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One of our primary goals when training and rehabilitating dogs, is to get them out of what we call auto-pilot, reactionary or impulse mode and get them into a listening, process and thinking mode.

What does an auto-pilot/reactionary mode look like?

It’s a mode where the dog sees, hears, or smells something and automatically reacts to it.
No evaluation is involved. It’s where the dog wants to do something or to access something and simply does it, with zero concern for the outcome. It’s an impulse control issue. No thinking, no evaluating, no value given to the choice, just an instant desire and an instant response. And its here where so many dogs get into trouble. Allowed to continue this auto-pilot way of life, it becomes their “default”.

I want something, I take it; I dislike something, I growl; I want to run somewhere, I go; I see a dog on my walk, I go nuts; I’m afraid of something, I hide. And on and on and on.

This is where “Permission” based training comes in to help save the day.

Permission based training is not fancy but it’s highly effective. Basically, we start teaching the dog he needs to look to us before making decisions – not every single decision mind you, just ones that matter – the important decisions; the decisions that could have serious consequences; ones that can reinforce patterns of impulsive behavior.

Permission based training creates many positive changes.

First and foremost, it actually calms the dog down. Along with calmness, it creates respect between the handler/owner.
A dog who looks to his handler/owner for permission is in a good place and tends to be more relaxed.
And of course it teaches a ton of impulse control and gets the dog to think before acting therefore creating a safer more conscious dog. Once a dog starts to look to you for permission rather than just reacting to impulse, you will see much of the manic, hyped-up, tuned out, crazy, disrespectful and disobedient behavior disappear.

Here are a few examples of where permission is needed.

Crate: going in or out
Threshold: going in or out
Place Command: not leaving a dedicated spot unless given permission. For instance, the dog bed.

Eating: waiting for release before eating.
Walking in a Structured “Heel”: unless released from the heel
Any command the dog has been asked to be in sit ,down, etc., must wait for release.
Furniture/Bed: must wait for permission to be on it

Personal Space: must wait for permission to gain access
Getting in and out of the car: wait for permission
A bomb proof recall: must always come back on command.

Teaching your dog to look to you to ask you for permission before simply reacting is the true secret method to transforming both behavior and attitude. It creates a more relaxed, respectful, thinking dog.

And who doesn’t want that??

If you ever have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me.

Always enjoy and have fun training your dog.