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.

Kay Laurence

Kay Laurence runs a training and education business, Learning About Dogs Ltd. Her business is located in the United Kingdom, in the Cotswolds at the Wagmore Barn Centre, and is focused on excellent training, thinking, and canine enjoyment. In addition to workshops at her own training facility and in the virtual learning environment, Kay holds workshops and seminars across Europe and the United States, teaching a wide range of clicker training skills and encouraging trainers to enjoy the expansive views outside the box.

Living intimately with many dogs over many years, observing their daily interactions, puppy-rearing, and activities, Kay has learned to view our world through their eyes. Dogs demonstrate the art of living skillfully and as a harmonious and connected group. Kay's understanding and skills are shared through her workshops, where consistent, high-quality results with a range of different dogs and people are achieved. With her passion for understanding dogs and her experience in teaching, Kay leads the way developing practical techniques that leave owners with a great sense of personal achievement and connection to their dogs.

Kay is considered one of the world's advanced clicker trainers. With 10 titles published and translated into German, French, and Spanish, her exciting books and videos offer her unique combination of talents. Kay has been a presenter at the twice-annual Karen Pryor Clickertraining's conference ClickerExpo more than 15 times and continues to enjoy exploring new cities in the US as part of the ClickerExpo faculty. A regular presenter at the ORCA "Wicked Minds" Conference at the University of North Texas, she has also been a Presenter at the Australia APDT Conference, Sydney 2011.  Learn more about Kay at her website.