The foundation for all “good” behaviour is impulse control (patience) and focus and response to handler. Animals are naturally impulsive; it’s up to us to teach them what we DO want them to do instead of constantly reacting negatively to what they are doing that we don’t like. How can we expect them to change their behaviour if we don’t teach what we would like. As always, methods that are non-confrontational and do not involve using fear or punishment has been documented as most effective.

1. “Let’s Go!”

Let’s Go is a great skill to teach your dog that can get you out of sticky situations or prevent incidents from occurring.  Teaching your dog that it’s not safe, nor realistic, for them to pull towards every dog, human or bird they desire is critical. Animals are impulsive; they are animals. If we don’t want them to act on their impulses, it’s up to us to teach them a different skill that pays off as much, or better, than what they’d like access to.

I love Emily Larlham’s of Dogmantics demo of teaching Let’s Go. You can use a marker word “yes” instead of a clicker.

2. Wait…

Impulse control = patience. I like to teach a Wait before giving meals or any time when I think my dog can become too “over the top” and needs to dial things down a bit. Waiting before doors so that your dog doesn’t dash out into the street, waiting before jumping out of a vehicle or flying into the dog park… all good times to practice the patience muscle. I use a marker word “yes” instead of a clicker.