One of the best things you can do to help your dog (especially the young ones) is to teach impulse control. A good way to do this is through games because, let’s face it, games are fun, waiting not so much. Here is a simple game you can do with your dog to help them learn to wait for it.
- Depending on the size of your dog, grab about 10-15 small treats (a small dog doesn’t need 15 treats, no matter what they tell you!). I find string cheese works.
- The treats should be soft so the dog can swallow them without much chewing.
- The dog can be sitting or in a down facing you.
- You are in front of your dog, facing them.
- Place a treat on the floor, in front of your dog, but not too close to your dog – we don’t want to make it too irresistible.
- If your dog goes for the treat, quickly place your hand over the treat – don’t let them get the treat!
- Wait for your dog to back up, even if that’s just a little bit and then uncover the treat.
- If your dog is waiting patiently (just a few seconds) leave the first treat on the floor and gently toss them another treat.
- Place another treat on the floor next to the first treat.
- If your dog is waiting patiently, leave those treats on the floor and give them another treat.
- Continue this pattern (treat on the floor, treat to your dog) until there are no treats in your hand, only the ones left on the floor.
- Move a floor treat closer to your dog and if they wait patiently or back up, give them one of the other floor treats.
- Continue that pattern until all treats are gone.
It may take a couple of times of you covering the treat with your hand for your dog to figure out that to get a treat, they must sit or down calmly and quietly. If your dog barks, take your treats and leave for a few seconds, come back and try again. Trust me when I say that you do not want your dog to learn that barking gets him/her a treat.
There’s no need to speak during this game and it’s really better if you don’t say much. We all need quiet to figure new things out.
Here’s Dawson demonstrating the Wait For It game: