Teaching a dog how to control his natural impulses can be very helpful in our everyday lives. Controlling your dog’s impulses can help keep him safe. For example, you do not want your dog to run out into the road after a rabbit or squirrel and get hit by a car. This is pre-training for teaching the Leave-It command.
In this exercise, we ultimately want the dog to look back to us for guidance when he is unable to get to the treat. We are looking for the dog to control his impulse to snatch something off the ground.
To begin, hold the dog’s leash short and toss a treat just out of the dog’s reach. Make sure the dog sees you do this. The dog will tug and pull and possible claw trying to get to the treat. When the dog looks away from the treat, mark the behavior with your Marker Word, “Good!,” and reward the dog with a different treat (from your hand). Pick up the treat you tossed, and start again. The goal is first to get the dog to look away from the treat, and then to look back at you. When the dog does this, give your “Good” and reward with a different treat. Once the dog actually turns away from the thrown treat and LOOKS at you, give a very happy “Good!” with extra treats and praise.