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ARF! Training

Be Dog Happy training tips are ARF! - Always Relationship Focused. For more ARF! Training tips, check out our ARF! Training archives.

As Jones celebrates his first birthday, the skill that’s at the front of our minds is impulse control. Teaching your dog “self-control” as opposed to “imposed control” can keep you and your dog safe when in stimulating environments and enable your dog to make good choices, even when you’re not around!

This game was developed by Susan Garrett, and it’s one of the most basic lessons in ARF! Training. (use that link to Susan’s website to get an eBook with the complete game)

Check out Jones doing an advanced version of this game (and, after that, a little bonus treat of a young Dawson playing the same game!)

The video above shows the ‘It’s Yer Choice!’ game being demonstrated by Jones. What Jones has to do in order to get a treat is to leave the treat. If Jones tries to get the treat (without me telling him he can have it), then I would quickly cover the treat with my hand and no treat for Jones. This teaches Jones he has a choice. He can attempt to take the treat without being told to and ends up getting no treat. But, if Jones can refrain from trying to get the treat, then he will get a treat.

If Jones were to start being very insistent on getting the treat underneath my hand (for example, being “nosey”), I would not move my hand and I wouldn’t say anything at all. He needs to figure out to back off the treat. Once he does that, I would give him the treat (I usually say “take” when I want my dogs to take something from me). It is important not to help your dog by giving them cues, verbal or otherwise. Trust that your dog will figure it out!


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