Teaching Self-Control: A Sit Is Not Enough
Self-control may be the most important teaching gift we can give to our dogs and to ourselves. While self-control might save your dog’s life one day, it is also fundamental for cooperative living and enjoyment in your relationship with your dog. Self-control is the skill of ending a range of emotions that can lead both you and your dog into trouble: fear, anxiety, nervousness, excitement, frustration, arousal, etc. It draws on our innate knowledge that these emotions have no use when uncontrolled. Join us to explore the nature and importance of self-control and the essentials of how to teach it.
Your dog’s mind should be compatible with his or her behavior. A controlled “sit” position may be seen as satisfactory and a silent dog may be regarded as a “good” dog, but the sit or the silence can fool you into believing that self-control is at work. It may not be. What you click is what you get, however, so if the mind is still in a high state of arousal or anxiety, that will get reinforced. This is a natural behavior. It is not about removing fun or avoiding exposure to distractions, but about developing a natural skill.