How To Help Your Dog Master Impulse Control: Teaching a Release Word
Training your dog to engage and listen to commands is an essential part of pet ownership, but it’s just as important to teach a release word to your pups! After all, once your dog masters “sit” and “stay” it’s just as important to teach them when to return to their normal state! Without a release word, they will have a much harder time holding their positions which leaves you with less control. Thankfully, teaching a release word is simple for you to teach and easy for your dog to learn!
What is a Release Word?
The concept of a release word is straightforward, it allows your doggo to understand when it’s time to disengage from a command such as a “sit” when we open the door. It’s an integral part of teaching your dogs commands so they fully understand when they are freed from them. These words reinforce behaviors and boundaries making it easy to comprehend and therefore a fun game for your dog to enjoy!
Commonly Used Release Words
Any word or phrase can be used for a release and should always have a positive connotation! Try saying these in an excited tone to show your dogs how happy you are they listened. Since your dog wants to make you happy, the release word will reinforce that they’re doing the right thing and ultimately strengthens your bond since it’s clear what the rules of the game are.
How To Teach Your Release Word
To teach the release word (Break) start with these simple steps:
Ask for a behavior: (the easiest example here is "sit")
Mark the behavior: As soon as your dog prompts the desired behavior (sit), you will mark that with a positive word (yes/good dog)
Use Your Release Work!: Right after you mark the behavior (yes/good dog!) throw a treat and say "Break"! By doing this your dog will understand what the desired behavior is and that it is expected to be held until your release.
It's often easier to toss a treat when saying "Break" so that they move out of the position and away from you. You're rewarding them for engaging with you and not forcing it, so typically they will continue to come back and present the behaviors in order to hear the "break" over and over again.
How To Practice Your Release Word Daily
After your dog understands the concept of a release word, try using it on your daily walks! Use a reward intermittently with a release word to reinforce walking politely and not pulling on a leash and allow them to sniff, meet people or dogs, or just get some love from you or a treat! This will encourage your dog to check in with you to ask for permission rather than leading you around town pulling on a leash!
Making your dog choose to engage with you will make the rest of training much easier and more fun for everyone involved! If your dog is not engaging, try a higher value reward or schedule your free consult today and let us help directly!