Just Out Of Reach

How to teach Just Out Of Reach.

  • Step 1: Have a good grip of the lead and hype your dog up - Make sure that you have a good grip of your dog's lead, allowing them the length of the lead and you are not inflicting tension on it. It needs to be loose towards your dog but in a firm hold on your end of the lead. Hype your dog up and get them excited. 
     

  • Step 2: Throw treat just out of reach - When your dog is excited, wave a treat around in front of them to get their attention on it and throw it just out of your dog's reach. Be mindful of how much lead your dog has in addition to the length of your arm and make sure you accommodate for that when you throw the treat just out of reach. The reason why we say to have a good grip of the lead in step 1, is that your dog will probably lunge forward to try and get it (easily throwing you off balance or slipping your grip). If they lunge, that is okay and what we are initially looking for. You are to do absolutely nothing - no jerk back of the lead, no scolding them or interrupting them - apart from hold the lead tight in your grip so that they can't get to the treat on the ground just out of reach. If you have thrown the treat just out of reach and are holding the lead correctly where you have a good grip and no tension on the lead but they have full length, your dog should hit the end of the lead at full length by themselves and not be able to reach the treat to eat. 
     

  • Step 3: Wait for your dog to stop trying to get to the treat - If your dog is carrying on trying to get to the treat E.g. pawing at the ground, dropping to dead wait, lunging, whining, etc, be patient and wait. The moment your dog stops lunging, pulling, straining or trying to get to the treat on the ground. Bridge and reward. To reward, lure your dog back around into the reinforcement zone and release the treat there. 
     

  • Step 4: Pair verbal command - When your dog is in the action of backing off and stopping lunging towards the treat, pair the cue "leave it" (you can use whatever verbal cue you would like as long as you are consistent with it). Bridge the moment they have backed off which should be right after you say your verbal cue and lure your dog back around into the reinforcement zone to release the reward. 
     

  • Step 5: Repeat above steps until your dog doesn't flinch when you throw the treat - Continue to repeat the process of steps 1-4 until you can throw the treat just out of reach and your dog doesn't even flinch in an attempt to get to the treat on the ground and they are displaying great impulse control. Bridge the moment your dog doesn't react off the treat being thrown and heavily reward with lots of treats in the reinforcement zone. 
     

  • Step 6: Say "leave it" and then throw a treat - Say your cue "leave it" and then throw a treat just out of reach. If you have paired the cue correctly, your dog should not advance towards the treat on the ground just out of reach. Bridge and reward in reinforcement zone if they do not go for the treat off the cue. 
     

  • Step 7: Eye contact - Increase criteria so that your dog must look to you off throwing the treat just out of reach. In the initial stages give them 5 seconds to see if they will do it by themselves, if after the 5 seconds they haven't naturally offered eye contact you can ask. Bridge the eye contact and release the treat in the reinforcement zone. 
     

  • Step 8: Let your dog eat the treat if they don't pull you there - By this step your dog should be really good at not attempting to get to the treat when it is thrown just out of reach and off it, finding and driving into the Reinforcement Zone. With your dog by your side, now advance forwards towards the treat on the ground. Your dog, at no stage, is to pull to get to the treat. If they do, stop, wait for them to calm and gain impulse control again before you continue towards the treat. Once you have reached the treat, point to the treat and say "okay" to allow them to eat the treat off the ground. Do not let them eat it if you have not released them. 
     

  • Step 9: Look at the treat on the ground but don't advance - This time bridge them if they look at the treat on the ground but don't go towards it or if they look at the treat and then look at you. Reward them heavily with treats as you continue to walk past the treat on the ground. 
     

  • Step 10: Walk around the treat and don't let your dog get it - Your goal for this step is to walk around the treat on the ground without your dog pulling, getting to or eating it and back to where you started before your bridge and reward them with lots of yummy treats. Start first with looping around the treat with your dog on the outside (your body between the treat and your dog) and then increase criteria to looping around the treat with your dog on the inside closest to the treat on the ground.