Self Control

One of the things we’ve been working on with Eddie is self control.  While he’s extremely laid back at home and will happily nap the day away, the prospect of food and going outdoors excite him greatly.  Thankfully, he has been able to differentiate between my poorly chosen command words for “look” and “lick” – both of which are used for self control.


“Lick” (your lips) has helped him to calm himself when it comes to meal times.  He’s supposed to wait in his crate while food is prepared, and did so successfully for the most part when he ate out of a bowl.  Now that he eats exclusively out of toys to prevent bloat, meal prep takes a little longer and meals are more exciting.

After lots of work, a firm “stay” command at key times like right before scooping food out of the bowl will usually result in Edwin staying in his room.  Still, we occasionally have to pause and send him back to his room.

We also require that all dogs sit patiently while we humans open the front door and screen door and cross onto the porch.  I often think life with dogs would be much easier without a screen door!  Eddie has gotten much better at this, but once again, it’s difficult for him.  I watch him try so very hard to keep his hind end on the ground while raring to head through the doorway.

Thankfully, we’re now able to get out the door in 15-30 seconds instead of the minute or two it used to take while we waited for him to stop whining and rushing the door.  He’s also gotten better about sitting on the porch once he gets outside – or at least when he hits the end of his leash while I close the doors.  Baby steps.

Today’s massive success in self control happened after breakfast.  Edwin is the most food motivated dog we have had in our home.  He excitedly and desperately works to get the food out of his toys while Gambit calmly and methodically empties his.  Then Eddie proceeds to furiously lick under the TV stand or any other spot he may have lost a kibble.


After finishing his carpet licking for hidden kibble, Eddie went into the kitchen and barked.  We train our dogs to bark when they need to go outside to potty, but he had just gone recently so this seemed out of place.  When I went to the kitchen a few seconds later, Eddie was patiently standing in front of the open food bin with a huge grin on his face, wagging his tail.

Is this really the same dog who, when we were working on seeing if we could leave him alone uncrated, knocked down the baby gate, opened the food bin that he’d never paid attention to before, and devoured 1 1/2 weeks worth of food?

Did he really just alert me to the fact that the food bin was open and taunting him rather than promptly knocking it over to get the the food?

Slowly but surely, our hard work is paying off!



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4 Responses to Self Control

  1. pitlandiapooch says:

    That’s awesome!! I love that you guys feed him all out of food dispensing toys too. Athena LOVES her food toys and is just like Eddie when she eats out of them. She whacks them all over the house and then goes on a “hunt” after all of the kibble has fallen out to see if she missed any.

    • I’m a major advocate of food toys, although we’ve gone through lazy food-in-a-bowl periods. My husband isn’t a fan of the egg hunts because they put Eddie on a continuous food hunt! He’s also gotten excited enough about them that he now breaks every single egg instead of gently opening it…. oh well, it’s still fun!

  2. Roberta says:

    Good boy! I just sent a Kong home with a foster mom for her Beagle with instructions how to fill, freeze, and use it in her crate. Also gave her strict, careful instructions not to let her gain anymore weight – she has her at a good weight now.

  3. Pingback: Master of temptation | Couches for Breakfast

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