Curb the Urge:
Week 5

OLMEC System Step 3 with Food OR Toy

For continuing on with Step 3, let’s get our dogs off of the mat! These exercises are great with food and toy - for my videos and descriptions below, I will be using food.

First, we will work revving them up, then stopping and seeing what happens. Do they keep going for your hands? Jumping up?

Wait, and as long as you’re comfortable, don’t say anything. As soon as they are still, offer them the food, then start moving again. The goal is for them to immediately stay still, with no jumping up, when you stop.

Now, let’s try to make it a little more difficult! Instead of you moving with the food, let’s make the food move by itself.

This will be very similar to the exercise from last Week with your dog on their mat. Don’t worry about a position quite yet, though many dogs will end up putting themselves in a sit or down. Let them know you have food, then place it on the ground, similar to putting it in the bowl from Step 1.

You should be able to up the ante here quickly! Before long, you should be able to drop food from higher up, and roll it on the ground.

The next steps with this will be to have your dog hold a position while you move the food, and even to have them change positions while you move/drop it!


Lowering Thresholds

As we start to work with our dogs more on maintaining impulse control around prey and toys like a flirt pole, we need to keep being mindful of their thresholds for being near such things. For the remaining lessons dealing with prey/toys, continue to use food as your guide - if they can’t eat when given the chance, they cannot learn!


Premack with Prey/Flirt Pole Help

Remember Premack? I LOVE it! And I will tell you why. Whenever safe, letting your dog engage in the real life activity that they want is most of the time going to be SO much more rewarding than a food or sometimes even a toy reward.

In the case of prey, safety is the number one concern, as you don’t want to let your dog randomly chase something without being on leash, and/or being in a safe space. The eventual goal is that you won’t have to! Whenever possible, and as long as your dog and the animal they are wanting to chase will be totally safe, it’s a great option.

I personally use it while working on loose leash walking with my dogs a ton! My neighborhood is FULL of squirrels and rabbits. While rabbits aren’t the best idea, letting my dogs tree squirrels (something that is in their genetics to do anyway) is usually very doable and safe. But to get there, we have to start below threshold, and I do use high value food to help along the way. I want my dogs to know that they are right!

Below are some videos of Jari working on being calm in the face of one of his biggest loves in life - THE HOSE. He actually mimics prey responses with it - chasing, barking, digging at it when it’s off. So what better tool to use than this? I suggest trying to use your flirt pole for help. Jari is too good with his now, so that wouldn’t make good video!

Notice how I have to change my game plan when he gets over threshold - I work on calm-ish behavior turning on the hose, then moving the “off” hose, then putting it together. Then once he has a bit of a breakthrough, I’m able to let him do what he REALLY wants to do, which is chase it! I’m not concerned with perfection at this point! I’m willing to take bits of really nice behavior and reward that.

OLMEC System Step 2 with a Person or Dog Friend

Time for the person/dog to move!

Homework

Work on OLMEC Step 3 with food and/or toy! Tell us how you’re doing.

Start using your flirt pole to help with impulse control around prey! Practice at least twice.

Do some OLMEC Step 2 with a person and/or dog friend. Show us how you did.