Purpose: Very simple exercise, however, it is the most important one to teach. The lesson you are teaching to the dog here is you are in-charge of everything they want and desire and they must ask permission and exhibit patience in order to receive the reward.
Treat in fist; place the fist on the dog’s nose and have your arm extended away from your body because we are creating space. Hold your ground and do not pull your hand away. Keep the treat in your fist until the dog has stopped trying to push for it (nibbling, barking, pawing, jumping up, whining, pacing, or exploring elsewhere). TIP: Keep the dog’s attention throughout the exercise. If the dog starts to wander away or sniff the ground, open hand to waft the smell of the treats and call the dog back and keep its attention on your fist.
When the dog backs off and is no longer pushing to get the treat, open you fist and give the dog the reward. You are marking the desired behavior. The dog will then go through all of the movements that lead up to the reward. We want to extinguish the undesirable behaviors and be left with the desirable one, which is for the dog to give space and ask for permission to have the treat. The dog will start to piece together what behaviors are rewarded and which are not. Have the dog work harder to earn the treat each time until the behavior as a whole is demonstrated by the dog. The goal is to get them to back off, give you space and a quick glance up to your eye asking permission for the treat.
Once the goal is achieved, the dog will perform the desired behavior every time. This is the first step to get the dog not to use its mouth or paws to get your attention. It is about creating space and the dog is no longer allowed into your personal body space without being invited.