your dog to sit and if he is slow, then you push his rear end to the ground).

The cue was not ‘proofed’ meaning it was not taught in a variety of environments with a variety of criteria, and so what your dog may know in one situation does not generalize to ALL situations.

Doing anything BUT the behavior cued results in a bigger payday than doing the behavior that is cued.

In your dog training, the behavior that was intended to be cued has not been taught with clear criteria and fluency, and thus the cue meaning for the learner is different from the meaning you had intended. As an example, you may want your dog to ‘stay’ in a down position for five minutes until released but your dog gets up in five seconds. One of the many questions you should be asking yourself is, ‘does my dog really understand what I mean when I say stay’?  It is easy to forget that dogs do not speak human.

What is a cue anyway?

Scientifically speaking, a cue is simply a stimulus that elicits a behavior. Discrimination is the tendency for learned behavior to occur in one situation but not in other situations. (Learning & Behavior, Paul Chance) Therefore, a change in the environment known as a discriminative stimulus becomes a cue for that behavior to be set into motion.

It is important to remember that it is the consequences of that behavior, positive or negative, that determine the future probability of that behavior occurring. The cue is simply an indicator to the learner that that window of time for that consequence to happen is now.

How do you create strong cues?

These are some general tips.

Knowing this about learning, the way to build huge value for cues is by first teaching the behavior that you want to see with the criteria you are looking for, by giving the behavior huge valued reinforcing consequences.

Since you are teaching an association between a cue and a behavior (and the behavior’s consequence), by teaching the behavior first, not only are you pairing the cue with the behavior that is of the criteria you are looking for, you are also pairing the cue with valued consequences that the learner learned through many repetitions. When is the time to add the cue? Add the cue when you can reliably predict that the wanted behavior is about to happen.

Always remember to teach new lessons in environments where your student can succeed so begin in an area with minimal distractions at a time when your dog will be motivated to give you attention.

After successful repetitions and lessons of your dog doing the behavior following your cue, if your dog does not do the behavior after your giving your cue, be very careful not to reinforce your dog’s unwanted choice. Instead, pause and then cue again. If your dog still does not do the behavior after several tries, that is feedback to you as the teacher that you need to go back a step in teaching the behavior. You can also practice being careful not to reinforce your dog for doing the behavior when he does it without the presence of your cue. This is called teaching stimulus control, meaning you are teaching your dog that he will ONLY get reinforced for doing the behavior when cued DURING active training.

Another note about cues is that they should be short and distinct.

Oh yes, and learning AND teaching should be fun!

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Why Learning Should Be Simple

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” ~ Albert Einstein

Dog training tips for helping pets succeed by making the lesson as simple and clear as possible.I love this quote. In its great simplicity, it speaks volumes for both effective teaching and learning. This, from a world famous, brilliant physicist known for his general theory of relativity and recognized with a 1921 Nobel Prize.

I think about this often when I am doing dog training and behavior consulting. A question foremost in my mind is always, ‘how can I help my student succeed with this lesson?”

If the lesson is too difficult student frustration can lead to poor motivation, and with poor motivation focus on the teacher can quickly evaporate. When that occurs, teaching – at least teaching what we WANT our student to learn – is often not effective.

It is important to remember that in order for us to teach a behavior and strengthen its future rate, we first need to ‘get’ the behavior to occur so that we can follow that behavior with a reinforcing consequence. I continue to remember observing in a two day class with reknown trainer Dave Kroyer a session where he was coaching another trainer on teaching her dog to put his nose in a hole of a scent box. There was a moment when her dog was not ‘getting it’ and began pawing at the box. Dave’s response was to pick the box up and ask the trainer what they could do to help her dog understand. The answer was to put the box on its side. With that small change, her dog immediate went to the open hole and placed his nose inside.

And, once you and your student have success, then you can build upon that success from there by incrementally adding to the behavior as your learner can continue to succeed.

What are some ways in which you can make your lesson plan as simple as possible but not simpler?

For one, begin teaching in an environment with minimal other distractions. It is hard enough to focus on learning something new. With stimulus going on around you, it is that much more difficult to focus. Please read this column I had written on the importance of decluttering the teaching classroom.

Break the behavior down into small steps or approximations, and reinforcing your learning after each behavior approximation toward the final behavior. This is known as shaping, and it is a lot of fun to practice. Please click here to read a past post about it.

Be aware of the importance of timing when it comes to teaching new behaviors. Contiguity refers to the closeness in time between the behavior and its consequence while contingency refers to the degree of correlation between the behavior and its consequence (*if* I do this behavior, *the* this is the consequence that will follow). The less time there is between the behavior and its consequence, the quicker and easier the animal can build that relationship.  Please click here to read more. The immediacy with which you can ‘click’ and mark a correct behavior is one of the reasons why clicker training is so effective.

Use reinforcers that are of value to your learner. Remember, it is the learner that gets to decide what is of greatest value to him/her and that can change throughout a day. Learners will always choose to do the behavior that gets them a consequence of the greatest value to them so plan ahead and make sure you’ve stacked the deck in your favor. You can read more in this post.

Dog Training Tips For A Safe Thanksgiving

Having guests over? Remember, a tired pet will have much greater value for resting rather than jumping so make sure you give your friend plenty of exercise earlier in the day. And, an animal that is busy focusing on a valuable toy is also less likely to notice other stimulus that would otherwise have his full attention.

Additionally, remember, those manners behaviors that may be of importance to you during your get together need to be taught well ahead of the holiday, and practiced with increasingly difficult criteria. The time to learn and teach is not when you need rock solid performance.

dog training tips to ensure a safe and fun Thanksgiving by Cincinnati dog trainer Lisa DesatnikHowever, something fun for you and your pet to do with guests is to show off the ‘trick’ play behaviors you have worked on. I know when I begin asking our Sam to go through his twenty plus behaviors, his tail is generally wagging the entire time.

With adult guests often come children, and as your pet’s guardian, it is your responsibility to ensure a safe environment for everyone. Even the most docile dog will have a breaking point when it comes to interactions with people that make him uncomfortable. Children should always be pro-actively supervised around pets; and should be redirected if they are doing anything that a non-human animal doesn’t like. They also should not be wild and crazy around your dog, as that could cause your dog to get wild and crazy as well.

Some body language to watch for in dogs that says they are not happy includes: a tail held low or tucked between the legs; ears held sideways for an erect eared dog or flattened back with rapid panting; tense eyes that likely show the whites around the sides; tense body muscles; looking or moving or leaning away; a center of gravity over the rear legs or to one side. Dogs may also roll onto their belly in submission. If dogs freeze, become stiff, stand with their front legs splayed and head low, showing teeth or growling, interaction with them needs to stop immediately.

If your dog has any kind of known fear or reactivity issues, the time to work on this is not when company arrives. Your best option may be to offer your pet a ‘safe place’ such as a back bedroom or crate (that you have taught a positive association with in advance) where you can have your dog hang out instead.

If your dog is a known beggar around the dinner table, you may want to begin now teaching an acceptable, alternative behavior to pawing and scratching guests. Remember, as his teacher, his ability to learn is dependent on your reliability (and EVERYONE in your household) to quickly reinforce the behavior you want to see – and every time he does the behavior in the beginning.

Begin by teaching the alternative behavior (like sitting or laying down) and get it reliably on cue. Once on cue you can begin teaching him to hold that behavior for longer durations before delivering reinforcement.

Then, you can cue him to do the behavior before you sit down at the table and heavily reinforce it. You can teach him to sit or lay down in a bed or on a mat as an alternative. Gradually then you can teach him to sit or lay down with more distance from you, then adding in teaching him the duration for his stay. And then add the difficulty of higher value food on your table.

If at any time he gets up and bets, you can simply push your plates into the center of the table and turn your back. Then wait until or cue him to sit or lay down and holds that position for 5 to 10 seconds before reinforcing him for that.

Dogs are pretty smart. If ‘you’ teach him that begging only gets people to turn away and push food aside but sitting or laying down gets a nifty treat, guess which choice he’ll make?






Self Control Is An Important Skill For Dogs

A reminder, teaching your dog or puppy self control skills and to stay is important in so many contexts…waiting at an open door, for calm greetings, for YOU to initiate play as just a few examples. Here are some tips for beginning to teach it.  The game that I show here for teaching self control can be used in so many other applications, substituting other environmental reinforcers for food such as the opportunity to sniff, to play with a ball, to tug, to go outside, to have a leash put on, to go into or out of a car.

tips for teaching dog self control and waiting

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