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What to do when your dog doesn't know when to quit

Do you own one of those dogs who is so persistent that they will go to great lengths to retrieve a reward you no longer wish them to have. They just keep on trying to get it. It can be a 'blessing' if you take part in some dog sports to have a dog who never gives up until they get the reward. But for most of us the persistent dog who doesn't switch off when you want them to stop trying to earn a reward ( toy, food, your attention), is a challenge indeed. Managing these types of dogs means you need a training plan, human dedication to see it through and consistency to keep your cool and not give in .

If your dog learns that he needs to only try hard enough for long enough to get what he wants, then you own a dog who can outlast you on anything. You then have created a battle of wills between you both which ends up consuming a lot of your time and energy. Dogs have enormous amounts of time and us owners are always looking for more of it!

Dogs can whine and bark at you for longer than you can ignore them. They can repeatedly keep putting that toy on your lap or at your feet more times than you can stand it! Then we end up giving in by picking it up, or throwing it anyway for a moments peace, or shouting at them to stop . All these responses means our dogs are delighted by our actions to the object , the activity and to them.

If you mean to discourage problematic behaviour by making sure you dog isn't rewarded for it, you need to absolutely certain you CAN do the following:

1. Prevent him getting what he wants , even if it could happen accidentally - MAKE SURE HE CAN'T GET IT REALLY IF HE TRIES HARD ENOUGH

2. Ignore his infuriating behaviour for longer than he can persist with it - usually the failure of the human is first!

There is a great saying 'win the war not the argument' so you need to train a default behaviour to make sure that you have a tool in your training box that ensures when your have the 'war' you win it .

I personally like to train TWO behaviours

1. Training your dog to 'sit' or lie down' quietly as a way to 'ask' for whatever he wants. This can be an excellent way to encourage less obnoxious , yet effective rewarding behaviours for him that he discovers

2.Train an 'all done' signal which means the game is over. Crossing your arms works well. I think of it as 'BAR OPEN, BAR CLOSED' and you are no longer open for business!! . This works extremely well if you have a determined canine companion and enables you to offer a 'switch off' cue to end the game. Just don't give the cue and restart the game immediately!


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