Don’t look too closely at this picture. Pay no attention to the fact that the toddler is apparently watching music videos and eating cake at 8:30 at night, while her mother lounges on the couch sipping a delicious cucumber vodka cocktail. Wait… maybe you couldn’t tell all that from the picture. Then again, those of you that know me probably already assumed the last part. Anyway!

The important part is that, while all of this was happening, the obnoxious, food-obsessed terrier puppy was standing politey nearby watching the child eat the cake. Watching, even though he could easily overpower her, or simply leap all four paws up on the coffee table and gobble the cake before any of us could lift a finger. He’s done both of those things before! Why isn’t he doing it here? Because we’ve been working slowly and steadily on building Rugby’s impulse control, and by golly… it’s working! He’s making a clear choice to control himself, without any cues or reminders from me, and in a new environment (we were at my aunt’s house). So you better believed I reinforced that boy for making such a good choice. AND he got to lick the plate. 🙂

This is the real reason I work so hard on impulse control. Getting solid stays for competition is just icing on the cake.


If you want to make your own cucumber vodka cocktail (and I strongly recommend it!), try this recipe:

1 shot Cucumber Vodka (we used this one )

2T (or more) simple syrup

Serve over lots of ice with an (optional) mint garnish


Thanks to Eryka Kinner for the drinks and the recipe!