The aim of the “learn to earn” programme is to put you in control of your dogs access to all the things that matter to him without the use of force or aggression. It is based on the same principals as teaching a child to say “Please” and as a minimum requires your dog to sit quietly to gain attention.

The golden rules are:

* Humans start all interactions
* Dogs work for everything
* Humans finish all interactions
* Reward the behaviour you want and ignore that you do not want

Tasks for the learn to earn can be any command he knows (or teach him some new tricks) including “sit”, “down” and “stay”.

Attention is often the most valuable resource for dogs as, and is the hardest resource to control. Try to ignore your dog when he demands attention, once he has gone away, wait a few minutes then call him to you, ask him to sit and give him some attention. Conversely, it is important to give your dog plenty of attention when he is behaving appropriately, for example when he is quiet or not demanding attention, as in this way he will learn how you want him to behave. The best way to do this is rather than going up and touching him when he is resting, call him to you and ask him to sit before interacting with him.

Set aside some time in the day to play with your dog or do some training with him. Your dog should receive as much attention as before but on your terms rather than his, when he is behaving appropriately that inappropriately. All family members should control their interactions with your dog in a similar way and feeding them gratuitous titbits as opposed to rewards should be stopped.

This will teach your dog some self control and learn that he or she cannot have whatever they want when they want it. It will also increase your “value” to your dog. As they can no longer have your attention when they want it they are more likely to come back to you when you call them and so this programme may help your recall.