“Elevator” is a great game to play with dogs of any age and size. This exercise builds impulse control in dogs and teaches them to keep all feet on the floor rather than jumping up for what they want.
Hold a small treat in your hand and show it to your dog briefly before you close your fist around it and bring it straight up in the air. This fist with a treat in it is the elevator. It starts at the penthouse and works its way to the ground floor (your dog’s mouth).
When your dog’s feet are all on the floor (they can sit or stand or lie down – it makes no difference!), bring the treat down fairly quickly, in a straight vertical line, directly toward your dog’s mouth. If the elevator arrives at ground floor (your dog’s mouth while standing, sitting, or lying down) and their feet are still on the floor, open your hand and let them take the treat!
If at any time your dog’s feet come off the floor, the elevator shoots right back up to the penthouse immediately. Keep in mind, this is a brand new elevator; it does not squeak, say “no” or “ah-ah” or “hey” or anything else on its way back up. It’s silent! When your dog’s feet are back on the floor, the elevator moves.
Gradually move the elevator a little slower until it takes you 5-Mississippi to get from the penthouse to the ground floor. Keeping in mind the criterion: your dog’s feet must stay planted.
For the first few repetitions, the elevator doors open at Ground Floor (your dog’s mouth). After that, the elevator doors open at P1 (your dog’s shoulder height), then P2 (your dog’s elbow height), and finally P3 (between your dog’s front feet).
By then, they will likely start lying down, which is lovely! You can start building this into a Settle, and in the meantime, teaching them to Take It nicely.
Check out our Live Training replay video from July 6, 2020: